February New General Science books
The Scientific Imagination
The Scientific Imagination: Q172.5.C74 S39 2020
Author(s): Arnon Levy, Peter Godfrey-Smith
New York, NY : Oxford University Press 
The imagination, our capacity to entertain thoughts and ideas "in the mind's eye," is indispensable in science as elsewhere in human life. Indeed, common scientific practices such as modeling and idealization rely on the imagination to construct simplified, stylized scenarios essential for scientific understanding. Yet the philosophy of science has traditionally shied away from according an important role to the imagination, wary of psychologizing fundamental scientific concepts like explanation and justification. In recent years, however, advances in thinking about creativity and fiction, and their relation to theorizing and understanding, have prompted a move away from older philosophical perspectives and toward a greater acknowledgement of the place of the imagination in scientific practice. Meanwhile, psychologists have engaged in significant experimental work on the role of the imagination in causal thinking and probabilistic reasoning. The Scientific Imagination delves into this burgeoning area of debate at the intersection of the philosophy and practice of science, bringing together the work of leading researchers in philosophy and psychology. Philosophers discuss such topics as modeling, idealization, metaphor and explanation, examining their role within science as well as how they affect questions in metaphysics, epistemology and philosophy of language. Psychologists discuss how our imaginative capacities develop and how they work, their relationships with processes of reasoning, and how they compare to related capacities, such as categorization and counterfactual thinking. Together, these contributions combine to provide a comprehensive and exciting picture of the scientific imagination.
What the Future Looks Like: Scientists Predict the Next Great Discoveries—and Reveal How Today's Breakthroughs Are Already Shaping Our World
What the Future Looks Like: Scientists Predict the Next Great Discoveries—and Reveal How Today's Breakthroughs Are Already Shaping Our World: Q175 .W546 2018
Author(s): Jim Al-Khalili
New York, NY : The Experiment LLC 2018.
Science fact, not science fiction, on the cutting–edge developments that are already changing the course of our future Every day, scientists conduct pioneering experiments with the potential to transform how we live. Yet it isn’t every day you hear from the scientists themselves! Now, award–winning author Jim Al–Khalili and his team of top-notch experts explain how today’s earthshaking discoveries will shape our world tomorrow—and beyond. Pull back the curtain on: genomics robotics AI the “Internet of Things” synthetic biology transhumanism interstellar travel colonization of the solar system teleportation and much more And find insight into big–picture questions such as: Will we find a cure to all diseases? The answer to climate change? And will bionics one day turn us into superheroes? The scientists in these pages are interested only in the truth—reality–based and speculation–free. The future they conjure is by turns tantalizing and sobering: There’s plenty to look forward to, but also plenty to dread. And undoubtedly the best way to for us to face tomorrow’s greatest challenges is to learn what the future looks like—today.
Science, Technology, and Society: New Perspectives and Directions
Science, Technology, and Society: New Perspectives and Directions: Q175.5 .S37385 2019
Author(s): Todd L. Pittinsky
Cambridge ; Cambridge University Press 
This book gathers inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary perspectives on the effects that today's advances in science and technology have on issues ranging from government policy-making to how we see the differences between men and women. The chapters investigate how invention and innovation really take place, how science differs from competing forms of knowledge, and how science and technology could contribute more to the greater good of humanity. For instance, should there be legal restrictions on 'immoral inventions'? A key theme that runs throughout the book concerns who is taken into account at each stage and who is affected. The amount of influence users have on technology development and how non-users are factored in are evaluated as the impact of scientific and technological progression on society is investigated, including politics, economy, family life, and ethics.
Scientific Writing and Communication
Scientific Writing and Communication: Q223 .H63 2020
Author(s): Angelika H. Hofmann
New York : Oxford University Press 
Practical and easy to use, Writing in the Biological Sciences: A Comprehensive Resource for Scientific Communication, Fourth Edition, presents students with all of the techniques and information they need to communicate their scientific ideas, insights, and discoveries. Angelika H. Hofmannintroduces students to the underlying principles and guidelines of professional scientific writing and then teaches them how to apply these methods when composing essential forms of scientific writing and communication. Ideal as a free-standing textbook for courses on writing in the biologicalsciences or as reference guide in laboratories, this indispensable handbook gives students the tools they need to succeed in their undergraduate science careers and beyond.
Machines that Think: The Future of Artificial Intelligence
Machines that Think: The Future of Artificial Intelligence: Q335 .W3525 2018
Author(s): Toby Walsh
Amherst, New York : Prometheus Books 2018.
A scientist who has spent a career developing Artificial Intelligence takes a realistic look at the technological challenges and assesses the likely effect of AI on the future. How will Artificial Intelligence (AI) impact our lives? Toby Walsh, one of the leading AI researchers in the world, takes a critical look at the many ways in which "thinking machines" will change our world. Based on a deep understanding of the technology, Walsh describes where Artificial Intelligence is today, and where it will take us. * Will automation take away most of our jobs? * Is a "technological singularity" near? * What is the chance that robots will take over? * How do we best prepare for this future? The author concludes that, if we plan well, AI could be our greatest legacy, the last invention human beings will ever need to make.
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder
Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder: Q375 .T348 2012
Author(s): Nassim Nicholas Taleb
New York : Random House ©2012.
Antifragile is a standalone book in Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s landmark Incerto series, an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand. The other books in the series are Fooled by Randomness, The Black Swan, Skin in the Game, and The Bed of Procrustes. Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the bestselling author of The Black Swan and one of the foremost thinkers of our time, reveals how to thrive in an uncertain world. Just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension, and rumors or riots intensify when someone tries to repress them, many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil. What Taleb has identified and calls “antifragile” is that category of things that not only gain from chaos but need it in order to survive and flourish. In The Black Swan, Taleb showed us that highly improbable and unpredictable events underlie almost everything about our world. In Antifragile, Taleb stands uncertainty on its head, making it desirable, even necessary, and proposes that things be built in an antifragile manner. The antifragile is beyond the resilient or robust. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better and better. Furthermore, the antifragile is immune to prediction errors and protected from adverse events. Why is the city-state better than the nation-state, why is debt bad for you, and why is what we call “efficient” not efficient at all? Why do government responses and social policies protect the strong and hurt the weak? Why should you write your resignation letter before even starting on the job? How did the sinking of the Titanic save lives? The book spans innovation by trial and error, life decisions, politics, urban planning, war, personal finance, economic systems, and medicine. And throughout, in addition to the street wisdom of Fat Tony of Brooklyn, the voices and recipes of ancient wisdom, from Roman, Greek, Semitic, and medieval sources, are loud and clear. Antifragile is a blueprint for living in a Black Swan world. Erudite, witty, and iconoclastic, Taleb’s message is revolutionary: The antifragile, and only the antifragile, will make it. Praise for Antifragile “Ambitious and thought-provoking . . . highly entertaining.”—The Economist “A bold book explaining how and why we should embrace uncertainty, randomness, and error . . . It may just change our lives.”—Newsweek