Light

A Very Short Introduction

Author: Ian A. Walmsley

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0199682690

Category: Science

Page: 152

View: 1879

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Light enables us to see the world around us. Our sense of sight provides us with direct information about space and time, the physical arrangement of the world, and how it changes. This almost universal shared sensation of vision has led to a fascination with the nature and properties of light across the ages. But the light we see is just a small part of the whole spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, ranging from radio waves to gamma rays. In this Very Short Introduction Ian Walmsley discusses early attempts to explain light, and the development of apparently opposing particulate and wave theories by scientists such as Isaac Newton and Christiaan Huygens. He shows how light was recognized as an electromagnetic wave in the 19th century, and the development of the quantum mechanics view of wave-particle duality in the 20th century. He also describes the many applications of light, domestic and scientific, such as microwaves, DVDs, and lasers. We now use the whole range of electromagnetic radiation to peer both into the human body and deep into space. Turning to the future of optics, Walmsley concludes by looking at some of the most exciting new developments using quantum light sources in communications and computing. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Microscopy

A Very Short Introduction

Author: Terence Allen

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0198701268

Category: Science

Page: 144

View: 1798

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Using light, electrons, or X-rays, microscopes today form a vital tool not only in biology but in many other disciplines, including materials science and nanotechnology. In this Very Short Introduction Terence Allen describes the scientific principles behind the main forms of microscopy, and the exciting new developments in the field. Beginning with a brief history of microscopy, Allen surveys the diverse and powerful forms of microscopes available today, illustrating how microscopy impinges on almost every aspect of our daily lives.

Martyrdom: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Jolyon Mitchell

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191642452

Category: Religion

Page: 160

View: 5545

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Martyrdom is not only a sharply contested term and act, but it has a long history of provoking controversy. One person's 'martyr' is another's 'terrorist', and one person's 'martyrdom operation' is another's 'suicide bombing'. Suicide attacks have made recurring questions about martyrdom more pertinent to current discussions. What is martyrdom? Why are some people drawn towards giving up their lives as martyrs? What place does religion play in inciting and creating martyrs? How are martyrs made? Why are some martyrs and martyrdoms remembered more than others? How helpful is the distinction between active and passive martyrdoms? In order both to answer such questions and to understand the contemporary debates about martyrdom, it is helpful to consider its diverse roots. In this Very Short Introduction, Jolyon Mitchell provides a historical analysis to shed light on how the concept and practice of martyrdom has evolved, as well as the different ways in which it is used today. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Relativity: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Russell Stannard

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 9780191574047

Category: Mathematics

Page: 128

View: 4457

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100 years ago, Einstein's theory of relativity shattered the world of physics. Our comforting Newtonian ideas of space and time were replaced by bizarre and counterintuitive conclusions: if you move at high speed, time slows down, space squashes up and you get heavier; travel fast enough and you could weigh as much as a jumbo jet, be squashed thinner than a CD without feeling a thing - and live for ever. And that was just the Special Theory. With the General Theory came even stranger ideas of curved space-time, and changed our understanding of gravity and the cosmos. This authoritative and entertaining Very Short Introduction makes the theory of relativity accessible and understandable. Using very little mathematics, Russell Stannard explains the important concepts of relativity, from E=mc2 to black holes, and explores the theory's impact on science and on our understanding of the universe. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Computer Science: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Subrata Dasgupta

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0191053201

Category: Computers

Page: 144

View: 2150

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Over the past sixty years, the spectacular growth of the technologies associated with the computer is visible for all to see and experience. Yet, the science underpinning this technology is less visible and little understood outside the professional computer science community. As a scientific discipline, computer science stands alongside the likes of molecular biology and cognitive science as one of the most significant new sciences of the post Second World War era. In this Very Short Introduction, Subrata Dasgupta sheds light on these lesser known areas and considers the conceptual basis of computer science. Discussing algorithms, programming, and sequential and parallel processing, he considers emerging modern ideas such as biological computing and cognitive modelling, challenging the idea of computer science as a science of the artificial. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The Elements: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Philip Ball

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191578258

Category: Science

Page: 192

View: 9334

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This Very Short Introduction traces the history and cultural impact of the elements on humankind, and examines why people have long sought to identify the substances around them. Looking beyond the Periodic Table, the author examines our relationship with matter, from the uncomplicated vision of the Greek philosophers, who believed there were four elements - earth, air, fire, and water - to the work of modern-day scientists in creating elements such as hassium and meitnerium. Packed with anecdotes, The Elements is a highly engaging and entertaining exploration of the fundamental question: what is the world made from? ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Waves: a Very Short Introduction

