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  1. 10.0 hrs • 9/27/2016 • Unabridged

    From the acclaimed author of The Information and Chaos, a mind-bending exploration of time travel: its subversive origins, its evolution in literature and science, and its influence on our understanding of time itself. Gleick’s story begins at the turn of the twentieth century with the young H. G. Wells writing and rewriting the fantastic tale that became his first book, an international sensation, The Time Machine. A host of forces were converging to transmute the human understanding of time, some philosophical and some technological—the electric telegraph, the steam railroad, the discovery of buried civilizations, and the perfection of clocks. James Gleick tracks the evolution of time travel as an idea in the culture—from Marcel Proust to Doctor Who, from Woody Allen to Jorge Luis Borges. He explores the inevitable looping paradoxes and examines the porous boundary between pulp fiction and modern physics. Finally, he delves into a temporal shift that is unsettling our own moment: the instantaneous wired world, with its all-consuming present and vanishing future.

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    Time Travel

    10.0 hrs • 9/27/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 14.6 hrs • 8/9/2016 • Unabridged

    For readers of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks comes a propulsive, haunting journey into the secret history of brain science by Luke Dittrich, whose grandfather performed the surgery that created the most studied human research subject of all time: the amnesic known as Patient H. M. In 1953, a twenty-seven-year-old factory worker named Henry Molaison—who suffered from severe epilepsy—received a radical new version of the then-common lobotomy, targeting the most mysterious structures in the brain. The operation failed to eliminate Henry’s seizures, but it did have an unintended effect: Henry was left profoundly amnesic, unable to create long-term memories. Over the next sixty years, Patient H. M., as Henry was known, became the most studied individual in the history of neuroscience, a human guinea pig who would teach us much of what we know about memory today. Patient H.M. is, at times, a deeply personal journey. Dittrich’s grandfather was the brilliant, morally complex surgeon who operated on Molaison—and thousands of other patients. The author’s investigation into the dark roots of modern memory science ultimately forces him to confront unsettling secrets in his own family history, and to reveal the tragedy that fueled his grandfather’s relentless experimentation—experimentation that would revolutionize our understanding of ourselves. Dittrich uses the case of Patient H. M. as a starting point for a kaleidoscopic journey, one that moves from the first recorded brain surgeries in ancient Egypt to the cutting-edge laboratories of MIT. He takes readers inside the old asylums and operating theaters where psychosurgeons, as they called themselves, conducted their human experiments and behind the scenes of a bitter custody battle over the ownership of the most important brain in the world. Patient H. M. combines the best of biography, memoir, and science journalism to create a haunting, endlessly fascinating story, one that reveals the wondrous and devastating things that can happen when hubris, ambition, and human imperfection collide.

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    Patient H.M.

    14.6 hrs • 8/9/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 10.6 hrs • 8/1/2016 • Unabridged

    A brilliantly engaging guide to the reproductive habits of creatures great and small, based on the author’s popular web series Wild Sex, which has received over fourteen million views Birds do it, bees do it―every member of the animal kingdom does it, from fruit flies to blue whales. But if you think humans have a tough time dating, try having to do it while being hunted down by predators against a backdrop of unpredictable and life-threatening conditions. The animal kingdom is a wild place—and it’s got mating habits to match. The sex lives of our animal cousins are fiendishly difficult, infinitely varied, often incredibly violent—and absolutely fascinating. In Wild Sex, Dr. Carin Bondar takes listeners on an enthralling tour of the animal kingdom as she explores the diverse world of sex in the wild. She looks at the evolution of sexual organs (and how they’ve shaped social hierarchies), tactics of seduction, and the mechanics of sex. She investigates a wide range of topics, from whether animals experience pleasure from sex to what happens when females hold the reproductive power. Along the way, she encounters razor-sharp penises, murderous carnal cannibals, and spontaneous chemical warfare in an epic battle between the sexes. The resulting book is titillating, exhilarating, amusing, petrifying, alluring―and absolutely guaranteed to make you think about sex in a whole new way.

