Subjects

59 results found - page 1 of 6

    • Roberto Marangoni   

      I Told You so!

      A Journey through more or less predictable Systems

      This slim book is a reader-friendly overview of the predictability of various systems – physical, biological, economic or weather-related – and explains why it is often simply impossible to expect “certain” scientific forecasts.

      Formulating predictions about how a given phenomenon is going to evolve is something everyone falls for: from top-tier media to pub chat, as soon as an event manifests itself it is engulfed in a deluge of predictions, many of them unfounded.

      Can scientifically grounded predictions really be made, though? Well, it depends on the system we are considering. Indeed, very few systems can be predicted with a high degree of reliability; for the most part, any prediction is necessarily limited to a probabilistic estimate of multiple possible evolutions.

      In addition to the objective difficulties inherent in these systems, there are also subjective unconscious psychological mechanisms that make one a bad predictor. Finally, some systems are unpredictable by their very nature. This is why, very often, simply acknowledging “I don’t know" is the most honest and scientifically grounded answer to the question “What’s going to happen?”.

    • Alfonso Lucifredi   

      Sailor Cats and Soothsayer Octopuses

      Unusual Stories about famous Animals

      These adventure-packed, stunning and sometimes even dramatic stories show us how astounding and underrated the abilities, intelligence and social skills of so many animals we share our earthly existence with are.

      Paul the octopus predicted the outcome of football World Cup matches; Hachikō the dog was the symbol of loyalty to his master; Jumbo the elephant was the undisputed star of the Barnum Circus; Keiko the orca became an international celebrity after starring in the family film Free Willy.

      These and many other stories in Lucifredi’s book remind us that animals have often been veritable stars in human history, society and entertainment, helping us to better understand them and boosting our respect for them.

    • Francesco Adami   

      The Doctor’s Bag

      The history of the tools that changed medicine forever

      This is the fascinating story of ten instruments that changed medicine and our lives forever.

      How did Sherlock Holmes single out a doctor in the crowd? What links an eclectic French professor armed with a strange rifle without bullets, running horses and the measurement of blood pressure? What is the relationship between a Pink Floyd album and the development of the pulse oximeter, or between the Beatles and the invention of the CT scan? How do smart watches directly perform an electrocardiogram from the wearer’s wrist?

      Page after page of historical anecdotes, scientific curiosities, outstanding discoveries and bizarre experiments, we discover the extraordinary journey behind every medical instrument. Art, science and culture merged in the lives of creative and tenacious women and men who revolutionised their ages and laid the foundations of modern medicine.

    • Gianpaolo Bellini    Marco Bersanelli    Enrico Bonatti   

      From Quarks to Galaxies

      A Journey from micro- to macrocosm going through the Earth

      What makes up the matter that surrounds us? How did planet Earth form? How does the Universe evolve? Three academics, a subatomic physicist, an astrophysicist and a geophysicist, face the challenge to explain reality, going from microcosm to macrocosm.

      A book that examines from elementary particles to the stars: to show us that in the structure of matter there is nothing random and that our world is an infinitesimal point in the bottomless spaces of the Universe, among billions of stars. It is all enriched by the latest outcomes of the research project for which Bellini was a Nobel candidate: the Borexino experiment revealed the mystery of the neutrino, explaining why the sun and, in general all stars, shine.

      With a foreword by Roberto Battiston, physicist inducted into the Hall of Fame of the International Astronautic Federation.

    • Bruno Codenotti    Giovanni Resta   

      The Logic of Uncertainty

      Close Encounters with the Paradoxes of Probability

      The calculation of probability can help significantly in the small and big decisions of life, and Cicero had already encouraged to face uncertainty by being guided by examining the probability of events happening.

      In this book, using simple probability tools, the authors show with examples and anecdotes how uncertainty situations can be faced rationally, with logical and mathematical skills.

