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Beiträge von D. W. Casey
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Rezensionen verfasst von
D. W. Casey (Sturbridge, MA United States)
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Six Easy Pieces: Essentials Of Physics By Its Most Brilliant Teacher (Helix Book)
Six Easy Pieces: Essentials Of Physics By Its Most Brilliant Teacher (Helix Book)
von Richard P. Feynman
  Taschenbuch

5.0 von 5 Sternen Physics Explained Simply and Honestly, 19. November 1998
What is remarkable about the book Six Easy pieces is that Richard Feynman is able to explain concepts in physics with simple examples that anyone can understand. He is also refreshingly honest -- he says "This is what we know" and "This is what we don't know" in a very straightforward way. The book is very good at explaining physics concepts and would make a good primer for someone who skipped high school physics. The book also explains the relationship of physics to other sciences (chemistry, biology, etc.) in a way that is simple and yet clear.


John Von Neumann and the Origins of Modern Computing (History of Computing)
John Von Neumann and the Origins of Modern Computing (History of Computing)
von William Aspray
  Gebundene Ausgabe

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4.0 von 5 Sternen An Overview of Von Neumann's Contributions to Computing, 28. Oktober 1998
No one has yet written a biography of John von Neumann that sums up both his intellectual achievements and his curious personality. William Aspray's book, John von Neumann and the Origins of Modern Computing, at least makes a good effort at explaining von Neumann's intellectual accomplishments, although it is not a complete biography in explaining the man. Granted, such a biography might be impossible, given the breadth and profundity of von Neumann's contributions to thought. It is hard to conceive of another person who left more of a mark on the twentieth century world of science, with the exception of Einstein himself. For a look at von Neumann the personality, one can find good character sketches of him in Ed Regis's "Who Got Einstein's Office?" and in Joel Shurkin's "Engines of the Mind", but neither of these works presents a complete view of von Neumann's intellectual achivements. Aspray's book does a thorough job of covering von Neumann's thoughts on computing.. It is thorough in dealing with von Neumann's contributions to mathematics, to the building of the IAS computer, to problems in information theory, and outlines more of von Neumann's thought on the analogy between computer processing and the human mind than most writers ever notice. Additionally, von Neumann made contributions to meteorology that are usually overlooked, which Aspray outlines more thoroughly than other writers. The book does not address much about Game Theory (William Poundstone's book, Prisoner's Dilemma, outlines von Neumann's contributions in that field of study), which is another huge area of study that von Neumann pioneered. Aspray's book is required reading for anyone wrestling with John von Neumann's ideas, he outlines perhaps 60% of von Neumann's career better than any other writer, but one wonders when the truly comprehensive biography of von Neumann will be written.


Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century
Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century
von Michio Kaku
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 15,70

5.0 von 5 Sternen A Physicist Looks at the Future, 28. Oktober 1998
Superstring physicist Michio Kaku turns his eyes to the future, and sees many bright developments in the 21st century. What is really remarkable about this book is Kaku's ability to explain in a clear way how the Quantum revolution of the turn of the previous century has dramatically effected, or perhaps invented, the three great revolutions of the 20th century: computers, biotechnology, and quantum physics. Kaku is especially good in outlining his reasons for his view of the future; and gives pretty reasonable timelines for the achievement of certain goals. The book is easy for a layperson to read and understand, and gives a good overview of scientific development. Well worth reading, at times profound.


The Evolution of Useful Things: How Everyday Artifacts-From Forks and Pins to Paper Clips and Zippers-Came to be as They are.: How Everyday Artefacts ... and Zippers - Came to Be as They Are
The Evolution of Useful Things: How Everyday Artifacts-From Forks and Pins to Paper Clips and Zippers-Came to be as They are.: How Everyday Artefacts ... and Zippers - Came to Be as They Are
von Henry Petroski
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 15,61

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4.0 von 5 Sternen An interesting look at the development of everyday objects, 11. Oktober 1998
Things get improved because in their current form, they do not work properly. Henry Petroski's book, The Evolution of Useful Things, traces the development of objects in our everyday life, including detailed histories of the development of the staple, the zipper, silverware, and hand tools. The book is interesting, although Petroski does tend to shy away from offering a theory of development, and instead offers a conjectures about how things might have developed. He explains, but he does not offer a theory or an argument that explains everything. Overall, though, a goos book, well researched, well illustrated, and interesting on many levels.


