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Falk, Dan
In Search of Time National Maritime Museum, 2008ISBN: 9781906367190
cover You probably have to juggle you time to fit in everything you want to do, but have you ever wanted a look at time from a wider perspective - how it how it has been measured and how it has been viewed in different cultures and at different points in history. If so then you might like to read In Search of Time: The Science of a Curious Dimension by Dan Falk Continued..
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Fara, Patricia
Pandora's Breeches Pimlico, 2004ISBN: 1844130827
cover Women have always found it hard to be admitted into the scientific establishment, and plenty of books have been written about this. Pandora's Breeches by Patricia Fara is a bit different, as it isn't just about the problems women have had, it is more about showing how they have dealt with these problems at different times. But it also highlights the ambivalent attitude of the establishment to women, excluding them from scientific organisations, while personifying the sciences by female figures - in particular Minerva. Continued..
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Farmelo, Graham
The Strangest Man Faber & Faber, 2009ISBN: 9780571222780
cover Paul Dirac was the archetypal introverted scientist, well known for his monosyllablic replies to questions. In The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius Graham Farmelo tells his story. Continued..
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Fauvel, John
Mobius and his band Oxford University Press, 1993ISBN: 019853969X
Co-authors
Flood,Raymond
Wilson,Robin
We've all heard of the Möbius band, but not so many people know about Möbius himself, and the other work that he did. Möbius and his band fills in some of this gap, but it is not aimed to be simply biographical (although the first chapter gives a short biography). Rather it is a series of essays about different aspects of the society in which he lived, with a look at the status of mathematics in Germany at the start of the nineteenth century, and how Möbius' astronomical work fitted in with what was being done elsewhere. The later chapters look at some of the mathematical topics which he had a hand in, such as projective geometry and topology. Continued..
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Feldman, Yishai
Algorithmics : the spirit of computing Addison Wesley, 1987ISBN: 0321117840
cover
Mentioned in
P vs NP
Co-author
Harel,David
The ubiquity of computers means that most people who get into programming won't have been through a formal computer science course. However, if you are such a programmer, then you may well want to find out more about the subject. Algorithmics : the spirit of computing by David Harel provides an excellent resource for this purpose, and it would also be a useful introduction for those thinking of taking a computer science course. The book gives a wide ranging overview of computation and algorithms, but goes into more detail than most popular accounts of the subjects. It has exercises for each chapter, with solutions at the end, as well as copious notes for those wanting to study the topics further. Continued..
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Ferris, Timothy
The Whole Shebang Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1997ISBN: 0297815180
cover
Mentioned in
stretchy space
In The Whole Shebang: A state of the Universe(s) report Timothy Ferris takes a wide ranging look at cosmology and related subjects. After a short overview of the history of cosmology, Ferris introduces the reader to general relativity, and so to the big bang. This is followed by chapters on the evidence for dark matter, on the occurence of large scale structure such as galactic clusters and superclusters, and on the evolution of the universe. Ferris then gets on to the small scale physics that is needed to understand the universe at its earliest moments. Continued..
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The red limit PerennialISBN: 068801836X
cover
Mentioned in
Cosmic horizons
Better than ' the whole shebang' - he sticks to what he is good at, which is giving a description of the development of an area using biographical information about the participants. About the discovery of distant objects rather than cosmological horizons. Originally published in 1979, updated in 2002, but still likely to be somewhat dated.
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Ferry, Georgina
The Common Thread Bantam Press, 2002ISBN: 0593048016
cover
Co-author
Sulston,John
From 1993 to 2000 John Sulston was director of the Sanger centre, which played a major part in the sequencing of the human genome. In The Common Thread : A story of Science, Politics, Ethics and the Human Genome Sulston (with coauthor Georgina Ferry) tells his story. Continued..
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Max Perutz and the Secret of Life Chatto & Windus, 2007ISBN: 9780701176952
cover Max Perutz wrote a great deal during long scientific life, but didn't get around to writing his autobiography. When he found he was terminally ill he approached Georgina Ferry to write his biography. Max Perutz and the Secret of Life is the result. Continued..
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Feynman, Richard
The meaning of it all Allen LaneISBN: 0140276351
cover 'The meaning of it all' is based on three lectures which Richard Feynman gave in 1963, in which he discusses philosophical themes and questions of science, religion and politics. The lectures were given in the midst of the Cold War, and it is interesting to read his view on the USSR. Apart from that the lectures don't look particularly dated - indeed he points out that much of it could have easily been said in the seventeenth century. Feynman was a brilliant scientist, but this book requires no scientific background to follow the arguments - in fact I would recommend it to nonscientists in order to find out a scientist's view on these important questions. Continued..