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    Wild Sex by Dr. Carin Bondar

    Wild Sex

    10.6 hrs • 8/1/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 22.1 hrs • 4/26/2016 • Unabridged

    A groundbreaking examination of the greatest event in history, the Scientific Revolution, and how it came to change the way we understand ourselves and our world We live in a world transformed by scientific discovery. Yet today, science and its practitioners have come under political attack. In this fascinating history spanning continents and centuries, historian David Wootton offers a lively defense of science, revealing why the Scientific Revolution was truly the greatest event in our history. The Invention of Science goes back five hundred years in time to chronicle this crucial transformation, exploring the factors that led to its birth and the people who made it happen. Wootton argues that the Scientific Revolution was actually five separate yet concurrent events that developed independently, but came to intersect and create a new world view. Here are the brilliant iconoclasts—Galileo, Copernicus, Brahe, Newton, and many more curious minds from across Europe—whose studies of the natural world challenged centuries of religious orthodoxy and ingrained superstition. From gunpowder technology, the discovery of the new world, movable type printing, perspective painting, and the telescope to the practice of conducting experiments, the laws of nature, and the concept of the fact, Wootton shows how these discoveries codified into a social construct and a system of knowledge ideas of truth, knowledge, progress. Ultimately, he makes clear the link between scientific discovery and the rise of industrialization—and the birth of the modern world we know.

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    The Invention of Science by David Wootton

    The Invention of Science

    22.1 hrs • 4/26/16 • Unabridged
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  5. 1 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5 (1)
    7.8 hrs • 2/9/2016 • Unabridged

    By the end of World War I, Albert Einstein had become the face of the new science of theoretical physics and had made some powerful enemies. One of those enemies, Nobel Prize winner Philipp Lenard, spent a career trying to discredit him. Their story of conflict, pitting Germany’s most widely celebrated Jew against the Nazi scientist who was to become Hitler’s chief advisor on physics, had an impact far exceeding what the scientific community felt at the time. Indeed, their mutual antagonism affected the direction of science long after 1933, when Einstein took flight to America and changed the history of two nations. The Man Who Stalked Einstein details the tense relationship between Einstein and Lenard, their ideas and actions, during the eventful period between World War I and World War II.

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    The Man Who Stalked Einstein by Bruce J. Hillman, Birgit Ertl-Wagner, Bernd C. Wagner

    The Man Who Stalked Einstein

    7.8 hrs • 2/9/16 • Unabridged
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  6. 8.8 hrs • 11/3/2015 • Unabridged

    A sterling roster of natural and social scientists in conversation with top-flight journalist Stefan Klein—shedding new light on their work, their lives, and what they still hope to discover When acclaimed science writer Stefan Klein asks Nobel Prize–winning chemist Roald Hoffmann what sets scientists apart, Hoffmann says, “First and foremost, curiosity.” In this collection of intimate conversations with nineteen of the world’s best-known scientists (including three Nobel Laureates), Klein lets us listen in as today’s leading minds reveal what they still hope to discover—and how their paradigm-changing work entwines with their lives outside the lab. From the sports car that physicist Steven Weinberg says helped him on his quest for “the theory of everything” to the jazz musicians who gave psychologist Alison Gopnik new insight into raising children, these scientists explain how they find inspiration everywhere. Hear from renowned scientists including: evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins on selfishness,anthropologist Sarah Hrdy on motherhood,primatologist Jane Goodall on animal behavior,neuroscientist V. S. Ramachandran on consciousness,geographer Jared Diamond on chance in history, andmany other luminaries.

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    We Are All Stardust by Stefan Klein

    We Are All Stardust

    Translated by Ross Benjamin
    8.8 hrs • 11/3/15 • Unabridged
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  7. 13.7 hrs • 7/14/2015 • Unabridged