The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932
The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Visions of Glory, 1874-1932
von William Manchester
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 19,59

5.0 von 5 Sternen An Excellent History of Churchill's Early Years, 30. September 1998
The beginning of William Manchester's (planned) three volume history of Winston Churchill, this book is an excellent history not only of Churchill, but of Victorian and Edwardian England, colonialism, Victorian social and sexual mores, World War I, and the 1920s. The book is diligently; one might say obsessively researched, and is written on a huge canvas. Many myths about Churchill are addressed and repaired in this work; and the full story of Gallipoli and Churchill's war as a battalion commander in the trenches is also addressed. Mr. manchester also does not shy away from the difficult task of addressing the death of Churchill's father from a progressively encroaching syphilis, or Churchill's mother's role in advancing his career. although Mr. Manchester is clearly an admirer of Churchill, he presents a very balanced view of Churchill's successes and failures. A marvelous book, eclipsed only by the second volume of this series.


Last Lion, The: Winston Spencer Churchill Alone 1932-1940 - Volume 2
Last Lion, The: Winston Spencer Churchill Alone 1932-1940 - Volume 2
von William Manchester
  Gebundene Ausgabe
Preis: EUR 48,91

5.0 von 5 Sternen An Excellent History of Churchill's Wilderness Years, 30. September 1998
As one reads William Manchester's second volume on Churchill, one is struck by Churchill's uncanny grasp of the threat of Nazi Germany, and his many attempts to warn Britain of its peril. Like Cassandra in Greek mythology, though, Churchill's predictions are not believed, and he is only included in the War Cabinet when war was inevitable. William Manchester's book is thoroughly researched, and is at least as good as that of Churchill's official biographer, Martin Gilbert, with one important difference: Manchester's book is written on a far larger canvas, and the level of detail he is able to devote to Churchill is far greater -- and the subject is more than worthy of it. Mandatory reading for anyone studying Churchill, a good prelude to read before reading Churchill's own five volume history of World War II in that it gives insight into Churchill's mind. On a personal level, I know that Mr. Manchester is advanced in years, and I cannot help thinking, in my selfishness as a historian, that I hope he completes volume III soon. It would be a tragedy if the task of completing this wonderful history proves to be too much for him.


Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences
Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences
von Edward Tenner
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 18,57

4.0 von 5 Sternen Examples of The Law of Unintended Consequences, 29. September 1998
Tenner's book is a short history of things going wrong -- from the introduction of carp and mollusks into the American great lakes to industrial accidents. A very good review of how things can go wrong in our complex world; very well researched.


A Beautiful Mind: A Biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr., Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, 1994
A Beautiful Mind: A Biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr., Winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, 1994
von Sylvia Nasar
  Gebundene Ausgabe

4.0 von 5 Sternen Good biography of an interesting subject, 24. August 1998
A very interesting book about John Nash, the mathematician who extended John von Neumann's work on game theory into the realm of multi-player games.
It is also an interesting look at Nash's schizophrenia, his descent into madness and his slow struggle to emerge from it. This element of the book is probably its best part; the chapters about how the spectral Nash haunted Princeton in the 1970s and 1980s as he slowly recovered his rationality are particularly fascinating. The book is very well written and readable.
My criticism of it is basically on two minor counts: first, the book doesn't give enough information on the importance of John Nash's work on the study of economics, and therefore one is not sure where Nash's work stands in the scheme of things; second, the young Nash is a somewhat unsympathetic character and without the perspective of his relative importance or unimportance, one doesn't know how to judge this. Was he a jerk who advanced mankind's knowledge significantly or was he just a jerk?
Overall, though, the book is very good.


Statistics Without Tears: A Primer for Non-Mathematicians
Statistics Without Tears: A Primer for Non-Mathematicians
von Derek Rowntree
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 75,50

5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent Primer on Statistical Methods for Amateurs, 23. August 1998
Derek Rowntree's Statistics Withuot Tears is an excellent primer on concepts in statistics, written in very easy-to-understand language. It has just enough mathematics in it to be useful as a reference without being opaque.
Several books I have read written for "non-mathematicians" have not fit the bill, but this book explains statistics in a way that an average person can understand.
A friend of mine says that he recommends this book to friends when they are having difficulty in college statistics courses; it is an excellent tool for explaining concepts in a subject that mathematics instructors sometimes do not explain well.


The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History
The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition into the Forces of History
von Howard Bloom
  Taschenbuch
Preis: EUR 15,34

3.0 von 5 Sternen Interesting opinions, somewhat derivative work of sociology, 9. August 1998
A somewhat interesting book that boils the entire world down to superorganisms (i.e., societies), governed by a pecking order.
I am somewhat skeptical of Bloom's conclusions that the answers to questions of geopolitics are not more complicated than an analysis of chickens in the barnyard.
The book is reminiscent of Marvin Harris's "Our Kind" and uses many examples that are similar in studying primitive tribespeople and from them, extrapolating the behavior of the larger society. While I think the stories of tribespeople in New Guinea, the Amazon, and the Kalahari are interesting aberrations in the story of mankind's development and increasing knowledge, it is a somewhat flawed methodology for drawing universal conclusions.
On the positive side, it is an interesting, often entertaining book that is on balance pretty well written.


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