Subjects

54 results found - page 1 of 6

    • 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.

    • Stefano Bertacchi   

      Little Geniuses

      Discovering Microorganisms

      An enthralling journey into the microcosm, where cells are capable of waging war on each other, but at the same time also of working with much larger living beings, such as man.

      From the bottom of the ocean to inside the mouth, there are many places inhabited by living beings invisible to our eyes and yet crucial for life on Earth. Microorganisms are indeed the absolute protagonists of the world around us, having colonised the most unthinkable places, from Antarctica to the clouds.

      This book explores the world’s extraordinary microbial biodiversity presenting bacteria, yeasts and moulds whose sometimes bizarre and almost tongue-twisting scientific names conceal stunning features.

      From the hottest pits to the coffee machine, these little geniuses will amaze you with qualities that scientists have long observed and applied to the most diverse purposes, from detergents to the plastics of tomorrow.

    • Marco Ciardi   

      A brief History of Pseudoscience

      Fake news, pseudoscience and conspiracy in a historical overview that underpins the boundaries between science and the rampant chatter in the public and political debate.

      Newspapers, magazines, radio broadcasts and TV shows have always dedicated plenty of space to topics such as paranormal phenomena, astrological forecasts and contacts with extraterrestrials, without any scientific filters. But how does a pseudoscientific theory gain traction? What are its arguments and how are they structured?

      The book is the first of its kind and features a chronological path from Galileo Galilei to the present day, reconstructing the recurrent mechanisms of pseudoscience through the biographies of the characters who contributed to the development of certain ideas, from the myth of Atlantis to homeopathy and to racism.

    • Giorgio Chinnici   

      Democritus’ Dream

      The Atom from Antiquity to Quantum Mechanics

      The development of science throughout the history of mankind, on a quest to discover what the world is made of.

      The book moves from the reflections of the ancients to the great intellectual adventure in search of the atom, all the way to the modern description of how matter is made, how it interacts and the laws that govern it.

      We go from Democritus’ atomism to that of the 19th century with the discovery of the electron and the atomic nucleus, all the way to the revolution brought in by quantum mechanics that would eventually lead to quantum field theory and the discovery of antimatter. It is a journey interwoven with scientific and philosophical themes through the juxtaposition between vacuum and matter, continuous and discrete, part and whole, wave and particle, chance and necessity.

    • Laura Paganini   

      The Cosmos

      Life and Times of the Universe

      The Universe described like a living being, through analogies between human life and the evolution of the cosmic structures.

      The metaphor of life is the common thread that runs throughout the book. The evolution of the cosmos, beginning with the larger magnitudes and then shifting down to galaxies, stars and planetary systems, is explained through numerous parallels with the phases of life and with examples taken from our daily lives.

      The journey reaches its pinnacle with humankind, showing how the atoms we are made of come from the stars and how our way of life can have a significant impact on our planet.

    • Domenico D’alelio   

      The Micro-Jungle of the Sea

      Plankton's Wonders, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Global Ocean

      Millions of life forms in a single drop of seawater: it is the micro-jungle called plankton, the invisible sap of Planet Earth.

      Having revealed themselves to the first humans as a night light shining on the water’s surface, planktonic organisms are the basis of marine ecosystems, producing oxygen and feeding the smallest fish.

      Beginning with the Gulf of Naples, the author gives us a multidimensional presentation of plankton: first on a small scale, detailing the massive biodiversity of alien-shaped, singularly behaved microbial plants and animals, all the way to a global scale, tracing the network that links chemical elements and aquatic photosynthesis, fish and plastics, the origin of life and climate change, science and society. The book’s foreword is by Telmo Pievani.

    • Francesco Nazzi   

      Bees: from Simple to Complex

      Journey from the Hive to the Ecosystem

      Discover the secrets behind the altruism of worker bees and how they build such perfectly shaped cells; learn about their many enemies and what can be done to protect the species.

      Bees have been in the public eye for quite a few years now, not only because of their vital contribution to natural ecosystems and agricultural production but first and foremost because of the serious problems afflicting them and decimating their populations.

      The book provides insights into what is happening as it takes us on a journey through the different levels of bees’ biological organisation: individual bees, colonies and their ecosystem.