    Does the universe embody beautiful ideas? Artists as well as scientists throughout human history have pondered this “beautiful question.” With Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek as your guide, embark on a voyage of related discoveries, from Plato and Pythagoras up to the present. Wilczek’s groundbreaking work in quantum physics was inspired by his intuition to look for a deeper order of beauty in nature. In fact, every major advance in his career came from this intuition: to assume that the universe embodies beautiful forms, forms whose hallmarks are symmetry—harmony, balance, proportion—and economy. There are other meanings of “beauty,” but this is the deep logic of the universe—and it is no accident that it is also at the heart of what we find aesthetically pleasing and inspiring. Wilczek is hardly alone among great scientists in charting his course using beauty as his compass. As he reveals in A Beautiful Question, this has been the heart of scientific pursuit from Pythagoras, the ancient Greek who was the first to argue that “all things are number,” to Galileo, Newton, Maxwell, Einstein, and into the deep waters of twentieth-century physics. Though the ancients weren’t right about everything, their ardent belief in the music of the spheres has proved true down to the quantum level. Indeed, Wilczek explores just how intertwined our ideas about beauty and art are with our scientific understanding of the cosmos. Wilczek brings us right to the edge of knowledge today, where the core insights of even the craziest quantum ideas apply principles we all understand. The equations for atoms and light are almost literally the same equations that govern musical instruments and sound; the subatomic particles that are responsible for most of our mass are determined by simple geometric symmetries. The universe itself, suggests Wilczek, seems to want to embody beautiful and elegant forms. Perhaps this force is the pure elegance of numbers, perhaps the work of a higher being, or somewhere between. Either way, we don’t depart from the infinite and infinitesimal after all; we’re profoundly connected to them, and we connect them. When we find that our sense of beauty is realized in the physical world, we are discovering something about the world but also something about ourselves. A Beautiful Question is a mind-shifting book that braids the age-old quest for beauty and the age-old quest for truth into a thrilling synthesis. It is a dazzling and important work from one of our best thinkers, whose humor and infectious sense of wonder animate every page. Yes, the world is a work of art, and its deepest truths are ones we already feel, as if they were somehow written in our souls.

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    A Beautiful Question

    13.7 hrs • 7/14/15 • Unabridged
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  8. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    11.3 hrs • 7/7/2015 • Unabridged

    The dead talk—to the right listener. They can tell us all about themselves: where they came from, how they lived, how they died, and, of course, who killed them. Forensic scientists can unlock the mysteries of the past and help serve justice using the messages left by a corpse, a crime scene, or the faintest of human traces. Forensics draws on interviews with some of these top-level professionals, groundbreaking research, and Val McDermid’s own original interviews and firsthand experience on scene with top forensic scientists. Along the way, McDermid discovers how maggots collected from a corpse can help determine one’s time of death; how a DNA trace a millionth the size of a grain of salt can be used to convict a killer; and how a team of young Argentine scientists led by a maverick American anthropologist were able to uncover the victims of a genocide. It’s a journey that will take McDermid to war zones, fire scenes, and autopsy suites, and bring her into contact with both extraordinary bravery and wickedness, as she traces the history of forensics from its earliest beginnings to the cutting-edge science of the modern day.

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    Forensics

    11.3 hrs • 7/7/15 • Unabridged
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  9. 0 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5
    14.8 hrs • 7/7/2015 • Unabridged

    From a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and Los Angeles Times contributor, the untold story of how science went “big,” built the bombs that helped win World War II, and became dependent on government and industry—and the forgotten genius who started it all, Ernest Lawrence. Since the 1930s, the scale of scientific endeavors has grown exponentially. Machines have become larger, ambitions bolder. The first particle accelerator cost less than one hundred dollars and could be held in its creator’s palm, while its descendant, the Large Hadron Collider, cost ten billion dollars and is seventeen miles in circumference. Scientists have invented nuclear weapons, put a man on the moon, and examined nature at the subatomic scale—all through Big Science, the industrial-scale research paid for by governments and corporations that have driven the great scientific projects of our time. The birth of Big Science can be traced to Berkeley, California, nearly nine decades ago, when a resourceful young scientist with a talent for physics and an even greater talent for promotion pondered his new invention and declared, “I’m going to be famous!” Ernest Orlando Lawrence’s cyclotron would revolutionize nuclear physics, but that was only the beginning of its impact. It would change our understanding of the basic building blocks of nature. It would help win World War II. Its influence would be felt in academia and international politics. It was the beginning of Big Science. This is the incredible story of how one invention changed the world and of the man principally responsible for it all. Michael Hiltzik tells the riveting full story here for the first time.

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    Big Science

    14.8 hrs • 7/7/15 • Unabridged
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  10. 12.5 hrs • 5/5/2015 • Unabridged

    From the bestselling author of The Drunkard’s Walk and Subliminal and coauthor of The Grand Design (with Stephen Hawking) comes an account of scientific discovery, from the invention of stone tools to theories of quantum physics—a history at once inspiring and entertaining. In this fascinating and illuminating work, Leonard Mlodinow guides us through the critical eras and events in the development of science, all of which, he demonstrates, were propelled forward by humankind’s collective struggle to know. From the birth of reasoning and culture to the formation of the studies of physics, chemistry, biology, and modern-day quantum physics, we come to see that much of our progress can be attributed to simple questions—why? how?—bravely asked. Mlodinow profiles some of the great philosophers, scientists, and thinkers who explored these questions—Aristotle, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Einstein, and Lavoisier among them—and makes clear that just as science has played a key role in shaping the patterns of human thought, human subjectivity has played a key role in the evolution of science. At once authoritative and accessible, and infused with the author’s trademark wit, this deeply insightful book is a stunning tribute to humanity’s intellectual curiosity.