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Feynman Lectures on Computation Penguin Books, 1996ISBN: 0140284516
cover
Mentioned in
quantum computing
Co-authors
Hey,Tony
Allen,Robin
Feynman Lectures on Computation is based on a series of lectures given by Richard Feynman in the early 1980's. Note that it isn't a comprehensive look at computer science in the model of his Lectures on physics. Its more like 'A physicist looks at computation'. Rather than taking the 'black box' view of computers, Feynman clearly wants to know whats in those boxes and how it works. So whilst you might think that the lectures in this book would be out of date, I would say that they still contains much of interest, which is presented in Feynman's usual (reasonably) easy to read style. Continued..
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Feynman Lectures on Gravitation Penguin Books, 1995ISBN: 0140284508
cover Discussions on the lack of a full theory of quantum gravity generally dwell on the incompatibility between quantum theory and general relativity. In his Lectures on Gravitation Richard Feynman takes a different approach. He starts off by ignoring GR and trying to quantize the gravitational field, and then shows that his results match up with the geometrical theory of GR. The book benefits from Feynman's unique presentation - he explains the 'why' of choices made in physics and explores possible alternatives. It will be of particular interest to those readers wishing to get a background to the current arguments about theories of quantum gravity. Continued..
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QED: The strange theory of light and matter Penguin, 1985ISBN: 0140125051
cover One of the problems with quantum theory is that is usually the version from the 1920's which is talked about, but this doesn't answer many important questions concerning the interaction of light and matter. For that you need the more advanced quantum electrodynamics (QED). So how can you find out about this vital subject without spending many years doing graduate level physics? Well QED by Richard Feynman would be an excellent place to start. It's based on a series of lectures he gave for an audience of non-physicists. Hence a lack of previous knowledge of the subject shouldn't be a problem - provided you're prepared to do a bit of work in following his explanations. Continued..
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Six Easy Pieces Penguin, 1995ISBN: 0140276661
cover Richard Feynman's Lectures on Physics have achieved pretty much legendary status.Six Easy Pieces takes six of these lectures to provide an introduction to the subject for the beginner. These are include a description of how everything is made of atoms, which in turn are made up of smaller particles, a look at the relationship between physics and the other sciences, and a study of the consequences of the conservation of energy. The book concludes with chapters on the theory of gravitation, and on the mysteries of quantum theory - in particular the implications of the two slit experiment. Continued..
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Fine, Arthur
The shaky game : Einstein, realism, and the quantum theory University of Chicago press, 1986ISBN: 0226249468
cover Einstein's disagreement with quantum mechanics is often presented in a disparaging manner - as if he had somehow lost the plot. In The Shaky Game Arthur Fine shows that this is an unfair characterisation. In the first half of this set of essays he looks in detail at Einstein's philosophical views, how they changed with time, and how they related to what other people thought. In particular he examines how Einstein's views are reflected in the EPR paper. It's worth reading if you want see why Einstein's position wasn't such a dead end as is often claimed. Continued..
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Fine, Cordelia
A Mind of its Own Icon books, 2006ISBN: 1840467983
cover First of all I have to tell you that I read A mind of its own : how your brain distorts and deceives by Cordelia Fine straight after reading Stumbling on happiness by Daniel Gilbert. The two books are fairly similar, and Gilbert's is a bit more entertaining. I had had my fill of the strange results of psychological experiments, and so I was probably felt more critical than normal on reading Fine's work. For instance when she describes an experiment where subjects came across suppposedly injured people and explains how the subjects who failed to help would persuade themselves that the person wasn't really very badly hurt - it felt more comfortable that way. Yes, I thought, but it was also true Continued..
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Finlay, Victoria
Colour:Travels through the Paintbox Hodder and Stoughton, 2002ISBN: 9780340936405
cover If you want to paint you expect to be able to buy whatever colours you want fairly simply - you don't expect to worry that some will be hard to find or too expensive. Today, that is a reasonable expectation, but it wasn't always that way. At one time your painting could well have had to wait until you had the right pigment, and then you would have needed to be as much chemist as artist. In Colour:Travels through the Paintbox Victoria Finlay tells the stories of lots of many of the colours that you might see in art galleries. Continued..
