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New Arrivals - Sciences

The award-winning author of The Vertigo Years argues that in the aftermath of World War I, Western culture redirected energies into hedonistic, aesthetic and intellectual adventures of self-discovery in ways that triggered world-changing innovations.

"In his new book human paleoanthropologist Ian Tattersall argues that a long tradition of "human exceptionalism" in paleoanthropology has distorted the picture of human evolution. Drawing partly on his own career--from young scientist in awe of his elders to crotchety elder statesman--Tattersall offers an idiosyncratic look at the competitive world of paleoanthropology, beginning with Charles Darwin 150 years ago, and continuing through the Leakey dynasty in Africa, and concluding with the latest astonishing findings in the Caucasus. The book's title refers to the 1856 discovery of a clearly very old skull cap in Germany's Neander Valley. The possessor had a brain as large as a modern human, but a heavy low braincase with a prominent brow ridge. Scientists tried hard to explain away the inconvenient possibility that this was not actually our direct relative. One extreme interpretation suggested that the preserved leg bones were curved by both rickets, and by a life on horseback. The pain of the unfortunate individual's affliction had caused him to chronically furrow his brow in agony, leading to the excessive development of bone above the eye sockets. The subsequent history of human evolutionary studies is full of similarly fanciful interpretations. With tact and humor, Tattersall concludes that we are not the perfected products of natural processes, but instead the result of substantial doses of random happenstance"--Provided by publisher.

The American naturalist recounts his 1867 trip from Indiana to Florida and describes the effects of the Civil War on the fields, forests, and people he encountered along the way.

A biochemist, building on the pillars of evolutionary theory and drawing on cutting-edge research into the link between energy and genes, argues that the evolution of multicellular life was the result of a single event.

Offers an account of child genius Taylor Wilson's successful quest to build his own nuclear reactor at the age of fourteen, and explores how gifted children can be nurtured to do extraordinary things.

The author explores the reasons why so many students hate math; and examines various ways to correct it including teaching methods and classroom approaches to the subject.

"Sy Montgomery explores the emotional and physical world of the octopus--a surprisingly complex, intelligent, and spirited creature--and the remarkable connections it makes with humans. Sy Montgomery's popular 2011 Orion magazine piece, "Deep Intellect," about her friendship with a sensitive, sweet-natured octopus named Athena and the grief she felt at her death, went viral, indicating the widespread fascination with these mysterious, almost alien-like creatures. Since then Sy has practiced true immersion journalism, from New England aquarium tanks to the reefs of French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico, pursuing these wild, solitary shape-shifters. Octopuses have varied personalities and intelligence they show in myriad ways: endless trickery to escape enclosures and get food; jetting water playfully to bounce objects like balls; and evading caretakers by using a scoop net as a trampoline and running around the floor on eight arms. But with a beak like a parrot, venom like a snake, and a tongue covered with teeth, how can such a being know anything? And what sort of thoughts could it think? The intelligence of dogs, birds, and chimpanzees was only recently accepted by scientists, who now are establishing the intelligence of the octopus, watching them solve problems and deciphering the meaning of their color-changing camouflage techniques. Montgomery chronicles this growing appreciation of the octopus, but also tells a love story. By turns funny, entertaining, touching, and profound, The Soul of an Octopus reveals what octopuses can teach us about consciousness and the meeting of two very different minds"--Provided by publisher.

"In How to Bake ?, math professor Eugenia Cheng provides an accessible introduction to the logic and beauty of mathematics, powered, unexpectedly, by insights from the kitchen: we learn, for example, how the béchamel in a lasagna can be a lot like the number 5, and why making a good custard proves that math is easy but life is hard. Of course, it?s not all about cooking; we?ll also run the New York and Chicago marathons, take a closer look at St. Paul?s Cathedral, pay visits to Cinderella and Lewis Carroll, and even get to the bottom of why we think of a tomato as a vegetable. At the heart of it all is Cheng?s work on category theory, a cutting-edge ?mathematics of mathematics,? that is about figuring out how math works. This is not the math of our high school classes: seen through category theory, mathematics becomes less about numbers and formulas and more about how we know, believe, and understand anything, including whether our brother took too much cake"--Page [2] of cover.

This photographic guide to the world of rocks and minerals instructs the amateur geologist on how to identify and extract samples safely, clean and store specimens, and build and present their own unique collection.

"This completely updated and revised, full-color edition of Rockhounding Utah reveals the grandeur of the state's exposed formations, its canyon walls etched with fossils, and the spires and arches of the Needles District in Canyonlands National Park. Each description of the 86 state's sites includes concise information on the material to be found there, the tools to bring, the best season to visit, the vehicle to drive, or when a remote find suggests it's time to lace up the hiking boots. Readers will glean new insights into the obsidian of the Black Rock sites, jasper at Hell's Backbone, petrified wood at Bullfrog Turnoff, and fossils of sea lillies along the Wasatch Range"-- Provided by publisher.

" ... features dozens of articles that explore the many uses of herbs. From gardening, cooking, and crafts to health, beauty, and lore, this treasury of innovative herbal ideas will improve your life through the power of nature's helpful plants"--Page [4] of cover.