Measurement

Author: David J. Hand
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198779568
Release Date: 2016-09-28
Genre: Mathematics

Measurement is a fundamental concept that underpins almost every aspect of the modern world. It is central to the sciences, social sciences, medicine, and economics, but it affects everyday life. We measure everything - from the distance of far-off galaxies to the temperature of the air, levels of risk, political majorities, taxes, blood pressure, IQ, and weight. The history of measurement goes back to the ancient world, and its story has been one of gradual standardization. Today there are different types of measurement, levels of accuracy, and systems of units, applied in different contexts. Measurement involves notions of variability, accuracy, reliability, and error, and challenges such as the measurement of extreme values. In this Very Short Introduction, David Hand explains the common mathematical framework underlying all measurement, the main approaches to measurement, and the challenges involved. Following a brief historical account of measurement, he discusses measurement as used in the physical sciences and engineering, the life sciences and medicine, the social and behavioural sciences, economics, business, and public policy. 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.

Corruption

Author: Leslie Holmes
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780199689699
Release Date: 2015-04-23
Genre: Philosophy

Corruption is one of the biggest issues facing the contemporary international community. This volume notes that corruption is as old as humanity itself, and then considers why the international community has only highlighted it as a problem in the past two decades. It explores the phenomenon from several different perspectives, from the cultural differences affecting how corruption is defined, its impact, its various causes, and the possible remedies.

Quantum Theory A Very Short Introduction

Author: John Polkinghorne
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191577673
Release Date: 2002-05-30
Genre: Science

Quantum Theory is the most revolutionary discovery in physics since Newton. This book gives a lucid, exciting, and accessible account of the surprising and counterintuitive ideas that shape our understanding of the sub-atomic world. It does not disguise the problems of interpretation that still remain unsettled 75 years after the initial discoveries. The main text makes no use of equations, but there is a Mathematical Appendix for those desiring stronger fare. Uncertainty, probabilistic physics, complementarity, the problematic character of measurement, and decoherence are among the many topics discussed. 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.

Information A Very Short Introduction

Author: Luciano Floridi
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199551378
Release Date: 2010-02-25
Genre: Computers

Luciano Floridi unpacks this fundamental concept - what information is, how it is measured, its value and meaning - cutting across the sciences and humanities, from DNA to the Internet, and the ethical issues related to privacy, copyright, and accessibility.

Probability A Very Short Introduction

Author: John Haigh
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199588480
Release Date: 2012-04-26
Genre: Mathematics

Making good decisions under conditions of uncertainty requires an appreciation of the way random chance works. In this Very Short Introduction, John Haigh provides a brief account of probability theory; explaining the philosophical approaches, discussing probability distributions, and looking its applications in science and economics.

Isotopes

Author: Rob Ellam
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198723622
Release Date: 2016-05-26
Genre: Science

An isotope is a variant form of a chemical element, containing a different number of neutrons in its nucleus. Most elements exist as several isotopes. Many are stable while others are radioactive, and some may only exist fleetingly before decaying into other elements. In this Very Short Introduction, Rob Ellam explains how isotopes have proved enormously important across all the sciences and in archaeology. Radioactive isotopes may be familiar from their use in nuclear weapons, nuclear power, and in medicine, as well as in carbon dating. They have been central to establishing the age of the Earth and the origins of the solar system. Combining previous and new research, Ellam provides an overview of the nature of stable and radioactive isotopes, and considers their wide range of modern applications. 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.

Happiness A Very Short Introduction

Author: Daniel M. Haybron
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199590605
Release Date: 2013-08-29
Genre: Philosophy

Most of us spend our lives striving for happiness. But what is it? How important is it? How can we (and should we) pursue it? In this Very Short Introduction Dan Haybron provides a comprehensive look at the nature of happiness. By using examples, Haybron considers how we measure happiness, what makes us happy, and considers its subjective nature.

