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October Sky
Homer H. Hickam
0440235502
Feb 1999
Paperback
·
 
Book Review
Inspired by Werner von Braun and his Cape Canaveral team, 14-year-old Homer Hickam decided in 1957 to build his own rockets. They were his ticket out of Coalwood, West Virginia, a mining town that everyone knew was dying--everyone except Sonny's father, the mine superintendent and a company man so dedicated that his family rarely saw him. Hickam's smart, iconoclastic mother wanted her son to become something more than a miner and, along with a female science teacher, encouraged the efforts of his grandiosely named Big Creek Missile Agency. He grew up to be a NASA engineer and his memoir of the bumpy ride toward a gold medal at the National Science Fair in 1960--an unprecedented honor for a miner's kid--is rich in humor as well as warm sentiment. Hickam vividly evokes a world of close communal ties in which a storekeeper who...


Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog
John Grogan
0060817089
October 2005
Hardcover
·
 
From Publishers Weekly
Labrador retrievers are generally considered even-tempered, calm and reliable;and then there's Marley, the subject of this delightful tribute to one Lab who doesn't fit the mold. Grogan, a columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, and his wife, Jenny, were newly married and living in West Palm Beach when they decided that owning a dog would give them a foretaste of the parenthood they anticipated. Marley was a sweet, affectionate puppy who grew into a lovably naughty, hyperactive dog. With a light touch, the author details how Marley was kicked out of obedience school after humiliating his instructor (whom Grogan calls Miss Dominatrix) and swallowed an 18-karat solid gold necklace (Grogan describes his gross but hilarious "recovery operation"). With the arrival of children in the family, Marley became so incorrigible that Jenny,...


In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind
Eric R. Kandel
0393058638
March 27, 2006
Hardcover
·
 
From Publishers Weekly
When, as a medical student in the 1950s, Kandel said he wanted to locate the ego and id in the brain, his mentor told him he was overreaching, that the brain had to be studied "cell by cell." After his initial dismay, Kandel took on the challenge and in 2000 was awarded a Nobel Prize for his groundbreaking research showing how memory is encoded in the brain's neuronal circuits. Kandel's journey into the brain spans five decades, beginning in the era of early research into the role of electrical currents flowing through neurons and ending in the age of genetic engineering. It took him from early studies of reflexes in the lowly squid to the founding of a bioengineering firm whose work could some day develop treatments for Alzheimer's and on to a rudimentary understanding of the cellular mechanisms underlying...


The Year of Magical Thinking
Joan Didion
140004314X
October 2005
Hardcover
·
 
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Many will greet this taut, clear-eyed memoir of grief as a long-awaited return to the terrain of Didion's venerated, increasingly rare personal essays. The author of Slouching Towards Bethlehem and 11 other works chronicles the year following the death of her husband, fellow writer John Gregory Dunne, from a massive heart attack on December 30, 2003, while the couple's only daughter, Quintana, lay unconscious in a nearby hospital suffering from pneumonia and septic shock. Dunne and Didion had lived and worked side by side for nearly 40 years, and Dunne's death propelled Didion into a state she calls "magical thinking." "We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss," she writes. "We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and...


First Man
James R. Hansen
074325631X
Oct 2005
Hardcover
·
 
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. On July 20, 1969, a quiet, determined man from Wapakoneta, Ohio, stepped out of his fragile spacecraft and into history. Neil Armstrong--engineer, naval aviator, test pilot, astronaut and devoted family man--became the first man to walk on the moon. In this powerful, unrelenting biography of a man of no particularly spectacular talent yet who stands as a living testimony to everyday grit and determination, former NASA historian Hansen has achieved something quite remarkable. Like a rich pointillist painting, he has created a magnificent panorama of the second half of the American 20th century by assembling a multitude of luminescent moments in one man's life. From Armstrong's birth to a middle-class family in Ohio to the mind-boggling fame of the Apollo 11 triumph, and later his service on...


Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Doris Kearns Goodwin
0684824906
October 2005
Hardcover
·
 
Book Review
The life and times of Abraham Lincoln have been analyzed and dissected in countless books. Do we need another Lincoln biography? In Team of Rivals, esteemed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin proves that we do. Though she can't help but cover some familiar territory, her perspective is focused enough to offer fresh insights into Lincoln's leadership style and his deep understanding of human behavior and motivation. Goodwin makes the case for Lincoln's political genius by examining his relationships with three men he selected for his cabinet, all of whom were opponents for the Republican nomination in 1860: William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, and Edward Bates. These men, all accomplished, nationally known, and presidential, originally disdained Lincoln for his backwoods upbringing and lack of experience, and were shocked and humiliated at...


The Jasons : The Secret History of Science's Postwar Elite
Ann Finkbeiner
0670034894
April 6, 2006
Hardcover
·
 
From Publishers Weekly
If necessity is the mother of invention, then the U.S. government's midwife for much of the Cold War was a small, brilliant and fiercely independent cadre of physicists who assembled each summer to make scientific reality out of pie-in-the-sky ideas. Ingenious problem-solvers to a man (they were, for decades, an all-boys club), "the Jasons" (a nickname of uncertain origin; it's either taken from the Greek myth, Jason and the Argonauts, or an acronym for the months of July through November) agreed to help the government-and cash its checks-on the condition that their work be free from political influence; if the Pentagon or White House proposed a project the group found absurd or ethically reprehensive, they would say so in their typically blunt, intellectually arrogant manner. However, the smartest people in the...


Rocket Boys
Homer H. Hickam
0385333218
Jan 2000
Paperback
·
 
Book Review
Inspired by Werner von Braun and his Cape Canaveral team, 14-year-old Homer Hickam decided in 1957 to build his own rockets. They were his ticket out of Coalwood, West Virginia, a mining town that everyone knew was dying--everyone except Sonny's father, the mine superintendent and a company man so dedicated that his family rarely saw him. Hickam's smart, iconoclastic mother wanted her son to become something more than a miner and, along with a female science teacher, encouraged the efforts of his grandiosely named Big Creek Missile Agency. He grew up to be a NASA engineer and his memoir of the bumpy ride toward a gold medal at the National Science Fair in 1960--an unprecedented honor for a miner's kid--is rich in humor as well as warm sentiment. Hickam vividly evokes a world of close communal ties in which a storekeeper who...


American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer
Kai Bird
0375726268
April 2006
Paperback
·
 
Book Review
In American Prometheus, Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin delve deep into J. Robert Oppenheimer's life and deliver a thorough and devastatingly sad biography of the man whose very name has come to represent the culmination of 20th century physics and the irrevocable soiling of science by governments eager to exploit its products. Rich in historical detail and personal narratives, the book paints a picture of Oppenheimer as both a controlling force and victim of the mechanisms of power.

By the time the story reaches Oppenheimer's fateful Manhattan Project work, readers have been swept along much as the project's young physicists were by fate and enormous pressure. The authors allow the scientists to speak for themselves about their reactions to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, avoiding any sort of preacherly tone...



American Prometheus
Kai Bird
0375412026
May 2005
Hardcover
·
 
Book Review
In American Prometheus, Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin delve deep into J. Robert Oppenheimer's life and deliver a thorough and devastatingly sad biography of the man whose very name has come to represent the culmination of 20th century physics and the irrevocable soiling of science by governments eager to exploit its products. Rich in historical detail and personal narratives, the book paints a picture of Oppenheimer as both a controlling force and victim of the mechanisms of power.

By the time the story reaches Oppenheimer's fateful Manhattan Project work, readers have been swept along much as the project's young physicists were by fate and enormous pressure. The authors allow the scientists to speak for themselves about their reactions to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, avoiding any sort of preacherly tone...



