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Atkins' Molecules by Peter Atkins Average Customer Review: Paperback (25 September, 2003) list price: $32.99  our price: $21.77 (price subject to change: see help) US  Canada  United Kingdom  Germany  France Reviews (3)
Explores the molecule nature of life Ironically, the reason is not so much in the drawings of the molecules, but in the text.Peter Atkins covers a wide range of interesting molecules and shows how they are related, and he makes their properties semiaccessible to the general reader.I say, "semi" because, frankly for this chemistrychallenged person, seeing twodimensional shapes of the molecules helps me to understand them only slightly.I suspect for those more conversant with chemistry, the drawings (new for this edition) will be valuable.To me, the mystery of why a certain shape and elemental composition should result in a nutritious substance whereas something else with only the slightest change should be poisonous is not dispelled. He begins with "Simple substances," oxygen molecules, nitrogen, our air and its pollutants.He ends with the very complex DNA and RNA.Along the way he enlightens us about so many of the chemicals and foods and consumer products we use in our daily lives from soaps and gasoline to fats and oils, to painkillers and street drugs.His style is very readable and he has the welcome knack of being informative about interesting things.Here are some examples: Baking power releases carbon dioxide to leaven baked goods in two separate bursts."The first burst occurs at room temperature as a result of the action of the moistened tartaric acid...The second...is due to the action of the aluminum salt, and it occurs at high temperature."(p. 24) One of the differences between synthetic and natural vanilla (vanillin) is that the natural is "weakly radioactive," the former having been made from coal tar, "from which the radioactivity has long decayed," while the latter picks up some radioactive carbon14 atoms captured from the atmosphere during photosynthesis. (p. 154)(Of course natural vanilla is also more expensive.) Lemons originally came from northern India and were introduced into the Mediterranean region about a thousand years ago. (p. 155) "Initially, a young white wine may have a greenish hue from the chlorophyll...molecules that survive fermentation." (p. 176) Window glass allows UVA rays to pass through but blocks UVB rays.(p. 180)I had always wondered about this because I had gotten conflicting information from different sources. There's a Glossary and many full color illustrations and photos on glossy paper in addition to the colorcoded drawings of the molecules, some of which are very beautiful.There's an Introduction in which Atkins explains the difference between elements and molecules, between atoms and compounds, and differentiates between the bonds between atoms and the forces that hold molecules together.
Great organic chemistry book
Never buy an Atkins Book Isbn: 0521535360 
$21.77 
Theoretical Concepts in Physics : An Alternative View of Theoretical Reasoning in Physics by Malcolm S. Longair Average Customer Review: Paperback (04 December, 2003) list price: $63.00  our price: $44.88 (price subject to change: see help) US  Canada  United Kingdom  Germany  France Reviews (1)
Excellent overview of theoretical physics Isbn: 052152878X 
$44.88 
All the Mathematics You Missed : But Need to Know for Graduate School by Thomas A. Garrity, Lori Pedersen Average Customer Review: Paperback (12 November, 2001) list price: $29.99  our price: $29.99 (price subject to change: see help) US  Canada  United Kingdom  Germany  France Reviews (5)
Very helpful as a guide
Good for a recap, bad for anything more This book is meant to organize your undergraduate math knowledge, not to supplement it. With that said, I'll mention a few words about the content of the book. It is quite well written and definitely extracts the essential ideas for your quick consumption. There are a few topics that I personally feel are missing, such as GramSchmidt and Jordan Canonical Forms for Linear Algebra, and UFDs and PIDs from Algebra. In general, it seemed like the book leaned a little more towards analysis than algebra, but the vast majority of important topics were indeed encapsulated in their synopsis. Good for a very specific audience, but otherwise not wonderfully useful.
