Report of the meeting of April 20th, 2016; submitted by Heidemarie Lundblad
Book Group met on April 20th. In attendance were Sandy Jewett, Virve
Leps, Phyllis Russell, Elzbieta Trybus; and Heidemarie Lundblad. The book
discussed was “Rust: The Longest War”, by Jonathan Waldman.
Through a series of examples, Waldman illustrated how rust is a serious, but frequently overlooked until too late problem. From the Statute of Liberty to the Alaska pipeline the fight against rust is an ongoing issue. Waldman’s book not only addresses the various problems caused by rust but also provides an interesting, very readable introduction to a number of areas. Who knew the complexities involved in making the humble can used to protect a large variety of food products? Or that the Department of Defense has a rust fighting department? In his first book Waldman exhibits an impressive ability to write clearly about scientific issues. Unfortunately, the book does not contain an index or references. Given the very large number of subjects discussed that would have been a useful addition.
We will discuss the following books at the May and June meetings respectively:
· May 18th “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)”, by Richard Feynman and Ralph Leighton.
· June 15th “The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code by Sam Kean
Future meeting dates: July 20; August 17th; September 21st.
Books to think about for future discussion:
“Rise of the Rocket Girls tells the stories of these women--known as "human computers"--who broke the boundaries of both gender and science. Based on extensive research and interviews with all the living members of the team, Rise of the Rocket Girls offers a unique perspective on the role of women in science: both where we've been, and the far reaches of space to which we're heading.”
“Blink is a book about how we think without thinking, about choices that seem to be made in an instant-in the blink of an eye-that actually aren't as simple as they seem. Why are some people brilliant decision makers, while others are consistently inept?”
Steven Weinberg: To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science Hardcover, Other Formats: Audible Audio Edition, Audio CD Jun 7, 2011. Available in Hardcover, Paperback and Kindle and Audiobook.
“A masterful commentary on the history of science from the Greeks to modern times, by Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg—a thought-provoking and important book by one of the most distinguished scientists and intellectuals of our time.
In this rich, irreverent, and compelling history, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Weinberg takes us across centuries from ancient Miletus to medieval Baghdad and Oxford, from Plato’s Academy and the Museum of Alexandria to the cathedral school of Chartres and the Royal Society of London. He shows that the scientists of ancient and medieval times not only did not understand what we understand about the world—they did not understand what there is to understand, or how to understand it. … An illuminating exploration of the way we consider and analyze the world around us, To Explain the World is a sweeping, ambitious account of how difficult it was to discover the goals and methods of modern science, and the impact of this discovery on human knowledge and development.”
Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson ; Oct 20, 2015 Note this is a revised second edition! Available in hardcover, paperback. Other Formats:MP3 CD, Hardcover, Audible Audio Edition
“Social psychologists Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson examine how the brain is wired for self-justification and offer many important psychological insights for responsible behavior patterns in Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts. It goes beyond most self-help titles to address the physiological makeup and patterns behind denial, false memories, and more, and pairs research with case history examples and insights on how self-justification develops and damages relationships and lives. An important pick not just for psychology holdings, but for any general-interest collection.” (Midwest Book Review)
The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives: (2008) Leonard Mlodinow. Available in hardcover, paperback, kindle, audio, etc.
Adam Rogers: Proof: The Science of Booze Available in Hardcover, paperback, kindle and audio.