Light

A Very Short Introduction

Author: Ian A. Walmsley

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0199682690

Category: Science

Page: 152

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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: 7927

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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.

Nothing: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Frank Close

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191574643

Category: Philosophy

Page: 176

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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.

Telescopes: a Very Short Introduction

Author: Geoffrey Cottrell

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198745869

Category: Science

Page: 152

View: 8768

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From the first, telescopes have made dramatic revelations about the Universe and our place in it. Galileo's observations of the Moon's cratered surface and discovery of Jupiter's four big satellites profoundly altered the perception of the heavens, overturning a two-thousand year cosmologythat held the Earth to be the centre of the Universe. Over the past century, the rapid development of computer technology and sophisticated materials allowed enormous strides in the construction of telescopes. Modern telescopes range from large Earth-based optical telescopes and radio arrays linkingup across continents, to space-based telescopes capturing the Universe in infrared, ultraviolet, X-rays, and gamma rays. In combination, they have enabled us to look deep into the Universe and far back in time, capturing phenomena from galactic collisions to the formation of stars and planetarysystems, and mapping the faint glow remaining from the Big Bang. In this Very Short Introduction, Dr. Geoff Cottrell describes the basic physics of telescopes, the challenges of overcoming turbulence and distortion from the Earth's atmosphere, and the special techniques used to capture X-rays and gamma rays in space telescopes. He explains the crucialdevelopments in detectors and spectrographs that have enabled the high resolution achieved by modern telescopes, and the hopes for the new generation of telescopes currently being built across the world. 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, andenthusiasm 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: 6099

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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.

Martyrdom: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Jolyon Mitchell

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191642452

Category: Religion

Page: 160

View: 7332

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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.

Freemasonry: a Very Short Introduction

Author: Andreas Önnerfors

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198796277

Category: Social Science

Page: 152

View: 6382

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Freemasonry is one of the oldest and most widespread voluntary organizations in the world. Over the course of three centuries men (and women) have organized themselves socially and voluntarily under its name. With a strong sense of liberation, moral enlightenment, cosmopolitan openness and forward-looking philanthropy, freemasonry has attracted some of the sharpest minds in history and has created a strong platform for nascent civil societies across the globe. With the secrecy of internally communicated knowledge, the clandestine character of organization, and the enactment of rituals and the elaborate use of symbols, freemasonry has also opened up feelings of distrust, as well as allegations of secretiveness and conspiracy. This Very Short Introduction introduces the inner activities of freemasonry, and the rituals, symbols and practices. Looking at the development of the organizational structure of masonry from the local to the global level, Andreas Onnerfors considers perceptions of freemasonry from the outside world, and navigates through the prevalent fictions and conspiracy theories. He also discusses how freemasonry has from its outset struggled with issues of exclusion based upon gender, race and religion, despite promoting tolerant openness and inclusion. Finally Onnerfors shines a light on the rarely discussed but highly compelling history of female agency in Masonic and Para-Masonic orders. 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: 3886

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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.

Critical Theory: a Very Short Introduction

Author: Stephen Eric Bronner

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190692677

Category: Philosophy

Page: 144

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Preface -- Introduction: what is critical theory? -- The frankfurt school -- A matter of method -- Critical theory and modernism -- Alienation and reification -- Enlightened illusions -- The utopian laboratory -- The happy consciousness -- The great refusal -- From resignation to renewal -- Unfinished tasks -- Further reading -- Index

Photography: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Steve Edwards

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191577561

Category: Photography

Page: 176

View: 619

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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.

Ethnomusicology: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Timothy Rice

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199794588

Category: Music

Page: 160

View: 6522

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Ethnomusicologists believe that all humans, not just those we call musicians, are musical, and that musicality is one of the essential touchstones of the human experience. This insight raises big questions about the nature of music and the nature of humankind, and ethnomusicologists argue that to properly address these questions, we must study music in all its geographical and historical diversity. In this Very Short Introduction, one of the foremost ethnomusicologists, Timothy Rice, offers a compact and illuminating account of this growing discipline, showing how modern researchers go about studying music from around the world, looking for insights into both music and humanity. The reader discovers that ethnomusicologists today not only examine traditional forms of music-such as Japanese gagaku, Bulgarian folk music, Javanese gamelan, or Native American drumming and singing-but also explore more contemporary musical forms, from rap and reggae to Tex-Mex, Serbian turbofolk, and even the piped-in music at the Mall of America. To investigate these diverse musical forms, Rice shows, ethnomusicologists typically live in a community, participate in and observe and record musical events, interview the musicians, their patrons, and the audience, and learn to sing, play, and dance. It's important to establish rapport with musicians and community members, and obtain the permission of those they will work with closely over the course of many months and years. We see how the researcher analyzes the data to understand how a particular musical tradition works, what is distinctive about it, and how it bears the personal, social, and cultural meanings attributed to it. Rice also discusses how researchers may apply theories from anthropology and other social sciences, to shed further light on the nature of music as a human behavior and cultural practice. 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.

Gravity

Author: Timothy Clifton

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198729146

Category: Science

Page: 144

View: 9661

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In this Very Short Introduction Timothy Clifton looks at the development of our understanding of gravity since the early observations of Kepler and Newtonian theory. He discusses Einstein's theory of gravity, which now supplants Newton's, showing how it allows us to understand why the frequency of light changes as it passes through a gravitational field, why GPS satellites need their clocks corrected as they orbit the Earth, and why the orbits of distant neutron stars speed up. Today, almost 100 years after Einstein published his theory of gravity, we have even detected the waves of gravitational radiation that he predicted. Clifton concludes by considering the testing and application of general relativity in astrophysics and cosmology, and looks at dark energy and efforts such as string theory to combine gravity with quantum mechanics.

Materials

A Very Short Introduction

Author: Christopher Hall

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0199672679

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 137

View: 1606

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The study of materials is a major field of research that supports and drives innovation in technology. Using modern scientific techniques, materials scientists and engineers explore and manipulate materials, and create new ones with remarkable strength and extraordinary optical and electricalproperties. In this Very Short Introduction, Christopher Hall looks at a wide range of materials, from steel, wood, and rubber, to gold, silicon, and graphene, describing how materials are used, how their properties arise from their internal structure, and how useful and novel things are made fromthem. He concludes by looking at how the global scale of materials consumption now threatens the goal of sustainability. 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, andenthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Galaxies: A Very Short Introduction

Author: John Gribbin

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199234345

Category: Science

Page: 121

View: 3670

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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.

Roman Britain

A Very Short Introduction

Author: Peter Salway

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0198712162

Category: History

Page: 122

View: 8422

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First published in The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain, 1984; first published as a Very Short Introduction, 2000.

Citizenship: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Richard Bellamy

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192802534

Category: Political Science

Page: 133

View: 4686

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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.

Consciousness: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Susan Blackmore

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192805851

Category: Medical

Page: 146

View: 3703

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A lively introduction that combines the perspectives of philosophy, psychology and neuroscience - written by the top name in the field, Susan Blackmore.

Law: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Raymond Wacks

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191579572

Category: Law

Page: 192

View: 7403

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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.

American Legal History: A Very Short Introduction

Author: G. Edward White

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199766002

Category: Law

Page: 149

View: 7545

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A concise examination of the central role of legal decisions in shaping key social issues explores topics ranging from Native American affairs and slavery to business and home life as well as how criminal and civil offenses have been addressed in positive and negative ways. Original.