A Good Tool for Diligent SelfStudy Each chapter covers, in the span of 10 or 15 pages, what would normally be an entire semester's worth of material, and as a result, is quite dense  there are alot of ideas crammed onto each page.But unlike traditional advanced math books (which are notoriously dense) the focus is more on developing intuitions than on long strings of equations. An important strength is that every chapter ends with suggestions on textbooks in that chapter's subject.This turns out to be quite helpful, since one can't reasonably expect to learn everything important about any of these subjects from a brief chapter in any book. I can envision three main ways in which this book might be useful: First, in combination with one or more of the books in listed in the bibliography for learning a new subject.Second, on its own for review of topics you've seen before.Third, as a reference for "basic" definitions and theorems, as in: "What's a Hilbert space again?" Overall, this will be a good book to have around, but not a substitute for real study. ... Read more Isbn: 0521797071 
$29.99 
The Major Transitions in Evolution by John Maynard Smith, Eors Szathmary Average Customer Review: Paperback (01 February, 1997) list price: $44.50  our price: $44.50 (price subject to change: see help) US  Canada  United Kingdom  Germany  France Reviews (3)
A Marvellous and Challenging Read
Excellent. Industrial strength for biological initiates. An excellent book.Recommended to any professional in the field, to any student of the subjectand to laymen with a good background in the subject and who are notintimidated by a challenge and are willing to skip some of thebiochemistry.The later chapters are more accessible in that they dealwith more difficult subjects, such as speech and culture. Instead ofwatering down the content for educated laymen, the authors have published aless technical sequel: "The Origins of Life".This is alsoavailable from Amazon and, although it is intended for a wider audience, itis thoroughly rewarding for the professional.
First class Isbn: 019850294X 
$44.50 
Foundations and Fundamental Concepts of Mathematics (Prindle, Weber, and Schmidt Series in Advanced Mathematics) by Howard Whitley Eves Average Customer Review: Hardcover (01 March, 1990) list price: $50.95 US  Canada  United Kingdom  Germany  France Reviews (3)
'Swiss Army Knife' of Upper Level Mathematics
Excellent Overview.Belongs on Your Bookshelf. My few semesters of calculus, differential equations, and other applied math failed to formally introduce me to abstract algebras, nonEuclidian geometries, projective geometry, symbolic logic, and mathematical philosophy. I generally considered algebra and geometry to be singular nouns.Howard Eves corrected my grammar. "Foundations and Fundamental Concepts" is not a traditional history of mathematics, but an investigation of the philosophical context in which new developments emerged. Eves paints a clear picture of the critical ideas and turning points in mathematics and he does so without requiring substantial mathematics by the reader.Calculus is not required. The first two chapters, titled "Mathematics Before Euclid" and "Euclid's Elements", consider the origin of mathematics and the remarkable development of the Greek axiomatic method that dominated mathematics for nearly 2000 years. In chapter three Eves introduces nonEuclidian geometry. Mathematics is transformed from an empirical method focused on describing our real, threedimensional world to a creative endeavor that manufactures new, abstract geometries. This discussion of geometries, as opposed to geometry, continues in chapter four. The key topics include Hilbert's highly influential work that placed Euclidian geometry on a firm (but more abstract) postulational basis, Poincaire's model and the consistency of Lobachevskian geometry, the principle of duality in projective geometry, and Decartes development of analytic geometry. For the noninitiated these topics may seem daunting, but Eves' approach is clear and quite fascinating. Chapter five, which might have been titled "The Liberation of Algebra", may at first be a bit overwhelming to those unaware of algebraic structures like groups, rings, and fields.But take solace as even mathematicians in the early nineteenth century still considered algera to be little more than symbolized arithmetic. As Eves says, nonEuclidian geometry released the "invisible shackles of Euclidian geometry".Likewise, abstract algebra created a parallel revolution. (Again, don't be intimidated by the terminology.Eves is quite good.) The remaining four chapters look at the axiomatic foundation of modern mathematics, the real number system, set theory, and finally mathematical logic and philosophy.Eves concludes with the surprising discovery of contradictions within Cantor's set theory as well as Hilbert's unsuccessful effort to define procedures to avoid inconsistencies or contradictions within an axiomatic system. Eves mentions Godel's fundamental contribution to mathematical logic, but stops short of delving into Godel's Proof. For additional reading I highly recommend "Godel's Proof" by Ernest Nagel and James R. Newman. I also highly recommend Richard Courant's and Herbert Robbins' classic, "What is Mathematics?", a more detailed examination of the development of fundamental ideas and methods underlying mathematics. I would suggest that most readers, particularly nonmath majors, first read Eves and later tackle Courant and Robbins. I have read "Foundations and Fundamentals of Mathematics" at least twice.I gave my son a copy for Christmas. He says that the book is great and he even claims to be reading it as he walks across his campus between classes. The price is great. It belongs in your book collection.
