Tom Jackson

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Tom Jackson's Chilled: How Refrigeration Changed the World and Might Do So Again (Bloomsbury, 2015) is a completely engrossing look into the history and technology of refrigeration.  This book reads like an expanded chapter of James Burke's classic book Connections.  Refrigeration is not only one of the most important foundation stones of our technological society, it's also one that we take for granted.   It's hard to say which is more interesting; the realization that people were aware of a cooling method almost two millennia before the birth of Christ, the history of refrigeration from the Middle Ages to the present, or the possibilities for refrigeration technology in the world of the future.  Chilled is a fascinating look into one of the most amazing and important technologies that man has ever developed.

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James A. SecordVisions of Science: Books and Readers at the Dawn of the Victorian Age

July 3, 2015

James A. Secord's new book is both deeply enlightening and a pleasure to read. Emerging from the 2013 Sandars Lectures in Bibliography at the Cambridge University Library, Visions of Science: Books and Readers at the Dawn of the Victorian Age (University of Chicago Press, 2014) is a fascinating exploration of books and their readers during […]

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Tom McLeishFaith and Wisdom in Science

May 22, 2015

Much of the public debate about the relationship between science and theology has been antagonistic or adversarial. Proponents on both sides argue that their respective claims are contradictory–that the claims of science trump and even discredit the claims of religion or theology. Some have sought to portray the relationship in a different light. The evolutionary […]

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Thom van DoorenFlight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction

April 17, 2015

Thom van Dooren’s new book is an absolute must-read. (I was going to qualify that with a “…for anyone who…” and realized that it really needs no qualification.) Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction (Columbia University Press, 2014) is a beautifully written and evocative meditation on extinction. The book offers (and implicates us […]

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A. Mark SmithFrom Sight to Light: The Passage from Ancient to Modern Optics

March 21, 2015

A. Mark Smith’s new book is a magisterial history of optics over the course of two millennia. From Sight to Light: The Passage from Ancient to Modern Optics (University of Chicago Press, 2015) suggests that the transition from ancient toward modern optics was accompanied by a turn in optical studies from a concern with explaining […]

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Nick WildingGalileo’s Idol: Gianfrancesco Sagredo and the Politics of Knowledge

March 15, 2015

Nick Wilding’s new book is brilliant, thoughtful, and an absolute pleasure to read. Galileo’s Idol: Gianfrancesco Sagredo and The Politics of Knowledge (University of Chicago Press, 2014) takes an unusual approach to understanding Galileo and his context by focusing its narrative on his closest friend, student, and patron, the Venetian Gianfrancesco Sagredo. Though most readers […]

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Edmund RussellEvolutionary History: Uniting History and Biology to Understand Life on Earth

March 11, 2015

Evolution is among the most powerful ideas in the natural sciences. Indeed, the evolutionary theorist Theodosius Dobzhansky famously said nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution. Yet despite its central place in the life sciences, relatively few geographers employ evolutionary theory in their work. In his new book Evolutionary History: Uniting History and Biology […]

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Orit HalpernBeautiful Data: A History of Vision and Reason since 1945

March 9, 2015

The second half of the twentieth century saw a radical transformation in approaches to recording and displaying information. Orit Halpern’s new book traces the emergence of the “communicative objectivity” that resulted from this shift and produced new forms of observation, rationality, and economy. Beautiful Data: A History of Vision and Reason since 1945 (Duke University […]

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Nicolas RasmussenGene Jockeys: Life Science and the Rise of Biotech Enterprise

January 30, 2015

[Cross-posted from New Books in Science, Technology, and Society] Nicolas Rasmussen’s new book maps the intersection of biotechnology and the business world in the last decades of the twentieth century. Gene Jockeys: Life Science and the Rise of Biotech Enterprise (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014) takes readers into the fascinating world of entrepreneur-biologists as they developed five of the […]

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Karen A. Rader and Victoria E. M. CainLife on Display: Revolutionizing U. S. Museums of Science & Natural History in the Twentieth Century

January 16, 2015

[Cross-posted from New Books in Science, Technology, and Society] In lucid prose that’s a real pleasure to read, Karen Rader and Victoria Cain’s new book chronicles a revolution in modern American science education and culture. Life on Display: Revolutionizing U. S. Museums of Science & Natural History in the Twentieth Century (University of Chicago Press, 2014) guides readers through a transformation in […]

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