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    The Upright Thinkers

    12.5 hrs • 5/5/15 • Unabridged
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  11. 13.5 hrs • 4/28/2015 • Unabridged

    When Robert Louis Stevenson wrote his Gothic horror story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, he based the house of the genial doctor-turned-fiend on the home of John Hunter. The choice was understandable, for Hunter was both widely acclaimed and greatly feared. From humble origins, John Hunter rose to become the most famous anatomist and surgeon of the eighteenth century. In an age when operations were crude, extremely painful, and often fatal, he rejected medieval traditions to forge a revolution in surgery founded on pioneering scientific experiments. Using the knowledge he gained from countless human dissections, Hunter worked to improve medical care for both the poorest and the best-known figures of the era—including Sir Joshua Reynolds and the young Lord Byron. An insatiable student of all lifeforms, Hunter was also an expert naturalist. He kept exotic creatures in his country menagerie and dissected the first animals brought back by Captain Cook from Australia. Ultimately his research led him to expound highly controversial views on the age of the earth, as well as equally heretical beliefs on the origins of life more than sixty years before Darwin published his famous theory. Although a central figure of the Enlightenment, Hunter’s tireless quest for human corpses immersed him deep in the sinister world of body snatching. He paid exorbitant sums for stolen cadavers and even plotted successfully to steal the body of Charles Byrne, famous in his day as the “Irish giant.” In The Knife Man, Wendy Moore unveils John Hunter’s murky and macabre world—a world characterized by public hangings, secret expeditions to dank churchyards, and gruesome human dissections in pungent attic rooms. This is a fascinating portrait of a remarkable pioneer and his determined struggle to haul surgery out of the realms of meaningless superstitious ritual and into the dawn of modern medicine.

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    The Knife Man

    13.5 hrs • 4/28/15 • Unabridged
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  12. 1 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5 (1)
    13.1 hrs • 4/15/2015 • Unabridged

    A startling and vivid account of World War I, Secret Warriors uncovers how wartime code-breaking, aeronautics, and scientific research laid the foundation for many of the innovations of the twentieth century. World War I is often viewed as a war fought by armies of millions living and fighting in trenches, aided by brutal machinery that cost the lives of many. But behind all of this an intellectual war was also being fought between engineers, chemists, code-breakers, physicists, doctors, mathematicians, and intelligence gatherers. This hidden war was to make a positive and lasting contribution to how war was conducted on land, at sea, and in the air and, most importantly, to life at home. Secret Warriors provides an invaluable and fresh history of World War I, profiling a number of the key incidents and figures that led to great leaps forward for the twentieth century. Told in a lively and colorful narrative style, Secret Warriors reveals the unknown side of this tragic conflict.

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    Secret Warriors by Taylor Downing

    Secret Warriors

    13.1 hrs • 4/15/15 • Unabridged
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  13. 1 reviews 0 5 4 4 out of 5 stars 4/5 (1)
    10.3 hrs • 4/14/2015 • Unabridged

    Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrödinger were friends and comrades-in-arms against what they considered the most preposterous aspects of quantum physics: its indeterminacy. Einstein famously quipped that God does not play dice with the universe, and Schrödinger is equally well known for his thought experiment about the cat in the box who ends up “spread out” in a probabilistic state, neither wholly alive nor wholly dead. Both of these famous images arose from these two men’s dissatisfaction with quantum weirdness and with their assertion that underneath it all, there must be some essentially deterministic world. Even though it was Einstein’s own theories that made quantum mechanics possible, both he and Schrödinger could not bear the idea that the universe was, at its most fundamental level, random. As the Second World War raged, both men struggled to produce a theory that would describe in full the universe’s ultimate design, first as collaborators, then as competitors. They both ultimately failed in their search for a Grand Unified Theory—not only because quantum mechanics is true but because Einstein and Schrödinger were also missing a key component: of the four forces we recognize today (gravity, electromagnetism, the weak force, and the strong force), only gravity and electromagnetism were known at the time. Despite their failures, much of modern physics remains focused on the search for a Grand Unified Theory. As Halpern explains, the recent discovery of the Higgs boson makes the Standard Model—the closest thing we have to a unified theory—nearly complete. And while Einstein and Schrödinger tried and failed to explain everything in the cosmos through pure geometry, the development of string theory has, in its own quantum way, brought this idea back into vogue. As in so many things, even when he was wrong, Einstein couldn’t help but be right.