Author: Mike Goldsmith

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0198803788

Category: Science

Page: 160

View: 6473

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We live in a world of waves. The Earth shakes to its foundations, the seas and oceans tremble incessantly, sounds reverberate through land, sea, and air. Beneath the skin, our brains and bodies are awash with waves of their own, and the Universe is filled by a vast spectrum of electromagnetic radiation, of which visible light is the narrowest sliver. Casting the net even wider, there are mechanical waves, quantum wave phenomena, and the now clearly detected gravitational waves. Look closer and deeper and more kinds of waves appear, down to the most fundamental level of reality. This Very Short Introduction looks at all the main kinds of wave, their sources, effects, and uses. Mike Goldsmith discusses how wave motion results in a range of phenomena, from reflection, diffraction, interference, and polarization in the case of light waves to beats and echoes for sound. All waves, however different, share many of the same features, and, as Goldsmith shows, for all their complexities many of their behaviours are fundamentally simple. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Circadian Rhythms

A Very Short Introduction

Author: Russell Foster,Leon Kreitzman

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198717687

Category: Science

Page: 144

View: 5843

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The earth's daily rotation affects just about every living creature. From dawn through to dusk, there are changes in light, temperature, humidity, and rainfall. However, these changes are regular, rhythmic and, therefore, predictable. Thus, the near 24 hour circadian rhythm is innate: a genetically programmed clock that essentially ticks of its own accord. This Very Short Introduction explains how organisms can -know- the time and reveals what we now understand of the nature and operation of chronobiological processes. Covering variables such as light, the metabolism, human health, and the seasons, Foster and Kreitzman illustrate how jet lag and shift work can impact on human well-being, and consider circadian rhythms alongside a wide range of disorders, from schizophrenia to obesity. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Photography: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Steve Edwards

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191577561

Category: Photography

Page: 176

View: 877

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Photographs are an integral part of our daily lives from sensationalist images in tabloid papers and snapshots, to art photograpy displayed in galleries and sold through international art markets. In this thought-provoking exploration of the subject, Edwards combines a sense of the historical development of photography with an analysis of its purpose and meaning within a wider cultural context. He interrogates the way we look and think about photographs, and considers such issues as truth and recording, objectivity and fine art, identity and memory. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Statistics: A Very Short Introduction

Author: David J. Hand

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191578924

Category: Mathematics

Page: 136

View: 5523

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Modern statistics is very different from the dry and dusty discipline of the popular imagination. In its place is an exciting subject which uses deep theory and powerful software tools to shed light and enable understanding. And it sheds this light on all aspects of our lives, enabling astronomers to explore the origins of the universe, archaeologists to investigate ancient civilisations, governments to understand how to benefit and improve society, and businesses to learn how best to provide goods and services. Aimed at readers with no prior mathematical knowledge, this Very Short Introduction explores and explains how statistics work, and how we can decipher them. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Nothing: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Frank Close

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191574643

Category: Philosophy

Page: 176

View: 1202

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What is 'nothing'? What remains when you take all the matter away? Can empty space - a void - exist? This Very Short Introduction explores the science and the history of the elusive void: from Aristotle who insisted that the vacuum was impossible, via the theories of Newton and Einstein, to our very latest discoveries and why they can tell us extraordinary things about the cosmos. Frank Close tells the story of how scientists have explored the elusive void, and the rich discoveries that they have made there. He takes the reader on a lively and accessible history through ancient ideas and cultural superstitions to the frontiers of current research. He describes how scientists discovered that the vacuum is filled with fields; how Newton, Mach, and Einstein grappled with the nature of space and time; and how the mysterious 'aether' that was long ago supposed to permeate the void may now be making a comeback with the latest research into the 'Higgs field'. We now know that the vacuum is far from being empty - it seethes with virtual particles and antiparticles that erupt spontaneously into being, and it also may contain hidden dimensions that we were previously unaware of. These new discoveries may provide answers to some of cosmology's most fundamental questions: what lies outside the universe, and, if there was once nothing, then how did the universe begin? ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Diaspora: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Kevin Kenny