My Life as a Quant : Reflections on Physics and Finance
Emanuel Derman
0471394203
September 16, 2004
Hardcover
·
 
Review
“engaging” (CFO Europe, October 2005)

"...tells wonderful stories of trying to bring higher mathematics to the Goldman Sachs equity-derivatives trading desk." (Grant's Interest Rate Observer, Dec. 17, 2004)

Not many Wall Street veterans could write: "Visiting clients in Madrid, I dropped into the Thyssen museum, where I stumbled across several [Arthur] Dove paintings . . . in The Hague, too, after a Euronext options conference, I saw early Mondrian paintings of lilies that were influenced by [Rudolf] Steiner".
There are few "gentlemen bankers" left these days. Nor is there much room in the great financial houses for anything that smacks of the amateur spirit. That is why Emanuel Derman's memoirs are so compelling. As a physicist with a PhD from Columbia University, New York,...



Riding Rockets : The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut
Mike Mullane
0743276825
January 24, 2006
Hardcover
·
 
From Publishers Weekly
With a testosterone-fueled swagger and a keen eye for particulars, Mullane takes readers into the high-intensity, high-stress world of the shuttle astronaut in this rough-hewn yet charming yarn of low-rent antics, bureaucratic insanity and transcendent beauty. Mullane opens this tale face down on a doctor's table awaiting a colorectal exam that will determine his fitness for astronaut training. "I was determined when the NASA proctologist looked up my ass, he would see pipes so dazzling he would ask the nurse to get his sunglasses," he writes, setting the tone for the crude and often hilarious story that follows. Chosen as a trainee in 1978, Mullane, a Vietnam vet, quickly finds himself at odds with the buttoned-up post-Apollo NASA world of scientists, technocrats and civilian astronauts he describes as...


Tesla: Man Out of Time
Margaret Cheney
0880294191
September 1989
Hardcover
·
 
Review
The Sunday Times, London Uncommonly colorful...absorbing. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description
In Tesla: Man Out of Time, Margaret Cheney explores the brilliant and prescient mind of one of the twentieth century's greatest scientists and inventors. Called a madman by his enemies, a genius by others, and an enigma by nearly everyone, Nikola Tesla was, without a doubt, a trailblazing inventor who created astonishing, sometimes world-transforming devices that were virtually without theoretical precedent. Tesla not only discovered the rotating magnetic field -- the basis of most alternating-current machinery -- but also introduced us to the fundamentals of robotics, computers, and missile science. Almost supernaturally gifted, unfailingly flamboyant...


Darkness Visible
William Styron
0679736395
Jan 1990
Paperback
·
 
Book Review
In 1985 William Styron fell victim to a crippling and almost suicidal depression, the same illness that took the lives of Randall Jarrell, Primo Levi and Virginia Woolf. That Styron survived his descent into madness is something of a miracle. That he manages to convey its tortuous progression and his eventual recovery with such candor and precision makes Darkness Visible a rare feat of literature, a book that will arouse a shock of recognition even in those readers who have been spared the suffering it describes.

From Publishers Weekly
A meditation on Styron's ( Sophie's Choice ) serious depression at the age of 60, this essay evokes with detachment and dignity the months-long turmoil whose symptoms included the novelist's "dank joylessness," insomnia, physical aversion to alcohol...


Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time
Dava Sobel
0140258795
October 1, 1996
Paperback
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Amazon.com
The thorniest scientific problem of the eighteenth century was how to determine longitude. Many thousands of lives had been lost at sea over the centuries due to the inability to determine an east-west position. This is the engrossing story of the clockmaker, John "Longitude" Harrison, who solved the problem that Newton and Galileo had failed to conquer, yet claimed only half the promised rich reward. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly
This look at the scientific quest to find a way for ships at sea to determine their longitude was a PW bestseller for eight weeks. Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

See all Editorial Reviews


Obsessive Genius
Barbara Goldsmith
0393327485
Oct 2005
Paperback
·
 
From Publishers Weekly
So enduring is the reputation of Marie Curie that more than 100 years after she won her first Nobel Prize, for physics in 1903 (she won a second, for chemistry, in 1911), Curie (1867–1934) is still regarded by most as the pre-eminent woman scientist of the 20th century. Goldsmith's straightforward biography illuminates both the public Curie, a tireless scientist obsessed with work, and the private one, a woman who suffered bouts of severe depression, was distant from her children and scarred deeply by the accidental death of her scientist husband, Pierre, in 1906. Using long-sealed Curie family archives, Goldsmith offers a well-rounded view of her subject that makes good dramatic use of the considerable intrigue that surrounded Curie's scientific accomplishments and her private life. Goldsmith also reminds...


