Gravity's Engines: How Bubble -Blowing Black Holes Rule Galaxies, Stars, and Life in the Cosmos
Drawing from recent research, astrophysicist Caleb Scharf reveals that black holes don’t just vacuum up everything that comes near them; they also spit out huge beams and clouds of matter. Black holes blow bubbles. Scharf explains how these bubbles profoundly rearrange the cosmos around them. Engaging with our deepest questions about the universe, he takes us on an intimate journey through the endlessly colorful place we call our galaxy and reminds us that the Milky Way sits in a special place in the cosmic zoo—a “sweet spot” of properties. Is it coincidental that we find ourselves here at this place and time? Could there be a deeper connection between the nature of black holes and their role in the universe and the phenomenon of life? We are, after all, made of the stuff of stars.
Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life
In 2010, scientists led by J. Craig Venter became the first to successfully create “synthetic life”—putting humankind at the threshold of the most important and exciting phase of biological research, one that will enable us to actually write the genetic code for designing new species to help us adapt and evolve for long-term survival. In Life at the Speed of Light, Venter presents a fascinating and authoritative study of this emerging field from the inside—detailing its origins, current challenges and controversies, and projected effects on our lives. This scientific frontier provides an opportunity to ponder anew the age-old question “What is life?” and examine what we really mean by “playing God.” Life at the Speed of Light is a landmark work, written by a visionary at the dawn of a new era of biological engineering.
Neutrino Hunters: The Thrilling Chase for a Ghostly Particle to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe
In Neutrino Hunters, the renowned astrophysicist and award-winning writer Ray Jayawardhana takes us on a thrilling journey into the shadowy world of neutrinos and the colorful lives of those who seek them. Demystifying particle science along the way, Jayawardhana tells a detective story with cosmic implications—interweaving tales of theorist Wolfgang Pauli; the troubled genius Ettore Majorana; the harbinger of the atomic age Enrico Fermi; and the dynamic dream team of Marie and Pierre Curie. Then there are the scientists of today who have caught the neutrino bug, and whose experimental investigations stretch from a working nickel mine in Ontario to a long tunnel through a mountain in central Italy, from a nuclear waste site in New Mexico to a bay on the South China Sea, and from Olympic-size pools deep underground to a gigantic cube of Antarctic ice—called, naturally, IceCube. As Jayawardhana recounts a captivating saga of scientific discovery and celebrates a glorious human quest, he reveals why the next decade of neutrino hunting will redefine how we think about physics, cosmology, and our lives on Earth.
A Very Short Tour of the Mind: 21 Short Walks Around the Human Brain
The human mind is arguably the most complex organ in the universe. Modern computers might be faster, and whales might have larger brains, but neither can match the sheer intellect or capacity for creativity that we humans enjoy. In this gem of a book, Corballis introduces us to what we've learned about the intricacies of the human brain over the last fifty years. Leading us through behavioral experiments and neuroscience, cognitive theory and Darwinian evolution with his trademark wit and wisdom, Corballis punctures a few hot-air balloons; "Unleash the creativity of your right brain!") and explains just what we know--and don't know--about our own minds.


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