      Some of the themes examined, for example the birthday paradox and the Monty Hall problem, will show that our intuitive understanding of probabilities is not good at all, especially when estimating how frequently extremely unlikely events will occur.

    • Gianluca Lentini   

      Climate Stories

      From Mesopotamia to the Exoplanets

      How many times has the climate changed in the past five thousand years? The book tells the complex and changing story of climatology, a science of nature as old as human civilisation.

      Ever since the Ice Age, the effects of climate change have affected the development of cultures and civilisations. Our journey begins in Mesopotamia, where special climatic conditions led to the first flourishing civilisations, and goes all the way to the latest research on the climate of planets far from Earth.

      Today, climatology is at the centre of the political and economic debate on global warming: while the climate triggered human development (rising temperatures are what made agriculture possible), now mankind is determining the climate.

    • Paolo Alessandrini   

      A Mathematical Bestiary

      Monsters and freakish Creatures in the Realm of Numbers

      The beauty of mathematics is generally linked to the idea of simplicity, perfection and harmony; but mathematics can also be unsettling, shocking or even monstrous. The aim of this book is to show that many branches of mathematics do indeed reach into the dark side.

      The book is presented as a sort of bestiary, much like its mediaeval namesakes; it takes readers on a journey to discover incredible numerical “creatures”, illustrating their quirks, deformities and unlikely features. Divided into fourteen chapters (each one dedicated to a kind of mathematical creature), the book lays out the never-ending challenges faced by mathematicians over the centuries in their attempt to explain and tame numbers, in a no-holds-barred war that sometimes morphs into a tormented love story or a long tale of magicians and spells made of formulas and theorems.

      The topics have been selectedbased on their degree of “monstrosity” and form a puzzle bound to appeal to novice and experienced readers alike. The author moves from negative numbers to infinity; presents geometries that seem to defy common sense, from Escher's drawings to fractals; and explores disconcerting logical paradoxes. They are all surprising and unexpected mathematical monsters – and this is the real secret to their shocking beauty.

    • Gabriele Ghisellini   

      Fiat Lux

      The Leitmotif of modern Physics

      The history of light – a crucial part of the universe’s life – goes hand in hand with the great discoveries of modern physics, from the first attempts to measure the speed of light itself to relativity and quantum mechanics.

      The book explains the nature of light: its behaviour both as a wave and as a particle; Newton's spectrum of colours; Maxwell's electromagnetic waves; how gravity curves space and thus the trajectories of light rays; the issue of general relativity. The last chapter details the various ways in which light is produced, in a straightforward, reader-friendly manner.

      Through anecdotes, curiosities and examples, the book explores where and how light is produced and goes as far as Hawking radiation, lasers and antimatter.

    • Carlo Soave    Fiorenza De Bernardi    Umberto Fascio   

      Great Changes

      Evolution between Competition and Cooperation

      A wonderful journey into nature's grand designs, illustrated by evolutionary biology – the natural science concerned with describing the history of life on Earth.

      The authors show how every major evolutionary change is driven not only by the Darwinian struggle for life, i.e. competition, but also by another decisive factor, namely cooperation. Genes cooperate with each other in the genome, genomes in cells, cells in tissues, organs in organisms, organisms in populations; interaction generates new responses to environmental needs.

      From the history of life to extinctions and epigenetics, this book presents the pathways of evolution through curious examples of adaptations from the animal and plant kingdoms.

    • Giorgio Balzarotti   

      The Formulae of the Universe

      In Search of a mathematical Model of the Cosmos

      The universe seen from within, according to the laws that govern it, summarised in a few fundamental mathematical formulae.

      Beginning with the elementary model of the cosmos, the book goes through the doubts and ideas of the fathers of contemporary physics and cosmology, in a journey from the microcosm to the macrocosm, from Newton's law of universal gravitation to elementary particles and the expansion of the universe.

      The author addresses these issues of physics from a mathematical point of view, complementing his work with numerical examples and historical references to ideas and discoveries that are still valid, but often neglected.