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Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs - Lisa Randall
Call Number: QB791.3 .R36 2015
ISBN: 9780062328472
Publication Date: 2015-10-27
Bestselling author of Warped Passages and Knocking on Heaven's Door and one of today's most influential and highly cited theoretical physicists, Professor Lisa Randall once again delivers fascinating science to the general reader. Weaving together the cosmos' history and our own in an expanding intellectual adventure story, Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs takes us from the mysteries of dark matter and our cosmic environment to the conditions for life on Earth. Sixty-six million years ago, an object the size of a city descended from space to crash into Earth, creating a cataclysm that killed off the dinosaurs, along with three-quarters of the other species on the planet. What was its origin? Randall proposes it was a comet that was dislodged from its orbit as the Solar System passed through a disk of dark matter that is embedded in the plane of the Milky Way. Her research challenges the usual assumptions about the simple nature of dark matter and demonstrates how scientists formulate and establish new ideas.

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What If? - Randall Munroe
Call Number: Q173 .M965 2014
ISBN: 9780544272996
Publication Date: 2014-09-02
From the creator of the wildly popular webcomic xkcd, hilarious and informative answers to important questions. Millions of people visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe's iconic webcomic. His stick-figure drawings about science, technology, language, and love have an enormous, dedicated following, as do his deeply researched answers to his fans' strangest questions. The queries he receives range from merely odd to downright diabolical: What if I took a swim in a spent-nuclear-fuel pool? Could you build a jetpack using downward-firing machine guns? What if a Richter 15 earthquake hit New York City? What If? is an informative feast for xkcd fans and anyone who loves to ponder the hypothetical.

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Knocking on Heaven's Door - Lisa Randall
Call Number: Q175.5 .R365 2012
ISBN: 9780061723735
Publication Date: 2012-10-02
One of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world and the bestselling author of Warped Passages, Lisa Randall is an expert in both particle physics (the study of the smallest objects we know of) and cosmology (the study of the largest). In this, her most recent book, Randall takes us on an amazing tour through the latest developments in physics--including a new preface explaining the thrilling discovery of the Higgs boson--and the theoretical concepts underlying this work. Knocking on Heaven's Door also explores the role of risk, creativity, uncertainty, beauty, and truth in scientific thinking. Through provocative conversations with leading figures in other fields, including chef David Chang, forecaster Nate Silver, and screenwriter Scott Derrickson, and through reflections on her own work, Randall makes an impassioned argument in defense of science.

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A Tale of Seven Elements - Eric Scerri
Call Number: QD467 .S3475 2013
ISBN: 9780195391312
Publication Date: 2013-06-20
In 1913, English physicist Henry Moseley established an elegant method for "counting" the elements based on atomic number, ranging them from hydrogen (#1) to uranium (#92). It soon became clear, however, that seven elements were mysteriously missing from the lineup--seven elements unknown to science. In his well researched and engaging narrative, Eric Scerri presents the intriguing stories of these seven elements--protactinium, hafnium, rhenium, technetium, francium, astatine and promethium. The book follows the historical order of discovery, roughly spanning the two world wars, beginning with the isolation of protactinium in 1917 and ending with that of promethium in 1945. For each element, Scerri traces the research that preceded the discovery, the pivotal experiments, the personalities of the chemists involved, the chemical nature of the new element, and its applications in science and technology. We learn for instance that alloys of hafnium--whose name derives from the Latin name for Copenhagen (hafnia)--have some of the highest boiling points on record and are used for the nozzles in rocket thrusters such as the Apollo Lunar Modules. Scerri also tells the personal tales of researchers overcoming great obstacles. We see how Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn--the pair who later proposed the theory of atomic fission--were struggling to isolate element 91 when World War I intervened, Hahn was drafted into the German army's poison gas unit, and Meitner was forced to press on alone against daunting odds. The book concludes by examining how and where the twenty-five new elements have taken their places in the periodic table in the last half century. A Tale of Seven Elements paints a fascinating picture of chemical research--the wrong turns, missed opportunities, bitterly disputed claims, serendipitous findings, accusations of dishonesty--all leading finally to the thrill of discovery.

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