As the summer months draw near, visions of sandy beaches and cool breezes take over our minds, filling us with warmth—and promises of lots of free time. Whether looking out at the sea or the back of the seat in front of you on a flight, nothing can transport you to another reality like a good read. Here’s a list of some popular books in science and technology to pull out during your summer travels:
Whether new or familiar to science, it’s always interesting to take a look into its history—the failures and achievements of great minds—in the words of accomplished scientists.
The Demon-Haunted World is a collection of 25 essays by astronomer, astrophysicist, and cosmologist Carl Sagan, including several written with his wife, Ann Druyan. These essays examine and debunk some of the most celebrated scientific myths of the past, such as witchcraft, faith healing, demons, and UFOs. Surprisingly, pseudo-science is still growing strong with stories of astrology, channelling past lives, and homeopathic cures—all of which have grown in interest and support. In light of today’s pseudo-science craze, Sagan praises the virtues of scepticism, controlled studies, and empirical evidence with intelligence and wit.
This is your Brain on Music is written by one of our very own at McGill, Professor of Psychology and Behavioural Neuroscience Dr. Daniel Levitin. The novel explores various questions such as why music evokes such a powerful mood, and if musical pleasure is different from other kinds of pleasure. These answers are becoming clearer through the lens of neuroscience and psychology. This is your Brain on Music also explores many different areas of research to investigate the relationship between our brain and music. These include an explanation of why two people may not have the same definition of pitch, to patients with rare disorders that prevent them from making sense of music.
Technology often teaches us to forget the past. Advancements from before this year seem irrelevant when comparing it to today’s technology—remember those things we called floppy discs? There was even a time when there was no such thing as Google or Apple, and, while they grew in the shadow of our childhood, it’s worth taking a look at the lives of the people who changed our world, as well as what future technology has in store for us.
The Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture by John Battelle describes how Google rose to new heights as one of the most used search browsers in history. Through over 350 interviews, Battelle plots the rough road Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, faced, along with the challenges they had to overcome to top the likes of Yahoo, Vista, Lycos, and others.
The Physics of the Future: How Science will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 is a flash forward look at the year 2100 through the eyes of physicist and author Michio Kaku. Kaku’s views are built upon interviews with more than 300 of today’s top scientists, many of which are working on future innovations. From regenerative medicine and artificial intelligence to vehicles flying on a cushion of air, Kaku makes and explains his predictions in a logical extension through today’s technology that might even have you convinced