Tag Archives: physics

Benedict Cumberbatch reads a Physics Book

cumberbatch

Carlo Rovelli THE ORDER of TIME is read by Benedict Cumberbatch. Order HERE.

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Ripples in Spacetime Explained

LigoA new book Ripples in Spacetime is an engaging account of the international effort to complete Einstein’s project, capture his elusive ripples, and launch an era of gravitational-wave astronomy that promises to explain, more vividly than ever before, our universe’s structure and origin. The quest for gravitational waves involved years of risky research and many personal and professional struggles that threatened to derail one of the world’s largest scientific endeavors. Govert Schilling takes listeners to sites where these stories unfolded-including Japan’s KAGRA detector, Chile’s Atacama Cosmology Telescope, the South Pole’s BICEP detectors, and the United States’ LIGO labs. He explains the seeming impossibility of developing technologies sensitive enough to detect waves from two colliding black holes in the very distant universe, and describes the astounding precision of the LIGO detectors. Along the way Schilling clarifies concepts such as general relativity, neutron stars, and the big bang using language that listeners with little scientific background can grasp. Govert Schilling (1956) is an internationally acclaimed astronomy writer in the Netherlands. He is a contributing editor of Sky & Telescope, and his articles have appeared in Science, New Scientist and BBC Sky at Night Magazine. He wrote over fifty books (in Dutch) on a wide variety of astronomical topics, some of which have been translated into English, including Evolving Cosmos, Flash! The Hunt for the Biggest Explosions in the Universe, The Hunt for Planet X, and Atlas of Astronomical Discoveries. In 2007, the International Astronomical Union named asteroid (10986) Govert after him.

The Gunning of America

The Gunning of AmericaAmericans have always loved guns. This special bond was forged during the American Revolution and sanctified by the Second Amendment. It is because of this exceptional relationship that American civilians are more heavily armed than the citizens of any other nation. Or so we’re told. In The Gunning of America, historian Pamela Haag overturns this conventional wisdom. American gun culture, she argues, developed not because the gun was exceptional but precisely because it was not: guns proliferated in America because throughout most of the nation’s history they were perceived as an unexceptional commodity, no different than buttons or typewriters. Focusing on the history of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, one of the most iconic arms manufacturers in America, Haag challenges many basic assumptions of how and when America became a gun culture. Under the leadership of Oliver Winchester and his heirs, the company used aggressive, sometimes ingenious, sales and marketing techniques to create new markets for their product. Guns have never “sold themselves”; rather, through advertising and innovative distribution campaigns, the gun industry did. Through the meticulous examination of gun-industry archives, Haag challenges the myth of a primal bond between Americans and their firearms. Over the course of its 150-year history, the Winchester Repeating Arms Company sold over eight million guns. But Oliver Winchester—a shirtmaker in his previous career—had no apparent qualms about a life spent arming America. His daughter-in-law Sarah Winchester was a different story. Legend holds that Sarah was haunted by what she considered a vast blood fortune, and became convinced that the ghosts of rifle victims were haunting her. In this provocative and deeply researched work of narrative history, Haag fundamentally revises the history of arms in America and, in so doing, explodes the clichés that have created and sustained our lethal gun culture.

The Seven Lessons of Physics