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199858608

Category: History

Page: 240

View: 885

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What does diaspora mean? Until quite recently, the word had a specific and restricted meaning, referring principally to the dispersal and exile of the Jews. But since the 1960s, the term diaspora has proliferated to a remarkable extent, to the point where it is now applied to migrants of almost every kind. This Very Short Introduction explains where the concept of diaspora came from, how its meaning changed over time, why its usage has expanded so dramatically in recent years, and how it can both clarify and distort the nature of migration. Kevin Kenny highlights the strength of diaspora as a mode of explanation, focusing on three key elements--movement, connectivity, and return--and illustrating his argument with examples drawn from Jewish, Armenian, African, Irish, and Asian diasporas. He shows that diaspora is not simply a synonym for the movement of people. Its explanatory power is greatest when people believe that their departure was forced rather than voluntary. Thus diaspora would not really explain most of the Irish migration to America, but it does shed light on the migration compelled by the Great Famine. Kenny also describes how migrants and their descendants develop diasporic cultures abroad--regardless of the form their migration takes--based on their connections with a homeland, real or imagined, and with people of common origin in other parts of the world. Finally, most conceptions of diaspora feature the dream of a return to a homeland, even when this yearning does not involve an actual physical relocation. About the Series: Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.

Stars: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Andrew King

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191633844

Category: Science

Page: 136

View: 1527

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Every atom of our bodies has been part of a star. Our very own star, the Sun, is crucial to the development and sustainability of life on Earth. This Very Short Introduction presents a modern, authoritative examination of how stars live, producing all the chemical elements beyond helium, and how they die, sometimes spectacularly, to end as remnants such as black holes. Andrew King shows how understanding the stars is key to understanding the galaxies they inhabit, and thus the history of our entire Universe, as well as the existence of planets like our own. King presents a fascinating exploration of the science of stars, from the mechanisms that allow stars to form and the processes that allow them to shine, as well as the results of their inevitable death. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Citizenship: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Richard Bellamy

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192802534

Category: Political Science

Page: 133

View: 8335

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Interest in citizenship has never been higher. But what does it mean to be a citizen in a modern, complex community? Richard Bellamy approaches the subject of citizenship from a political perspective and, in clear and accessible language, addresses the complexities behind this highly topical issue.

Newton: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Rob Iliffe

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191579025

Category: Science

Page: 144

View: 4336

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This Very Short Introduction uses Newton's own unpublished writings to provide fascinating insight into the man who kept the Royal Society under his thumb, was Head of the Mint, and whose contributions to our understanding of the heavens and the earth are considered by many to be unparalleled. The author begins with the legends surrounding Newton before next exploring the forces that shaped his life, introducing, along the way, many of the key thinkers and politicians of the time. Although Newton's science was largely revered (his reputation reached near-immortal status with the publication of the Principia), theologically, his beliefs were very controversial. He was a fanatical Protestant, and claimed that tribes like the Goths, Vandals, and Huns had tried to save the planet from the corruption of the Catholics. He was also convinced that he was specially chosen by God to protect the original, pure form of Christianity, and viewed any criticisms directed at him as a form of persecution. Resisting the urge to show how Newton's views on alchemy, mathematics, physics, and religion complemented one another, the author instead emphasises that these were the very different obsessions of an extremely complex man whose beliefs at the time dominated England's political, religious, and intellectual landscape. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Law: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Raymond Wacks

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191579572

Category: Law

Page: 192

View: 9446

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Law underlies our society - it protects our rights, imposes duties on each of us, and establishes a framework for the conduct of almost every social, political, and economic activity. The punishment of crime, compensation of the injured, and the enforcement of contracts are merely some of the tasks of a modern legal system. It also strives to achieve justice, promote freedom, and protect our security. The result is a system that, while it touches all of our daily lives, is properly understood by only a few, with its impenetrable jargon, obsolete procedures, and interminable stream of Byzantine statutes and judgments of the courts. This clear, jargon-free Very Short Introduction aims to redress that balance, as it introduces the essentials of law and legal systems in a lively, accessible, and stimulating manner. Explaining the main concepts, terms, and processes of the legal system, it focuses on the Western tradition (the common law and the civil law), but also includes discussions of other legal systems, such as customary law and Islamic law. And it looks to the future too, as globalization and rapid advances in technology place increasing strain on our current legal system. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Freud

Author: Anthony Storr

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9783926642349

Category:

Page: 160

View: 1828

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Galaxies: A Very Short Introduction

Author: John Gribbin

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199234345

Category: Science

Page: 121

View: 6264

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Galaxies are the building blocks of the Universe: standing like islands in space, they are where the stars are born and where extraordinary phenomena can be observed. Many exciting discoveries have been made: how a supermassive black hole lurks at the centre of every galaxy, how enormous forces are released when galaxies collide, and what the formation of young galaxies can tell us about the mysteries of Cold Dark Matter. In this Very Short Introduction, renowned science writer John Gribbin describes the extraordinary things that astronomers are learning about galaxies, and explains how this can shed light on the origins and structure of the Universe.