Hitler's Scientists: Science, War, and the Devil's Pact
John Cornwell
0762876530

Hardcover
·
 


Benjamin Franklin
Walter Isaacson
074325807X
June 2004
Paperback
·
 
Book Review
Benjamin Franklin, writes journalist and biographer Walter Isaacson, was that rare Founding Father who would sooner wink at a passer-by than sit still for a formal portrait. What's more, Isaacson relates in this fluent and entertaining biography, the revolutionary leader represents a political tradition that has been all but forgotten today, one that prizes pragmatism over moralism, religious tolerance over fundamentalist rigidity, and social mobility over class privilege. That broadly democratic sensibility allowed Franklin his contradictions, as Isaacson shows. Though a man of lofty principles, Franklin wasn't shy of using sex to sell the newspapers he edited and published; though far from frivolous, he liked his toys and his mortal pleasures; and though he sometimes gave off a simpleton image, he was a shrewd and even...


'Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!' (Adventures of a Curious Character)
Richard P. Feynman, et al
0393316041
April 1997
Paperback
·
 
Book Review
A series of anecdotes shouldn't by rights add up to an autobiography, but that's just one of the many pieces of received wisdom that Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman (1918-88) cheerfully ignores in his engagingly eccentric book, a bestseller ever since its initial publication in 1985. Fiercely independent (read the chapter entitled "Judging Books by Their Covers"), intolerant of stupidity even when it comes packaged as high intellectualism (check out "Is Electricity Fire?"), unafraid to offend (see "You Just Ask Them?"), Feynman informs by entertaining. It's possible to enjoy Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman simply as a bunch of hilarious yarns with the smart-alecky author as know-it-all hero. At some point, however, attentive readers realize that underneath all the merriment simmers a...


Dear Professor Einstein: Albert Einstein's Letters to and from Children
Alice Calaprice (Editor)
1567316263
August 2003
Hardcover
·
 


Finding Darwin's God: A Scientist's Search For Common Ground Between God and Evolution
Kenneth R. Miller
0060930497
October 2000
Paperback
·
 
From Publishers Weekly
Though he takes a different tack than Wyller (above), Miller tries to draw a straight line between two apparently opposing ideas: the theory of evolution and belief in a creator. In a more humanistic account than Wyller's, Miller, a professor of biology at Brown University, explains the difference between evolution as validated scientific fact and as an evolving theory. He illustrates his contentions with examples from astronomy, geology, physics and molecular biology, confronting the illogic of creationists with persuasive reasons based on the known physical properties of the universe and the demonstrable effects of time on the radioactivity of various elements. Then standing firmly on Darwinian ground, he turns to take on, with equal vigor, his outspoken colleagues in science who espouse a materialistic,...


The Devil's Doctor : Paracelsus and the World of Renaissance Magic and Science
Philip Ball
0374229791
April 18, 2006
Hardcover
·
 
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. If one really wants to understand the contradictions and "intellectual ferment" of the 16th century, says Ball, one should look not at Luther or Copernicus, but at the much-maligned Paracelsus. Born in Switzerland in 1493, Philip Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, aka Paracelsus, is a figure often more imagined than known. Famous as a doctor of alchemic medicine, he has been compared with Faust and developed a reputation as a miracle worker and charlatan that only grew after his death in 1543. Ball, author of the prize-winning Critical Mass, mixes scant biographical detail with a wide-ranging evocation of the Renaissance worldview to create a fascinating portrait of the man, his age and his historical reputation. Forays into ancient, medieval and Islamic medicine, academic rivalries, the...


