What We Are Reading Today: SPARK by Timothy J. Jorgensen

What We Are Reading Today: SPARK by Timothy J. Jorgensen
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Updated 17 November 2021

What We Are Reading Today: SPARK by Timothy J. Jorgensen

What We Are Reading Today: SPARK by Timothy J. Jorgensen

When we think of electricity, we likely imagine the energy humming inside our home appliances or lighting up our electronic devices—or perhaps we envision the lightning-streaked clouds of a stormy sky. But electricity is more than an external source of power, heat, or illumination. Life at its essence is nothing if not electrical.

The story of how we came to understand electricity’s essential role in all life is rooted in our observations of its influences on the body—influences governed by the body’s central nervous system. Spark explains the science of electricity from this fresh, biological perspective. Through vivid tales of scientists and individuals—from Benjamin Franklin to Elon Musk—Timothy Jorgensen shows how our views of electricity and the nervous system evolved in tandem, and how progress in one area enabled advancements in the other.


What We Are Reading Today: The Annotated Hodgkin and Huxley

What We Are Reading Today: The Annotated Hodgkin and Huxley
Updated 24 January 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Annotated Hodgkin and Huxley

What We Are Reading Today: The Annotated Hodgkin and Huxley

Authors: Indira M. Raman and David L. Ferster

The origin of everything known about how neurons and muscles generate electrical signals can be traced back to five revolutionary papers, published in the Journal of Physiology in 1952 by Alan Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley.

The principles they revealed remain cornerstones of the discipline, summarized in every introductory neuroscience and physiology course.

Since that era, however, scientific practice, technology, and presentation have changed extensively. It is difficult for the modern reader to appreciate Hodgkin and Huxley’s rigorous scientific thought, elegant experimental design, ingenious analysis, and beautiful writing.

This book provides the first annotated edition of these papers, offering essential background on everything, from terminology, equations, and electronics, to the greater historical and scientific context surrounding the work.

 


What We Are Reading Today: No Property in Man by Sean Wilentz

What We Are Reading Today: No Property in Man by Sean Wilentz
Updated 23 January 2022

What We Are Reading Today: No Property in Man by Sean Wilentz

What We Are Reading Today: No Property in Man by Sean Wilentz

Americans revere the constitution even as they argue fiercely over its original toleration of racial slavery.

Some historians have charged that slaveholders actually enshrined human bondage at the nation’s founding.

Sean Wilentz shares the dismay but sees the constitution and slavery differently. Although the proslavery side won important concessions, he asserts, antislavery impulses also influenced the framers’ work.

“No Property in Man” invites fresh debate about the political and legal struggles over slavery that began during the Revolution and concluded with the Confederacy’s defeat.

It drives straight to the heart of the most contentious and enduring issue in all of American history, according to a review on goodreads.com.


What We Are Reading Today: Lost in the Valley of Death 

What We Are Reading Today: Lost in the Valley of Death 
Updated 23 January 2022

What We Are Reading Today: Lost in the Valley of Death 

What We Are Reading Today: Lost in the Valley of Death 

Author: Harley Rustad

Lost in the Valley of Death is about one man’s search to find himself, in a country where for many Westerners the path to spiritual enlightenment can prove fraught, even treacherous.
“But it is also a story about all of us and the ways, sometimes extreme, we seek fulfillment in life,” said a review on goodreads.com.
Lost in the Valley of Death includes 16 pages of color photographs.
“Expertly investigated and brilliantly written by Canadian magazine editor and writer Harley Rustad, this was without a doubt one of the best works of nonfiction,” said the review.
It is an “utterly fascinating and enthralling mixture of biography, travel memoir, and unsolved mystery,” said the review.
“The writing was really good and engaging. The author presents the story fairly and passionately.”
In August 2016, an experienced American trekker named Justin Alexander Shetler ascended to a high Himalayan lake on a pilgrimage in the Parvati Valley of northern India, never to be heard from again. Rustad tells his story.

 


What We Are Reading Today: The Dynamics of Partially Molten Rock

What We Are Reading Today: The Dynamics of Partially Molten Rock
Updated 22 January 2022

What We Are Reading Today: The Dynamics of Partially Molten Rock

What We Are Reading Today: The Dynamics of Partially Molten Rock

Author: Richard F. Katz

Magma genesis and segregation have shaped Earth since its formation more than 4.5 billion years ago. Now, for the first time, the mathematical theory describing the physics of magmatism is presented in a single volume. The Dynamics of Partially Molten Rock offers a detailed overview that emphasizes the fundamental physical insights gained through an analysis of simplified problems. This textbook brings together such topics as fluid dynamics, rock mechanics, thermodynamics and petrology, geochemical transport, plate tectonics, and numerical modeling. End-of-chapter exercises and solutions as well as online Python notebooks provide material for courses at the advanced undergraduate or graduate level.
This book focuses on the partial melting of Earth’s asthenosphere, but the theory presented is also more broadly relevant to natural systems where partial melting occurs, including ice sheets and the deep crust.

 


What We Are Reading Today: ‘Quiet’

What We Are Reading Today: ‘Quiet’
Updated 22 January 2022

What We Are Reading Today: ‘Quiet’

What We Are Reading Today: ‘Quiet’

Author: Susan Cain

“Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” is a nonfiction book written by American author and lecturer Susan Cain.
The book discusses our attitude as a species towards introversion, and how in underestimating introverted individuals we miss out on the valuable qualities they can offer.
Cain presents us with the Extrovert Ideal, a phrase denoting a social value system that rewards and praises extroverted over introverted tendencies.
The book goes on to highlight the untapped potential of introverts; how by shedding light on these qualities we can utilize the advantage they hold in formulating thoughts and opinions away from social affirmation.
It is bolstered with examples from famous introverted individuals from past and present with great contributions to humankind, such as Rosa Parks, Chopin and Dr. Seuss.
The book has been in The New York Times bestseller list for eight years, and is translated into 40 languages.