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George Johnson writes regularly about science for the New York Times. He has also written for National Geographic, Slate, Discover, Scientific American, Wired, and The Atlantic, and his work has been included in The Best American Science Writing. A former Alicia Patterson fellow, he has received awards from PEN and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and his books were twice finalists for the Royal Society's book prize. He appears regularly on Science Faction on bloggingheads.tv and writes the blog Fire in the Mind for Discover. He lives in Santa Fe.
Shortlisted for the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books 2014. When the woman he loved was diagnosed with a metastatic cancer, science-writer George Johnson embarked on a journey to learn everything he could about the disease and the people who dedicate their lives to understanding and combating it. What he discovered is that a revolution is now under way - an explosion of new ideas about what cancer really is and where it comes from. He combs through the realms of epidemiology, clinical trials, laboratory experiments and scientific hypotheses, to reveal what we know and don't know about cancer, showing why a cure remains such a slippery concept. His luminous accounts describe tumors that evolve like alien creatures inside the body, paleo-oncologists who uncover petrified tumors clinging to the skeletons of dinosaurs and ancient human ancestors, and the surprising reversals in science's comprehension of the causes of cancer, with the foods we eat and environmental toxins playing a lesser role. Perhaps most fascinating of all is how cancer borrows natural processes involved in the healing of a wound or the unfolding of a human embryo and turns them against the body. Throughout his pursuit, Johnson illuminates the human experience with elegiac grace, bearing witness to the punishing gauntlet of consultations, surgeries, targeted therapies and other treatments. Provocative and intellectually vibrant, The Cancer Chronicles will challenge everything you thought you knew about the disease - and provide hope for tomorrow and the future.
George Johnson tells the stories of ten beautiful experiments which changed the world. From Galileo singing to mark time as he measured the pull of gravity and Newton carefully inserting a needle behind his own eye, to Joule packing a thermometer on his honeymoon to take the temperature of waterfalls and Michelson recovering from a dark depression to discover that light moves at the same speed in every direction - these ten dedicated men employed diamonds, dogs, frogs and even their own bodies as they worked to discover the laws of nature and of the universe.
From the universally praised New York Times science writer George Johnson ( He provides some of the best science writing I have come across in a long time -Paul Davies), an irresistible book on the ten most fascinating experiments in the history of science-moments when a curious soul posed a particularly eloquent question to nature and received a crisp, unambiguous reply. Ch. 1 - Galileo: The Way Things Really Move Ch. 2 - William Harvey: Mysteries of the Heart Ch. 3 - Isaac Newton: What a Colour Is Ch. 4 - Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier: The Farmer's Daughter Ch. 5 - Luigi Galvini: Animal Electricity Ch. 6 - Michel Faraday: Something Deeply Hidden Ch. 7 - James Joule: How the World Works Ch. 8 - A. Michelson: Lost in Space Ch. 9 - Ivan Pavlov: Measuring the Immeasurable Ch. 10 - Robert Millikan: In the Borderland The diligence of all these scientists was rewarded: in an instant, confusion was swept aside, and something new about nature leapt into view.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, scientists argued over the size of the universe: was it, as the astronomer Harlow Shapley argued, the size of the Milky Way, or was there more truth to Edwin Hubble's claim that our own galaxy is just one among billions? The answer to the controversy-a yardstick suitable for measuring the cosmos-was discovered by Henrietta Swan Leavitt, who was employed by the Harvard Observatory as a number cruncher, at a wage not dissimilar from that of workers in the nearby textile mills. Miss Leavitt's Stars uncovers her neglected history, and brings a fascinating and turbulent period of astronomical history to life.
The newest Pentium chip powering PCs and laptops contains 40 million electronic switches packed onto a piece of silicon about the size of a thumbnail. Several years from now, if this incredible shrinking continues, a single chip will hold a billion switches, then a trillion. The logical culmination is a computer in which the switches are so tiny that each consists of an individual atom. At that point something miraculous happens: quantum mechanics kick in. Anyone who follows the science news or watches 'Star Trek' has at least a notion of what that means: particles can be in two or more places at once. Atoms obey a peculiar logic of their own - and if it can be harnessed society will be transformed. Problems that would now take forever would be solved almost instantly. Quantum computing promises nothing less than a shortcut through time.
No scientist has done more to shape our understanding of the universe than Murray Gell-Mann, the Nobel Prize-winner considered by many colleagues to be the most brilliant physicist of his generation. His discovery of the quark and the Eightfold Way were cornerstones for all that followed in particle physics, the effort to understand the very stuff of creation, In this, the first biography of Gell-Mann, George Johnson tells the story of a remarkable life.
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