Book cover of Can Fish Count?: What Animals Reveal About Our Uniquely Mathematical Minds by Brian Butterworth
Biological Sciences

Can Fish Count?: What Animals Reveal About Our Uniquely Mathematical Minds

An entertaining investigation of the numerical abilities of animals and our own appetite for arithmetic 

The philosopher Bertrand Russell once observed that realizing that a pair of apples and the passage of two days could somehow both be represented by the concept we call “two” was one of the most astonishing discoveries anyone had ever made. So what do we make of the incredible fact that animals seem to have inherent mathematical abilities? […Learn More]

Book cover of The Second Kind of Impossible: The Extraordinary Quest for a New Form of Matter by Paul Steinhardt
Astronomy & Space Science

The Second Kind of Impossible: The Extraordinary Quest for a New Form of Matter

One of the most fascinating scientific detective stories of the last fifty years, an exciting quest for a new form of matter. “A riveting tale of derring-do” (Nature), this book reads like James Gleick’s Chaos combined with an Indiana Jones adventure.

When leading Princeton physicist Paul Steinhardt began working in the 1980s, scientists thought they knew all the conceivable forms of matter.  […Learn More]

Book cover of Sailing School: Navigating Science and Skill, 1550-1800 by Margaret E. Schotte
Engineering & Transportation

Sailing School: Navigating Science and Skill, 1550-1800 

Throughout the Age of Exploration, European maritime communities bent on colonial and commercial expansion embraced the complex mechanics of celestial navigation. They developed schools, textbooks, and instruments to teach the new mathematical techniques to sailors. As these experts debated the value of theory and practice, memory and mathematics, they created hybrid models that would have a lasting impact on applied science. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Model Thinker: What You Need to Know to Make Data Work for You by Scott E. Page
Health and Psychology

The Model Thinker: What You Need to Know to Make Data Work for You

Work with data like a pro using this guide that breaks down how to organize, apply, and most importantly, understand what you are analyzing in order to become a true data ninja.

From the stock market to genomics laboratories, census figures to marketing email blasts, we are awash with data. But as anyone who has ever opened up a spreadsheet packed with seemingly infinite lines of data knows, numbers aren’t enough: we need to know how to make those numbers talk. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Art of More: How Mathematics Created Civilization by Michael Brooks
History

The Art of More: How Mathematics Created Civilization

An illuminating, millennia-spanning history of the impact mathematics has had on the world, and the fascinating people who have mastered its inherent power
 
Counting is not innate to our nature, and without education humans can rarely count past three — beyond that, it’s just “more.” But once harnessed by our ancestors, the power of numbers allowed humanity to flourish in ways that continue to lead to discoveries and enrich our lives today. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Janus Point: A New Theory of Time by Julian Barbour
Astronomy & Space Science

The Janus Point: A New Theory of Time

In a universe filled by chaos and disorder, one physicist makes the radical argument that the growth of order drives the passage of time — and shapes the destiny of the universe. Time is among the universe’s greatest mysteries. Why, when most laws of physics allow for it to flow forward and backward, does it only go forward? Physicists have long appealed to the second law of thermodynamics, held to predict the increase of disorder in the universe, to explain this. […Learn More]

Book cover of The Doomsday Calculation: How an Equation that Predicts the Future Is Transforming Everything We Know About Life and the Universe by William Poundstone
Astronomy & Space Science

The Doomsday Calculation: How an Equation that Predicts the Future Is Transforming Everything We Know About Life and the Universe

From the author of Are You Smart Enough to Work at Google?, a fascinating look at how an equation that foretells the future is transforming everything we know about life, business, and the universe.

In the 18th century, the British minister and mathematician Thomas Bayes devised a theorem that allowed him to assign probabilities to events that had never happened before. It languished in obscurity for centuries until computers came along and made it easy to crunch the numbers. Now, as the foundation of big data, Bayes’ formula has become a linchpin of the digital economy.
[…Learn More]

Book cover of Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms by Hannah Fry
Artificial Intelligence & Robotics

Hello World: Being Human in the Age of Algorithms

A look inside the algorithms that are shaping our lives and the dilemmas they bring with them.

If you were accused of a crime, who would you rather decide your sentence―a mathematically consistent algorithm incapable of empathy or a compassionate human judge prone to bias and error? What if you want to buy a driverless car and must choose between one programmed to save as many lives as possible and another that prioritizes the lives of its own passengers? And would you agree to share your family’s full medical history if you were told that it would help researchers find a cure for cancer? […Learn More]

Book cover of Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control by Stuart Russell
Artificial Intelligence & Robotics

Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control

A leading artificial intelligence researcher lays out a new approach to AI that will enable us to coexist successfully with increasingly intelligent machines

In the popular imagination, superhuman artificial intelligence is an approaching tidal wave that threatens not just jobs and human relationships, but civilization itself. Conflict between humans and machines is seen as inevitable and its outcome all too predictable. […Learn More]