Ecellent description of the history of mathematical thinking The book goes on with chapters onHilbert's Grundlagen, Algebraic Structure etc, always showing not only thesubstance of these periods but also the shift in the way of thinking andthe development towards rigor. The last chapter is titled Logic andPhilosophy. Eves divides "contemporary" philosophies ofmathematics into three schools: logistic (Russel/Whitehead), intuitionist(Brouwer) and the formalist (Hilbert). The book ends with someinteresting appendices on specific problems like the first propositions ofEuclid, nonstandard analysis and even GĂ¶del's incompleteness theorem.Bibliography, solutions to selected problems and an index are carefullyprepared to round up an excellent book. Should you buy this book ? Yes.What kind of mistake can you make in spending US$ 12.95 on a book that haswithstood the test of time through three editions (each with a differentpublisher). I havent completed reading the book yet, but I dont regrethaving bought it. ... Read more Isbn: 0534921639 
Introduction to Tensor Calculus, Relativity and Cosmology by D. F. Lawden Average Customer Review: Paperback (27 January, 2003) list price: $14.95  our price: $10.17 (price subject to change: see help) US  Canada  United Kingdom  Germany  France Reviews (2)
Good introduction to the topic
The easiest and the cheapest technical introduction to GR Isbn: 0486425401 
$10.17 
Modern Elementary Particle Physics: The Fundamental Particles and Forces by G. L. Kane, Gordon Kane Average Customer Review: Paperback (01 April, 1993) list price: $50.00  our price: $50.00 (price subject to change: see help) US  Canada  United Kingdom  Germany  France Reviews (3)
Not for the professional, and not for the lay either. I don't know what the answer is, except to warn readers to be versed in the Lagrangian before they get started.
Great Intuition
Excellent, very readable intro to the Standard Model Isbn: 0201624605 
$50.00 
Exploring Black Holes: Introduction to General Relativity by Edwin F. Taylor, John Archibald Wheeler Average Customer Review: Hardcover (12 July, 2000) list price: $38.45  our price: $32.55 (price subject to change: see help) US  Canada  United Kingdom  Germany  France Reviews (9)
teaches calculations, some statements without justification
well worth it
Terrific  but not easy Isbn: 020138423X 
$32.55 
The Crucible of Creation: The Burgess Shale and the Rise of Animals by S. Conway Morris, Simon Conway Morris Average Customer Review: Hardcover (01 May, 1998) list price: $30.00 US  Canada  United Kingdom  Germany  France Editorial Review The Burgess Shale deposits, in western Canada, have joined the Galapagos Islands as a destination of choice for vacationing scientists and fans of evolutionary theory. The fame of these places is in part due to the unique flora and fauna (living or dead) they boast, and in part to the scientists who have described and attempted to explain them. Like Stephen J. Gould'sWonderful Life, this book from Simon Conway Morris, original describer of the fascinating, troubling fossil Hallucigenia, gives an account of the Burgess Shale and the scientists who argue over the tiny remains of onceliving creatures. Conway Morris calls the place "the most wonderful fossil deposit in the world," and his emotion is contagious. Beyond describing the creatures that formed the fossils, he speculates about how the Burgess Shale fits in to the story of human evolution. ... Read more Reviews (20)
Superb study on the Burgess Shale
FromaReader in Sanibel Island Florida Then in debating convergence he argues that whales are inevitable in the sense that life will inevitably produce a 'fast ocean going animal that sieves sea water for food' True, but it is surely not logical to deduce from that the inevitability of homo sapiens. One could argue the inevitability of 'something like an ape' ie 4 limbs, 2 for standing 2 for grasping, upright stance, omnivore etc. Sure, but not such a specific and unusual creature as man. Especially recognising that the features which give us uniqueness have emerged so recently in geological time. Surely something so inevitable and important would not have waited three and a half million years just to enjoy 50,000 years of existence. The key characteristics of man in this context are intelligence and consciousness. If it is argued that convergence inevitably leads to the emergence of man (with these characteristics) then why do they not emerge (with similar inevitably) in some or all of the other phylla. Having heard his arguments I am afraid I side with Gould on this particular topic ie we could have lots of reruns but still not lead to that fortunate (or unfortunate!) outcome labeled 'homo sapiens'.