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Fisher, Len
Weighing the soul Orion Books, 2004ISBN: 0297645552
cover In Len Fisher's previous book 'How to dunk a doughnut' he looked at the science of things in everyday life. The emphasis in 'Weighing the soul' is a bit different, here he looks at some historical episodes which illustrate how different viewpoints have clashed and how one of them has come to be accepted. The historical viewpoint may mean that it has a less general apppeal than his previous book. For instance it might not be so appreciated by school-age readers - they might like some of the dangerous chemical experiments he did when he was child, but I'm not sure their parents would approve. However, it is still very readable, and those who do read it will be richly rewarded with an insight into the way science actually works. Continued..
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how to dunk a doughnut Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2002ISBN: 0297607561
cover Actually the question is more about dunking biscuits - how do you soften them without them collapsing into your coffee. Len Fisher has researched the question and found that the best solution is to use a biscuit with something to hold it together in the middle. There's a chapter on how to estimate your supermarket bill as you go along - interestingly the author's first method did very badly and his wife's was much more successful. Why does a boomerang come back? The book is full of such questions and how the author investigated them, and I found it a highly enjoyable read. Continued..
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Fitting, Melvin
Incompleteness in the land of sets College Publications, 2007ISBN: 1904987346
cover
Mentioned in
Gdel's incompleteness theorem
Gödel's incompleteness theorems can either be expressed in terms of integers, or in terms of set theory. In Incompleteness in the Land of Sets Melvin Fitting shows that links between the two approaches provide new insights into the theorems. Continued..
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Flannery, Tim
Here on Earth Allen Lane, 2010ISBN: 9781846143960
cover Some people think of the Earth as an organism, but this raises the question of what effect humans are having on this organism. Are we a benevolent control centre or are we more like a disease. Such questions are considered by Tim Flannery in his latest book Here on Earth: a new beginning Continued..
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Flood, Raymond
The nature of Time Basil Blackwell, 2001ISBN: 0631148078
cover Book of talks given by well known scientists on the subject of time. A decent mixture of science and philosophy, but its a pity there isn't a chapter of discussion between the scientists - I feel this would have brought some of the important points to the fore.
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Mobius and his band Oxford University Press, 1993ISBN: 019853969X
Co-authors
Fauvel,John
Wilson,Robin
We've all heard of the Möbius band, but not so many people know about Möbius himself, and the other work that he did. Möbius and his band fills in some of this gap, but it is not aimed to be simply biographical (although the first chapter gives a short biography). Rather it is a series of essays about different aspects of the society in which he lived, with a look at the status of mathematics in Germany at the start of the nineteenth century, and how Möbius' astronomical work fitted in with what was being done elsewhere. The later chapters look at some of the mathematical topics which he had a hand in, such as projective geometry and topology. Continued..
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Forbes, Peter
The Gecko's Foot Fourth Estate, 2005ISBN: 0007179901
cover People have always based the design of things they make upon structures from the natural world. One might expect us to move away from this as we become more immersed in technology, but in Peter Forbes' new book he shows that on the contrary, new technology has brought new ways of seeing nature, which in turn has lead to new inspiration in engineering. Thus the microscopic bumps on a lotus leaf lead to self-cleaning materials, while the filaments on the gecko's foot promise a new way of sticking things together - the gecko can walk on the ceiling. We also hear about attempts to build minature aircraft, based on the methods of flight used by insects. Continued..
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Forshaw, Jeff
why does E=mc squared Da Capo, 2009ISBN: 9780306817588
cover
Co-author
Cox,Brian
E=mc2 is one of the most famous equations, but not many people know where it comes from. In Why Does E=mc2?: (and why should we care?) Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw give a gentle explanation of what is behind this equation. Continued..
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Fortey, Richard
Dry Store Room No 1 HarperCollins, 2008ISBN: 9780007209880
cover In his wanderings behind the scenes of the Natural History Museum Richard Fortey came across a room full of objects which don't quite fit anywhere, but which no one could bring themselves to throw away. But that isn't what this book is about. The room reminded Fortey of the sort of memories which come from working in the such a place for several decades. In Dry Store Room No. 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum he tells us of some of these memories. Continued..
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Foster, James
A short course in general relativity SpringerISBN: 0387942955
cover
Mentioned in
stretchy space
Co-author
Nightingale,J
This book originally came out as a Longman mathematical text, and I found it to be a good book for learning the subject - well laid out as with other books in the series. I haven't seen the second edition yet, but I've heard that it moves away from the structure of the first edition, which may be a change for the worse.
