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.

Martyrdom: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Jolyon Mitchell

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199585237

Category: Political Science

Page: 141

View: 2650

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Martyrdom is a controversial topic, with a long history of provoking fierce debate. In this Very Short Introduction Jolyon Mitchell provides a historical analysis to understand the contemporary debates surrounding martyrdom. Using examples from a variety of contexts around the world, he explores how it has evolved, and what it means today.

Roman Britain

A Very Short Introduction

Author: Peter Salway

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0198712162

Category: History

Page: 122

View: 8857

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

Microscopy

A Very Short Introduction

Author: Terence Allen

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0198701268

Category: Science

Page: 144

View: 3435

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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.

Telescopes: a Very Short Introduction

Author: Geoffrey Cottrell

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198745869

Category: Science

Page: 152

View: 2904

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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.

Freemasonry: a Very Short Introduction

Author: Andreas Önnerfors

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198796277

Category: Social Science

Page: 152

View: 9789

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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.

American Legal History: A Very Short Introduction

Author: G. Edward White

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199766002

Category: Law

Page: 149

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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.

Nothing: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Frank Close

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191574643

Category: Philosophy

Page: 176

View: 8063

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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.

The American Presidency: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Charles O. Jones

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780199743803

Category: Political Science

Page: 192

View: 1125

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The expansion of executive powers amid the war on terrorism has brought the presidency to the center of heated public debate. Now, in The American Presidency, presidential authority Charles O. Jones provides invaluable background to the current controversy, in a compact, reliable guide to the office of the chief executive. This marvelously concise survey is packed with information about the presidency, some of it quite surprising. We learn, for example, that the Founders adopted the word "president" over "governor" and other alternatives because it suggested a light hand, as in one who presides, rather than rules. Indeed, the Constitutional Convention first agreed to a weak chief executive elected by congress for one seven-year term, later calling for independent election and separation of powers. Jones sheds much light on how assertive leaders, such as Andrew Jackson, Theodore Roosevelt, and FDR enhanced the power of the presidency, and illuminating how such factors as philosophy (Reagan's anti-Communist conservatism), the legacy of previous presidencies (Jimmy Carter following Watergate), relations with Congress, and the impact of outside events have all influenced presidential authority. He also explores the rise of federal power and the dramatic expansion of federal agencies, showing how the president takes a direct hand in this vast bureaucracy, and he examines the political process of selecting presidents, from the days of deadlocked conventions to the rise of the primary after World War II. "In 200 years," he writes, "the presidency had changed from that of a person--Washington followed by Adams, then Jefferson--to a presidential enterprise with a cast of thousands." Jones explains how this remarkable expansion has occurred and where it may lead in the future. About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.

Materials

A Very Short Introduction

Author: Christopher Hall

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0199672679

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 137

View: 8329

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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.

Law: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Raymond Wacks

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191579572

Category: Law

Page: 192

View: 6437

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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.

Citizenship: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Richard Bellamy

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192802534

Category: Political Science

Page: 133

View: 7076

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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.

Dinosaurs: A Very Short Introduction

Author: David Norman

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192804197

Category: Medical

Page: 176

View: 5900

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This is the first accessible book to explain the most recent findings in dinosaur reasearch. It tells the story behind the exciting scientific discoveries that have built up a picture of how dinosaurs looked, what they ate, and how they moved and interacted with each other.

Medical Law: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Charles Foster

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199660441

Category: Law

Page: 141

View: 5428

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Medicine evolves fast, and medical law tries to keep up. It deals with some of the most fascinating, fundamental and difficult questions about the human body and mind. Charles Foster surveys the principles governing medical law.

Writing and Script: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Andrew Robinson

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199567786

Category: History

Page: 157

View: 1267

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Writing is a defining marker of civilisation; without it there could be no accumulation of knowledge. Andrew Robinson tells the fascinating story of the history of writing, considering its development, and examining the enormous variety of writing and scripts we use today.

Perception: a Very Short Introduction

Author: Brian J. Rogers,Brian Rogers

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198791003

Category:

Page: 184

View: 3082

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Perception is one of the oldest and most deeply investigated topics in the field of psychology, and it also raises some profound philosophical questions. It is concerned with how we use the information reaching our senses to guide and control our behavior as well as to create our particular, subjective experiences of the surrounding world. In this Very Short Introduction, Brian J. Rogers discusses the philosophical question of what it means to perceive, as well as describing how we are able to perceive the particular characteristics of objects and scenes such as their lightness, color, form, depth, and motion. What we perceive, however, does not always correspond to what exists in the world and, as Rogers shows, the study of illusions can be useful in telling us something about the nature and limitations of our perceptual processes. Rogers also explores perception from an evolutionary perspective, explaining how evolutionary pressures have shaped the perceptual systems of humans and other animals. He shows that perception is not necessarily a separate and independent process but rather part of a "perceptual system," involving both the extraction of perceptual information and the control of action. Rogers goes on to cover the significant progress made recently in the understanding of perception through the use of precise and controlled psychophysical methods, single cell recordings, and imaging techniques. There have also been many insights from attempts to model perceptual processes in artificial systems. As Rogers shows, these attempts have revealed how difficult it is to program machines to perform even the most simple of perceptual tasks that we take for granted. 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.

Antisemitism: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Steven Beller

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0198724837

Category: Antisemitism

Page: 160

View: 9814

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Antisemitism, as hatred of Jews and Judaism, has been a central problem of Western civilization for millennia, and its history continues to invite debate. This Very Short Introduction untangles the history of the phenomenon, from ancient religious conflict to 'new' antisemitism in the 21st century. Steven Beller reveals how Antisemitism grew as a political and ideological movement in the 19th century, how it reached its dark apogee in the worst genocide in modern history - the Holocaust - and how Antisemitism still persists around the world today. In the new edition of this thought-provoking Very Short Introduction, Beller brings his examination of this complex and still controversial issue up to date with a discussion of Antisemitism in light of the 2008 financial crash, the Arab Spring, and the on-going crisis between Israel and Palestine. 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.

Hormones

A Very Short Introduction

Author: Martin Luck

Publisher: American Chemical Society

ISBN: 0199672873

Category: Science

Page: 136

View: 8473

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Hormones are vital to the workings of the body, and while many people are aware of what hormones do, few have an appreciation of the nature and importance of the endocrine system. In this very short introduction, Martin Luck explains what hormones are, what they do, where they come from, and how they work.