Did you know that babies can count? And did you know that some animals can do simple arithmetic? Whether we possess astounding mathematical talents or the most basic of counting skills, we are all born with numerical intuition. In this book, the author describes some amazing scientific experiments that demonstrate the mental foundations of numerical intuition. If you want to know why you cant remember how much 7 x 8 makes, or how a cerebral lesion can make you forget 3 - 1, or if you want to figure out the fifth root of 759,375, just follow the author in a series of tortuous mental calculations and you dont even have to be a mathematical wizard. Stanislas Dehaene is a senior research fellow at Inserm and works at the Laboratory of cognitive sciences and of psycholinguistics at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales.
The fascinating, controversial and most-worshipped hypothesis of ecologists - that of considering the Earth as the biggest living organism, referred to as Gaïa. It is here discussed by its inventor in person, who shows us that if our planet hasn't always had the same face, it's because there have been several ages corresponding to the predominance of very different species. In three centuries, humanity has wrought more modifications to the face of Gaïa than natural evolution did in millions of years. Although he does not doubt that the Earth, today turned completely upside-down by industrial activities, will find a new equilibrium, he does suppose that it could at the price of the disappearance of man, whose reign represents only one of the ages of Gaïa. Born in 1919, James Lovelock is the author of The Gaïa Hypothesis, a book which shook up the scientific world in the beginning of the seventies and met with great public acclaim.
When we watch a squid facing up to a predator, we see it recoil, agitate the tentacles, spray a jet of ink, and then make use of the temporary blindness of the predator in order to escape to a safe hiding place. Are we able to say what it is thinking ? Evidently, we know that this behaviour is not the result of a reflex unleashed by the sight of an enemy. The mollusc is not however conscious of its acts, at least not in the sense that we, as human beings, understand this term. It is true that we are the product of a evolution of species, and that, although this may not be welcome news for everyone, we share a common ancestry with the octopus, or even the fly. Even if the structure of our cortex, and the invention of language allows us to write about octopuses (or flies), and not the other way round, the fact remains that these evolutive roots, in the same way as other animal species, including invertebrates, have something to teach us about the nature of our thoughts. Alain Prochiantz
On one hand, men exploit, manipulate and slaughter animals. On the other hand, they let animals interfere with their lives, pollute them, and sometimes dominate them. Since the classical Age, Man has sought to define himself in his opposition to animals. Claiming for himself the most noble faculties - consciousness, thought, esthetic sense, morality - he represses his own animal side, notably his sexuality. But Florence Burgat goes beyond this negative statement. She walks in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's steps, claiming that men, like animals are sensitive beings, liable to suffer. On this basis, she proposes a new morality. Florence Burgat is a philosopher, and works at the Laboratory of Social Anthropology of the College of France.
How can we control nuclear power ? This question has been preoccupying Georges Charpak and Richard Garwin for a long time. They here engage themselves in a thought-process concerning the stakes of nuclear power in civil society and the military. It is high time to see the issue clearly, and steering clear of sterile polemics, to denounce the true risks. This book describes in detail everything we need to know about the question : what is a chain reaction ? What exactly happened at Chernobyl ? What should be done with radioactive waste ? How are nuclear arms made and what would future war confrontations be like ? etc... Georges Charpak is a Nobel Prize winner in physics. Richard Garwin is a nuclear physicist.
Results : 1 to 8 from 8 books