Stars A Very Short Introduction

Author: Andrew King
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191633843
Release Date: 2012-07-26
Genre: Science

Every atom of our bodies has been part of a star. Our very own star, the Sun, is crucial to the development and sustainability of life on Earth. This Very Short Introduction presents a modern, authoritative examination of how stars live, producing all the chemical elements beyond helium, and how they die, sometimes spectacularly, to end as remnants such as black holes. Andrew King shows how understanding the stars is key to understanding the galaxies they inhabit, and thus the history of our entire Universe, as well as the existence of planets like our own. King presents a fascinating exploration of the science of stars, from the mechanisms that allow stars to form and the processes that allow them to shine, as well as the results of their inevitable death. 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 History of Time A Very Short Introduction

Author: Leofranc Holford-Strevens
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191578007
Release Date: 2005-08-11
Genre: History

Why do we measure time in the way that we do? Why is a week seven days long? At what point did minutes and seconds come into being? Why are some calendars lunar and some solar? The organisation of time into hours, days, months and years seems immutable and universal, but is actually far more artificial than most people realise. The French Revolution resulted in a restructuring of the French calendar, and the Soviet Union experimented with five and then six-day weeks. Leofranc Holford-Strevens explores these questions using a range of fascinating examples from Ancient Rome and Julius Caesar's imposition of the Leap Year, to the 1920s' project for a fixed Easter. 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.

Governance A Very Short Introduction

Author: Mark Bevir
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199606412
Release Date: 2012-10-25
Genre: Political Science

Generally referring to all forms of social coordination and patterns of rule, the term 'governance' is used in many different contexts. In this Very Short Introduction, Mark Bevir explores the main theories of governance and considers their impact on ideas of governance in the corporate, public, and global arenas.

Reality A Very Short Introduction

Author: Jan Westerhoff
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191638077
Release Date: 2011-11-24
Genre: Philosophy

'What is real?' has been one of the key questions of philosophy since its beginning in antiquity. It is a question that, due to such films as The Matrix, has also made its way into popular culture. But it is not just a question philosophers ask. It is also asked by scientists when they investigate whether the fundamental constituents of matter are actually 'out there' or just a mere abstraction from a successful theory. Cognitive scientists ask it when trying to find out which set of the bewildering array of data processed by our brain could constitute the basis for such supposedly fundamental entities like the free agent or the self. This Very Short Introduction discusses what reality is by looking at a variety of arguments, theories and thought-experiments from philosophy, physics, and cognitive science. 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.

Sound

Author: Mike Goldsmith
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198708445
Release Date: 2015-11-23
Genre: Science

Sound is integral to how we experience the world, in the form of noise as well as music. But what is sound? What is the physical basis of pitch and harmony? And how are sound waves exploited in musical instruments? In this Very Short Introduction Mike Goldsmith looks at the science of sound and explores sound in different contexts, covering the audible and inaudible, sound underground and underwater, accoustic and electric, and hearing in humans and animals. He also considers the problem of sound out of place - noise and its reduction. 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 Atmosphere A Very Short Introduction

Author: Paul I. Palmer
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780191030758
Release Date: 2017-03-13
Genre: Science

The atmosphere is the thin, diffuse fluid that envelops the Earth's surface. Despite its apparent fragility, the existence of this fluid is vital for human and other life on Earth. In this Very Short Introduction Paul Palmer describes the physical and chemical characteristics of different layers in the atmosphere, and shows how the interactions where the atmosphere is in contact with land, ocean, and ice affect its observed physical and chemical properties. He also looks at how movement in the atmosphere, driven by heat from the sun, transports heat from lower latitudes to higher latitudes, and is a fundamental feature of the general circulation in the atmosphere. Finally, Palmer presents an overview of the types of measurements used to understand different parts of the atmosphere, and identifies the future challenges for atmospheric scientists. 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.

Geophysics

Author: William Lowrie
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198792956
Release Date: 2018-03-29
Genre: Mathematics

Geophysics is the physics of the Earth. Central to the Earth Sciences today, it encompasses areas such as seismology, volcanism, plate tectonics, gravitational anomalies, and the Earth's magnetic field (present and past, as captured in rocks), all of which give clues to both the structure and the working of the Earth. In this Very Short Introduction, William Lowrie describes the internal and external processes that affect the planet, as well as the principles and methods of geophysics used to investigate them. He explains how analysis of the seismic waves produced in earthquakes reveals the internal structure of the Earth. Geophysicists have established that the greatest source of energy powering geological processes is the Earth's internal heat. Deep inside the Earth, the temperature is high enough to produce a fluid outer core of molten iron. It is the motion in this molten iron layer that produces the Earth's magnetic field, which shields the planet against harmful radiation from the Sun and outer space, and thus makes the planet habitable. Lowrie describes how the magnetic field also magnetizes rocks during their formation, leaving a permanent record of the ancient field and its direction that geophysicists have learned to use to interpret past motions of the continents and tectonic plates. From analyzes of Earth's deepest interior to measurements made from Earth-orbiting satellites, Lowrie shows how geophysical exploration is vitally important in the search for mineral resources, and emphasizes our need to understand the history of our planet and the processes that govern its continuing evolution. 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.