What We Are Reading Today: Encounters with Euclid: How an Ancient Greek Geometry Text Shaped the World

What We Are Reading Today: Encounters with Euclid: How an Ancient Greek Geometry Text Shaped the World
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Updated 07 July 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Encounters with Euclid: How an Ancient Greek Geometry Text Shaped the World

What We Are Reading Today: Encounters with Euclid: How an Ancient Greek Geometry Text Shaped the World

Edited by Benjamin Wardhaugh

Euclid’s Elements of Geometry is one of the fountainheads of mathematics — and of culture. Written around 300 BCE, it has traveled widely across the centuries, generating countless new ideas and inspiring such figures as Isaac Newton, Bertrand Russell, Abraham Lincoln, and Albert Einstein. Encounters with Euclid tells the story of this incomparable mathematical masterpiece, taking readers from its origins in the ancient world to its continuing influence today.

In this lively and informative book, Benjamin Wardhaugh explains how Euclid’s text journeyed from antiquity to the Renaissance, introducing some of the many readers, copyists, and editors who left their mark on the Elements before handing it on. He shows how some read the book as a work of philosophy, while others viewed it as a practical guide to life. He examines the many different contexts in which Euclid’s book and his geometry were put to use.

, from the Neoplatonic school at Athens and the artisans’ studios of medieval Baghdad to the Jesuit mission in China and the workshops of Restoration London. Wardhaugh shows how the Elements inspired ideas in theology, art, and music, and how the book has acquired new relevance to the strange geometries of dark matter and curved space.


What We Are Reading Today: An Impeccable Spy

What We Are Reading Today: An Impeccable Spy
Updated 05 December 2021

What We Are Reading Today: An Impeccable Spy

What We Are Reading Today: An Impeccable Spy

Author: Owen Matthews

The thrilling true story of Richard Sorge — the man John le Carré called “the spy to end spies,” and whose actions turned the tide of WWII.
Sorge was a man with two homelands. Born of a German father and a Russian mother in Baku in 1895, he moved in a world of shifting alliances and infinite possibility. A member of the angry and deluded generation, Sorge became a fanatical communist and the Soviet Union’s most formidable spy.
Never before has Sorge’s story been told from the Russian side as well as the German and Japanese. Owen Matthews takes a sweeping historical perspective and draws on a wealth of declassified Soviet archives — along with testimonies from those who knew and worked with Sorge — ​to rescue the riveting story of the man described by Ian Fleming as “the most formidable spy in history,” according to a review on goodreads.com.

 


What We Are Reading Today: The Government of Emergency

What We Are Reading Today: The Government of Emergency
Updated 04 December 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Government of Emergency

What We Are Reading Today: The Government of Emergency

Authors: Stephen J. Collier & Andrew Lakoff

From pandemic disease, to the disasters associated with global warming, to cyberattacks, today we face an increasing array of catastrophic threats. It is striking that, despite the diversity of these threats, experts and officials approach them in common terms — as future events that threaten to disrupt the vital, vulnerable systems upon which modern life depends.
The Government of Emergency tells the story of how this now taken-for-granted way of understanding and managing emergencies arose. Amid the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War, an array of experts and officials working in obscure government offices developed a new understanding of the nation as a complex of vital, vulnerable systems. They invented technical and administrative devices to mitigate the nation’s vulnerability, and organized a distinctive form of emergency government that would make it possible to prepare for and manage potentially catastrophic events.


What We Are Reading Today: Dinopedia by Darren Naish

What We Are Reading Today: Dinopedia by Darren Naish
Updated 03 December 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Dinopedia by Darren Naish

What We Are Reading Today: Dinopedia by Darren Naish

Dinopedia is an illustrated, pocket-friendly encyclopedia of all things dinosaurian. Featuring dozens of entries on topics ranging from hadrosaur nesting colonies to modern fossil hunters and paleontologists such as Halszka Osmólska and Paul Sereno, this amazing A–Z compendium is brimming with facts about these thrilling, complex, and sophisticated animals.

Almost everything we know about dinosaurs has changed in recent decades. A scientific revolution, kick-started in the late 1960s by astounding new discoveries and a succession of new ideas, has shown that these magnificent creatures were marvels of evolution that surpassed modern reptiles and mammals in size, athletic abilities, and more.

Darren Naish sheds invaluable light on our current, fast-changing understanding of dinosaur diversity and evolutionary history, and discusses the cultural impacts of dinosaurs through books, magazines, and movies.


What We Are Reading Today: Managing Medical Authority by Daniel A. Menchik

What We Are Reading Today: Managing Medical Authority by Daniel A. Menchik
Updated 02 December 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Managing Medical Authority by Daniel A. Menchik

What We Are Reading Today: Managing Medical Authority by Daniel A. Menchik

Exploring how the authority of medicine is controlled, negotiated, and organized, Managing Medical Authority asks: How is knowledge shared throughout the profession? Who makes decisions when your heart malfunctions—physicians, hospital administrators, or private companies who sell pacemakers? How do physicians gain and keep their influence? Arguing that medicine’s authority is managed in collegial competition across venues, Daniel Menchik examines the full range of stakeholders driving the direction of the field: Medical trainees, clinicians, researchers, administrators, and even the corporations that develop groundbreaking technologies enabling longer and better lives.


What We Are Reading Today: Moving Up without Losing Your Way by Jennifer M. Morton

What We Are Reading Today: Moving Up without Losing Your Way by Jennifer M. Morton
Updated 01 December 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Moving Up without Losing Your Way by Jennifer M. Morton

What We Are Reading Today: Moving Up without Losing Your Way by Jennifer M. Morton

Upward mobility through higher education has been an article of faith for generations of working-class, low-income, and immigrant college students. While this path usually entails financial sacrifices and hard work, little attention has been paid to the personal compromises such students make as they enter worlds vastly different from their own.
Measuring the true cost of higher education for those from disadvantaged backgrounds, Moving Up without Losing Your Way looks at the ethical dilemmas of upward mobility—the broken ties with family and friends, and the loss of community and identity—faced by students as they strive to earn a successful place in society. Drawing upon philosophy, social science, personal stories, and interviews, Jennifer Morton reframes the college experience.