The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
0743255062
Jan 2004
Paperback
·
 
Book Description
"The first book to belong permanently to literature. It created a man." -- From the IntroductionFew men could compare to Benjamin Franklin. Virtually self-taught, he excelled as an athlete, a man of letters, a printer, a scientist, a wit, an inventor, an editor, and a writer, and he was probably the most successful diplomat in American history. David Hume hailed him as the first great philosopher and great man of letters in the New World.Written initially to guide his son, Franklin's autobiography is a lively, spellbinding account of his unique and eventful life. Stylistically his best work, it has become a classic in world literature, one to inspire and delight readers everywhere.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
IntroductionIn any discussion of...


The Story of Science
Joy Hakim
1588341615
Oct 2005
Hardcover
·
 
From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 7 Up–In this second book in the series, Hakim introduces students to the great scientific minds of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and others. Teachers will find anecdotal information to enliven their lessons; browsers will be fascinated by the sidebars and captioned illustrations that enhance the text or show related information. The detailed index makes finding specific individuals, theories, or inventions easy. In an easy, conversational style, the author speaks directly to readers, opening with, Read this book and you'll know more science than Isaac Newton did. Full-color illustrations, reproductions, or other graphics appear on almost every page. A tremendous amount of research went into this volume and reading it will greatly increase students' understanding of the...


The Compleated Autobiography by Benjamin Franklin (Completed Autobiography)
Mark Skousen
0895260336
November 21, 2005
Hardcover
·
 
Book Description
In honor of the 300th anniversary of Franklin's birth, Mark Skousen has accomplished what the old philosopher was unable to complete: He has finished the autobiography completely in Franklin's own words. The Compleated Autobiography retains Franklin's sophistication, humor, and sense of irony that made the original autobiography a classic.

From the Inside Flap
Franklin—in Franklin’s Own Words Benjamin Franklin’s celebrated Autobiography, published after his death, is one of the greatest autobiographies of all time… but it was incomplete. Franklin ended his life’s story in 1757, when he was only fifty-one. He planned to write more—a lot more, but never did. He lived another thirty-three full, eventful, and dramatic years, some of the most dramatic...


Tesla: Master of Lightning
Margaret Cheney
0760710058
October 1999
Hardcover
·
 


The Beatles: The Biography
Bob Spitz
0316803529
November 2005
Hardcover
·
 
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. With this massive opus, veteran music journalist Spitz (Dylan: A Biography) tells the definitive story of the band that sparked a cultural revolution. Calling on books, articles, radio programs and primary interviews, Spitz follows the band from each member's family origins in working-class Liverpool to the band's agonizing final days. Spitz's unflinching biography reveals that not only did the Beatles pioneer a new era of rock but they also were on the cutting edge of rock star excess, from their 1961 amphetamine-fueled sets in the clubs of Hamburg to their eventual appetites for stronger drugs, including marijuana, LSD, cocaine and, eventually for John Lennon, heroin. Sex was also part of the equation; in 1962, when the band cut its first audition for Sir George Martin, all four members had a venereal...


A Beautiful Mind
Sylvia Nasar
0743224574
Dec 2001
Paperback
·
 
Book Review
Stories of famously eccentric Princetonians abound--such as that of chemist Hubert Alyea, the model for The Absent-Minded Professor, or Ralph Nader, said to have had his own key to the library as an undergraduate. Or the "Phantom of Fine Hall," a figure many students had seen shuffling around the corridors of the math and physics building wearing purple sneakers and writing numerology treatises on the blackboards. The Phantom was John Nash, one of the most brilliant mathematicians of his generation, who had spiraled into schizophrenia in the 1950s. His most important work had been in game theory, which by the 1980s was underpinning a large part of economics. When the Nobel Prize committee began debating a prize for game theory, Nash's name inevitably came up--only to be dismissed, since the prize clearly...

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