interesting but misses the point Isbn: 0198502567 
Handbook of Particle Physics by M. K. Sundaresan, Monsur K. Sundaresan Hardcover (26 April, 2001) list price: $64.95  our price: $64.95 (price subject to change: see help) US  Canada  United Kingdom  Germany  France Isbn: 0849302153 
$64.95 
Spacetime Physics by Edwin F. Taylor, John Archibald Wheeler Average Customer Review: Paperback (15 March, 1992) list price: $53.95  our price: $53.95 (price subject to change: see help) US  Canada  United Kingdom  Germany  France Reviews (26)
Relativity in plain English
The Only Book
Not for everyone Isbn: 0716723271 
$53.95 
Gravitation (Physics Series) by Kip S. Thorne, Charles W. Misner, John Archibald Wheeler, Kip Thorne, John Wheeler Average Customer Review: Paperback (15 September, 1973) list price: $108.95  our price: $107.95 (price subject to change: see help) US  Canada  United Kingdom  Germany  France Reviews (32)
good reference for advanced, NOT A LOGICAL INTRO to GR
Gravity Defying
Authoritative but a little patronizing Isbn: 0716703440 
$107.95 
Mathematical Thought from Ancient to Modern Times (vol. 2) by Morris Kline Average Customer Review: Paperback (01 January, 1990) list price: $19.95  our price: $19.95 (price subject to change: see help) US  Canada  United Kingdom  Germany  France Reviews (4)
disappointing
a fine series at a good price
Very thorough The reader interested in the 18th and 19th centuries will find plenty of food for thought.For example, the story of nonEuclidean geometry is covered well, and Kline does a good job of putting the discoveries in the light of the times.One notable thing I learned is that Lobachevsky and Bolyai were not the discoverers of nonEuclidean geometry, nor were they the first to publish material on that subject.Others before had expressed the opinion that nonEuclidean gometry was consistent and as viable a geometry as Euclidean (e.g. Kluegel, Lambert...even Gauss!)It remained for Beltrami to later show that if Euclidean geometry were consistent, so is nonEuclidean.Of course, important events like the invention of Galois theory are also mentioned.Really, if it's a major mathematical development before 1930, Kline will have it somewhere in these 3volumes. Incidentally, Kline advances the interesting theory that Lobachevsky and Bolyai somehow learned of Gauss' work on nonEuclidean geometry (which he kept secret and was not learned of until after his death) through close friends of Gauss: Bartel (mentor to Lobachevsky) and Bolyai's father, Farkas.[I understand that this theory has been shown false by recent research into Gauss' correspondence]Kline is careful to indicate it is only speculation by phrasing words carefully, e.g. "might have..." and "perhaps he..."I can appreciate Kline's various speculations and opinions, usually they are very interesting, and (at least in these volumes) he always does a good job of highlighting where the account of history ends and his ideas begins.Even so, luckily for those who like unbiased historical accounts, he inserts himself into the text rarely.This may surprise readers who have read his other books, like _Mathematics: the Loss of Certainty_.This history is a scholarly work, although one can't really say that about his other works. Kline also writes quite a bit about the development of the calculus, as one should expect, given its major role in forming modern mathematics.I got a much deeper appreciation of calculus from reading various sections, which explained how this or that area was influenced or invented because of certain calculus problems. I debated about giving this book 4 stars since there are a few minor flaws.One I've mentioned above; I think Kline should have kept his voice objective, instead of occasionally going into a little diatribe on his pet peeves.This is minor, since he doesn't do it too often, and I suppose he can be excused for being human.Another is that the index is rather weak.For a work of this magnitude, one expects that one ought to be able to find the phrase "hyperbolic geometry" in the index.Surprisingly one doesn't."NonEuclidean geometry" is there, but not the other phrase, which is synonymous and more common nowadays.There are other examples, but this is the one that comes to mind now. Finally, I should add that I have not read every page of this history nor am I even close to doing that.I have read parts of all three volumes, and the quality seems consistent.That said, this is not a history one should read straight through.It is meticulous and welldocumented, which can make for rather dry reading, so I suggest you do plenty of skipping around.I found (and will probably still find) Kline useful for helping me understand the context of the various mathematical concepts I was studying.Not only that, but I found his explanations of some topics to be even better than those in standard textbooks.Because of the insights I've gained, I've decided to overlook the little flaws, so...five stars! ... Read more Isbn: 0195061365 
$19.95 
Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell by A. Zee Average Customer Review: Hardcover (10 March, 2003) list price: $49.50  our price: $42.56 (price subject to change: see help) US  Canada  United Kingdom  Germany  France Reviews (28)
A fresh picture of subject and environment
Quantum Field Theory for Dummies
A very gentle QFT book Isbn: 0691010196 
$42.56 
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