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Fox Keller, Evelyn
The century of the gene Harvard University PressISBN: 0674003721
cover At the beginning of the 20th century the term gene was introduced. In the middle, the structure of DNA was figured out, and by the end the human genome had been decoded. Thus it was very much the century of the gene. This book by Evelyn Fox Keller serves as a gentle introduction to genetics, including topics such as error correction and the development of an organism. However, its central point is that the concept of the gene has been overused, and in future we won't see it as being so important. It is recommended for readers who want to learn about genetics, but who require a critical view of the concepts which are being introduced. Continued..
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Frankel, Charles
The End of the Dinosaurs Cambridge University Press, 1999ISBN: 0521474477
cover It is now the consensus that 65 million years ago there was a major impact which caused a major extinction. In The End of the Dinosaurs:Chicxulub Crater and Mass Extinctions Charles Frankel describes how this idea came to be ated. Continued..
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Frankel, Theodore
The geometry of physics : an introduction Cambridge University PressISBN: 0521833302
cover
Mentioned in
road to reality
Modern physics is taking more and more of a geometrical viewpoint - particle physics is full of terms like SU(2) and SO(3). Unfortunately, when students get to the point of needing to study such things in detail they are often 'thrown in at the deep end' - many books devote just a short space to the mathematics, so that they can get on to the physics more quickly. This means that students may struggle, or worse, end up with just a superficial idea of the subject. In 'The geometry of physics' Theodore Frankel goes for a more gentle approach. Rather than writing for graduate students, the book is aimed at undergraduates. It is steadily paced, and has plenty of diagrams, so that it can be worked through by the student, including those studying on their own. Continued..
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Franzen, Torkel
Godel's theorem : an incomplete guide to its use and abuse Peters, 2005ISBN: 1568812388
cover
Mentioned in
Gdel's incompleteness theorem
Gödel's incompleteness theorem is one of the most well known mathematical results, but unfortunately this has led to it being mentioned in highly inappropriate ways. In Godel's theorem : an incomplete guide to its use and abuse Torkel Franzen examines various ways that this theorem has been wrongly quoted, and tries to set the reader straight on what it is really about. He looks at what has been said about incompleteness in physics, in theology and of course in various postmodern ramblings. There is also a chapter criticising attempts to use the incompleteness theorem in the philosophy of mind. Continued..
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Frary, Mark
Future Proof Icon books, 2007ISBN: 9781848310049
cover
Co-authors
Sagan,Nick
Walker,Andy
We live in a world full of gadgets, but we don't seem to have reached the futuristic world imagined by so many. In Future Proof: The Greatest Gadgets and Gizmos Ever Imagined Nick Sagan ,Mark Frary and Andy Walker look at the gadgets we have and some of those that didn't quite make it. Continued..
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Frieden, B. Roy
Science from Fisher information : a unification Cambridge University Press, 2004ISBN: 0521009111
cover One of the first things we learn in physics is Newton's law that force causes acceleration. Later we move on to the principle of least action, which is more abstract than Newton's law, but is a more general result - it applies to a larger class of systems. It is then natural to see if this process can be carried further. In this book Frieden gives a candidate (based on the work of R.A. Fisher), which is known as Fisher Information. Frieden shows that many of the equations of physics can be reached via this path, and illustrates its generality by applying it to biological growth and even to trading on the stock market. Continued..
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Frith, Chris
Making up the mind Blackwell, 2007ISBN: 9781405160223
cover When we percieve something via our senses the process seems fairly straightforward. In Making up the mind: how the brain creates our mental world , however, Chris Frith shows that there's a lot more going on behind the scenes than you might think. Continued..
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Frolov, Valery
Physics of black holes Kluwer AcademicISBN: 902772685X
cover
Mentioned in
Black Holes
Co-author
Novikov,Igor
Comprehensive textbook on black holes. Well presented
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Fuller, Steve
Kuhn vs Popper Icon books, 2003ISBN: 1840467223
cover I'm not totally convinced about the value of 'A vs B' books. The author always seems to construct two people to fit his arguments rather than the other way around. In this case I'm not convinced either that Popper 'lost' the battle with Kuhn. Maybe in the world of 'science studies' Popper might need a defender, but in a wider context I feel that his falsificationism is alive and well.

But despite all that I feel that Steve Fuller's 'Kuhn vs Popper' is definitely worth reading, as it isn't just a narrow look at the work of two philosophers, rather it is a wide ranging discussion of why the philosophers of science seem to have argued themselves into a corner, giving an optional commentary on science, rather than an opinion on how to improve it. Furthermore it is written to be read by non-specialists, and so is very useful in helping those of us who are confused by the direction philosophy has taken to sort things out in our minds. Continued..

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