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Pavlov’s Dogs and Schrödinger’s Cat: Scenes from the Living Laboratory

April 21, 2011

Pavlov's Dogs book cover

Author:
Rom Harré
Publisher:
Oxford University Press (2009)

Amazon | From the sheep, dog, and cockerel that were sent aloft in Montgolfier’s balloon to test the air over Paris, to the famous clone Dolly the Sheep and the Darwinian finches of the Galapagos, Pavlov’s Dogs and Schrödinger’s Cat offers a fascinating and enlightening look at the use of plants and animals — including humans — in scientific experiments. Rom Harré provides a fresh and fascinating perspective on research,… read more

Permutation City

August 6, 2010

Permutation City

Author:
Greg Egan
Publisher:
Eos (1995)

Amazon | The good news is that you have just awakened into Eternal Life. You are going to live forever. Immortality is a reality. A medical miracle? Not exactly.

The bad news is that you are a scrap of electronic code. The world you see around you, the you that is seeing it, has been digitized, scanned, and downloaded into a virtual reality program. You are a Copy… read more

Personality Capture and Emulation

January 22, 2014

Personality-Capture

Author:
William Sims Bainbridge
Publisher:
Springer (2014)

Personality Capture and Emulation is the gateway to an amazing future that actually may be achieved, enabling the preservation and simulation of human personalities at progressively higher levels of fidelity.

This challenge is no longer the province merely of uninhibited visionaries, but has become a solid field of research, drawing upon a wide range of information technologies in human-centered computing and cyber-human systems.

Even at modest levels of… read more

Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind

July 20, 2010

Phantoms in the Brain: Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind

Author:
V. S. Ramachandran, Sandra Blakeslee, Oliver Sacks
Publisher:
Harper Perennial (1999)

In these unsettling tales from a neuroscientist every bit as quirky as the more famous Oliver Sacks, Ramachandran sets out his beliefs that no matter how bizarre the case, empirical, strikingly simple testing can illuminate the ways brain circuitry establishes “self.” In a chatty, nearly avuncular style, he (along with his coauthor, a New York Times science writer) snatches territory from philosophers on how we think we know what… read more

Physics and Technology for Future Presidents: An Introduction to the Essential Physics Every World Leader Needs to Know

October 5, 2011

Physics-and-Technology-for-Future-Presidents-9780691135045

Author:
Richard A. Muller
Publisher:
Princeton University Press (2010)

Amazon | Physics and Technology for Future Presidents contains the essential physics that students need in order to understand today’s core science and technology issues, and to become the next generation of world leaders. From the physics of energy to climate change, and from spy technology to quantum computers, this is the only textbook to focus on the modern physics affecting the decisions of political leaders and CEOs… read more

Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines

October 5, 2011

physicsforpresidents

Author:
Richard A. Muller
Publisher:
W. W. Norton & Company (2008)

Amazon | Learn the science behind the headlines — the tools of terrorists, the dangers of nuclear power, and the reality of global warming. We live in complicated, dangerous times. They are also hyper-technical times.

As citizens who will elect future presidents of the most powerful and influential country in the world, we need to know — truly understand, not just rely on television’s talking heads — if Iran’s… read more

Physics in Mind: A Quantum View of the Brain

January 28, 2013

Physics in Mind

Author:
Werner Loewenstein
Publisher:
Basic Books (2013)

No one can escape a sense of awe when reflecting on the workings of the mind: we see, we hear, we feel, we are aware of the world around us. But what is the mind? What do we mean when we say we are “aware” of something? What is this peculiar state in our heads, at once utterly familiar and bewilderingly mysterious, that we call awareness or consciousness?… read more

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100

March 11, 2011

Physics of the Future book cover

Author:
Michio Kaku
Publisher:
Doubleday (2011)

Publisher’s Weekly | Kaku (Physics of the Impossible), a professor of physics at the CUNY Graduate Center, gathers ideas from more than 300 experts, scientists, and researchers at the cutting edge of their fields, to offer a glimpse of what the next 100 years may bring. The predictions all conform to certain ground rules (e.g., “Prototypes of all technologies mentioned… already exist”), and some seem obvious (computer chips… read more

Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel

April 13, 2009

books

Author:
Michio Kaku
Publisher:
Doubleday (2009)

One hundred years ago, scientists would have said that lasers, televisions, and the atomic bomb were beyond the realm of physical possibility. Here, physicist Michio Kaku explores to what extent the technologies and devices of science fiction that are deemed equally impossible today might well become commonplace in the future. From teleportation to telekinesis, Kaku uses the world of science fiction to explore the fundamentals–and the limits–of the laws of… read more

Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century

November 30, 2010

PortraitsMind_cover

Author:
Carl Schoonover
Publisher:
Abrams (2010)

Amazon | Portraits of the Mind follows the fascinating history of our exploration of the brain through images, from medieval sketches and 19th-century drawings by the founder of modern neuroscience to images produced using state-of-the-art techniques, allowing us to see the fantastic networks in the brain as never before. These black-and-white and vibrantly colored images, many resembling abstract art, are employed daily by scientists around the world,… read more

Positioning Synthetic Biology to Meet the Challenges of the 21st Century: Summary Report of a Six Academies Symposium Series (2013)

August 15, 2013

positioni;ng_synthetic_biology

Author:
Stephanie Joyce, Anne-Marie Mazza, Steven Kendall
Publisher:
National Research Council (2013)

Synthetic biology — unlike any research discipline that precedes it — has the potential to bypass the less predictable process of evolution to usher in a new and dynamic way of working with living systems.

Ultimately, synthetic biologists hope to design and build engineered biological systems with capabilities that do not exist in natural systems — capabilities that may ultimately be used for applications in manufacturing, food production, and… read more

Post Mortal Syndrome: A Science Fiction Novel

January 11, 2012

Post Mortal Syndrome cover

Author:
Damien Broderick, Barbara Lamar
Publisher:
Borgo Press (2011)

Amazon | Attorney Jill Shannon’s clients include Blick Pharmaceuticals, which is pursuing research into life-extending drugs.

Blick has reawakened the homicidal maniac Payback, whom they created twenty years earlier, to literally kill off the competition by targeting research scientists.

Jill’s boyfriend, Paul Gibson, one of the scientists, is forced to inject them with an intelligence booster. Suddenly they find themselves in the middle of a… read more

Posthuman Personhood

July 9, 2013

Posthuman Personhood

Author:
Daryl J. Wennemann
Publisher:
University Press of America (2013)

Posthuman Personhood takes up the ethical challenge posed by Francis Fukuyama’s work, Our Posthuman Future. Daryl J. Wennemann argues that the traditional concept of personhood may be fruitfully applied to the ethical challenge we facein a posthuman age. He draws upon Wilfrid Sellars’ treatment of the concept of a person within “the manifest image of man in the world.” Sellars proposed that we develop a stereoscopic view of reality that includes… read more

Postsingular

May 17, 2011

Postsingular

Author:
Rudy Rucker
Publisher:
Tor Books (2009)

Booklist | Always willing and able to embrace sf’s trendiest themes, Rucker here takes on the volatile field of nanotechnology and the presumed inevitable “Singularity” of human and computer unification.

In a series of interrelated vignettes, he describes the calamity that befalls nanotech inventor Ond Lutter and his would-be benefactors when Ond unleashes a variety of self-replicating nanobots. In one episode, trillions of microscopic bots, dubbed… read more

Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment

April 4, 2011

Power Up Your Brain book cover

Author:
David Perlmutter, Alberto Villoldo
Publisher:
Hay House (2011)

Amazon | The quest for enlightenment has occupied mankind for millennia. And from the depictions we’ve seen — monks sitting on meditation cushions, nuns kneeling in prayer, shamans communing with the universe — it seems that this elusive state is reserved for a chosen few. But now, neuroscientist David Perlmutter and medical anthropologist and shaman Alberto Villoldo have come together to explore the commonalities between their specialties with the aim… read more

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