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The answer is less than two ounces. Krauss, Case Western Reserve University.


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James Watson's frank, and often frankly rude, account of his role in discovering the structure of DNA infuriated nearly everyone whose name appeared in it, but it nonetheless ranks as a first-rate piece of science writing. The Double Helix takes us inside a pell-mell race whose winners were almost guaranteed fame and a Nobel Prize.

Her X-ray crystallography images showed the molecule to be a helix, crucial data that Watson and his collaborator Francis Crick "borrowed" to construct their DNA model. Franklin died of ovarian cancer in , losing out on the Nobel Prize for the discovery. Perhaps to atone, Watson noted her key contribution in the epilogue to his book.

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Long a classic among biologists, this volume describes, from the perspective of a Nobel Prize—winning physicist, how living organisms differ from inanimate objects like crystals. At a time when NASA was reeling from the end of the Apollo program, Sagan reacquainted both the public and his colleagues with the majesty of the universe, starting with the oft-overlooked worlds of our own solar system. He also championed the search for extraterrestrial life and argued for the likelihood of planets around other stars two decades before they were discovered.

The TV series Cosmos brought Sagan to the masses, but the adventure began here.

The patriarch of modern evolutionary biology explores the lives of everyone's favorite creepy crawlies—ants, termites, bees, and wasps—in this page treatise unmatched in scope and detail by any other work on the topic with the possible exception of his own volume, The Ants.

It also lays the groundwork for his classic, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, which explores the then-controversial idea that the social behavior of animals, including humans, has a deep biological basis. The book is a labor of love, infused with the author's boundless fascination for his tiny subjects.


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Wilson openly acknowledges the quirkiness of his obsession; the dedication reads, "For my wife Irene, who understands. When Weinberg was a student, "the study of the early universe was widely regarded as not the sort of thing to which a respectable scientist would devote his time. A afterword discusses more recent advances. Amazingly, only the description of the first fraction of a second of cosmic history has changed significantly. When Silent Spring was first published, a chorus of critics called Carson "hysterical" and "extremist.

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Carson argues that DDT not only indiscriminately kills insects, including beneficial species like bees, but also accumulates in the fat of birds and mammals high on the food chain, thinning eggshells and causing reproductive problems. Her chilling vision of a birdless America is still haunting. In this witty critique of bad science, Harvard scholar Stephen Jay Gould sets out to eviscerate the notion of biological determinism.

For hundreds of years, Gould argues, questionable measurements of human intelligence, like skull size or IQ, have been used to justify racism, sexism, and class stratification. According to Gould, even respected sociologists and psychologists have used falsified or shaky data to support the belief that Westerners are genetically predisposed to rule the world.

The book drew political and scientific criticism, especially from social scientists furious that Gould had oversimplified or demonized their work. In these profiles of patients with unusual neurological disorders, Sacks revolutionizes the centuries-old literary tradition of presenting clinical case studies.

Far from dryly reporting each case, the eminent British-born New York City neurologist writes in lively prose with the gentle affection of a country doctor on house call and a contagious sense of wonder.

To him, the man with Tourette's syndrome and the woman who cannot sense her own body position are the heroes of the stories. Legions of neuroscientists now probing the mysteries of the human brain cite this book as their greatest inspiration. One of history's most famous tales of exploration began on May 14, , when William Clark and his Corps of Discovery set off from the mouth of the Missouri River, beginning an epic month journey west to the shores of the Pacific Ocean.

Meriwether Lewis joined the group two days later. The Journals , a meticulous chronicle of their expedition, offer an unprecedented glimpse at unexplored, undeveloped America west of the Mississippi. Lewis, the group's naturalist and astronomer, and Clark, the surveyor, documented new species of wildlife coyotes, jackrabbits, mule deer, and others , unfamiliar geology, and interactions with native peoples. A complete copy of the Journals and their companion material is heavy reading the definitive Nebraska edition has 13 volumes , but an abridged version captures all the adventure in a palatably sized package.

Feynman, Robert B. Leighton, and Matthew Sands Not only did physicist Richard Feynman win the Nobel Prize for his work on quantum electrodynamics, he once played bongos for a San Francisco ballet.

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The beloved book Surely You're Joking, Mr. The first 94 lectures cover a wide swath of basic physics, from Newtonian mechanics to electromagnetism, while the final 21 venture into quantum mechanics. Feynman's characteristic humor and peerless explanations elevate these classroom lessons to enduring classics. It helps to know some basic physics to approach his lectures, but he has such a luminous mind and is so good with metaphor that you can grasp a fair amount about what's going on in modern physics without formal understanding of complex math, up to a point.

Kinsey et al. The first of two books known collectively as the Kinsey Report, this treatise became an improbable best seller. To accomplish its prime objective of enhancing our understanding of the Solar System, the unique approach of the Discovery Program is to: increase flight rates contain total mission costs improve performance through the use of new technology broaden university and industry participation, and increase public awareness of solar system exploration.

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