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    Einstein’s Dice and Schrödinger’s Cat by Paul Halpern, PhD

    Einstein’s Dice and Schrödinger’s Cat

    10.3 hrs • 4/14/15 • Unabridged
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  14. 7.0 hrs • 4/7/2015 • Unabridged

    Fifty-two inspiring and insightful profiles of history’s brightest female scientists In 2013 the New York Times published an obituary for Yvonne Brill. It began: “She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job, and took eight years off from work to raise three children.” It wasn’t until the second paragraph that readers discovered why the Times had devoted several hundred words to her life: Brill was a brilliant rocket scientist who invented a propulsion system to keep communications satellites in orbit and had recently been awarded the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Among the questions the obituary—and consequent outcry—prompted were: who are the role models for today’s female scientists, and where can we find the stories that cast them in their true light? Headstrong delivers a powerful, global, and engaging response. Covering Nobel Prize winners and major innovators, as well as lesser-known but hugely significant scientists who influence our every day, Rachel Swaby’s vibrant profiles span centuries of courageous thinkers and illustrate how each one’s ideas developed, from their first moment of scientific engagement through the research and discovery for which they’re best known. This fascinating tour reveals these fifty-two women at their best—while encouraging and inspiring a new generation of girls to put on their lab coats.

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    Headstrong

    7.0 hrs • 4/7/15 • Unabridged
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  15. 13.6 hrs • 3/16/2015 • Unabridged

    “See for yourself!” was the clarion call of the 1600s. Natural philosophers threw off the yoke of ancient authority, peered at nature with microscopes and telescopes, and ignited the Scientific Revolution. Artists investigated nature with lenses and created paintings filled with realistic effects of light and shadow. The hub of this optical innovation was the small Dutch city of Delft. Here Johannes Vermeer’s experiments with lenses and a camera obscura taught him how we see under different conditions of light and helped him create the most luminous works of art ever beheld. Meanwhile, his neighbor Antoni van Leeuwenhoek’s work with microscopes revealed a previously unimagined realm of minuscule creatures. The result was a transformation in both art and science that revolutionized how we see the world today. In Eye of the Beholder, Laura J. Snyder transports us to the streets, inns, and guildhalls of seventeenth-century Holland, where artists and scientists gathered, and to their studios and laboratories, where they mixed paints and prepared canvases, ground and polished lenses, examined and dissected insects and other animals, and invented the modern notion of seeing. With charm and narrative flair, Snyder brings Vermeer and Van Leeuwenhoek—and the men and women around them—vividly to life. The story of these two geniuses and the transformation they engendered shows us why we see the world—and our place within it—as we do today.

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    Eye of the Beholder

    13.6 hrs • 3/16/15 • Unabridged
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  16. 12.1 hrs • 2/3/2015 • Unabridged

    The secret history of our most vital organ—the human heart The Man Who Touched His Own Heart tells the raucous, gory, and mesmerizing story of the heart, from the first “explorers” who dug up cadavers and plumbed their hearts’ chambers, through the first heart surgeries—which had to be completed in three minutes before death arrived—to heart transplants and the latest medical efforts to prolong our hearts’ lives, almost defying nature in the process. Thought of as the seat of our soul, then as a mysteriously animated object, the heart is still more a mystery than it is understood. Why do most animals only get one billion beats? How did modern humans get to over two billion beats—effectively letting us live out two lives? Why are sufferers of gingivitis more likely to have heart attacks? Why do we often undergo expensive procedures when cheaper ones are just as effective? What do Leonardo da Vinci, Mary Shelley, and contemporary Egyptian archaeologists have in common? And what does it really feel like to touch your own heart or to have someone else’s beating inside your chest? Rob Dunn’s fascinating history of our hearts brings us deep inside the science, history, and stories of the four chambers we depend on most.

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    The Man Who Touched His Own Heart

    Read by Robert Fass
    12.1 hrs • 2/3/15 • Unabridged
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