Four Laws That Drive the Universe

Author: Peter Atkins
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191614385
Release Date: 2010-03-25
Genre: Science

The laws of thermodynamics drive everything that happens in the universe. From the sudden expansion of a cloud of gas to the cooling of hot metal, and from the unfurling of a leaf to the course of life itself - everything is directed and constrained by four simple laws. They establish fundamental concepts such as temperature and heat, and reveal the arrow of time and even the nature of energy itself. Peter Atkins' powerful and compelling introduction explains what the laws are and how they work, using accessible language and virtually no mathematics. Guiding the reader from the Zeroth Law to the Third Law, he introduces the fascinating concept of entropy, and how it not only explains why your desk tends to get messier, but also how its unstoppable rise constitutes the engine of the universe.

Chemistry

Author: Peter Atkins
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 9780199683970
Release Date: 2015
Genre: Science

A look at chemistry anew, through a chemist's eyes, in order to understand its central concepts and to see how it contributes not only towards our material comfort, but also to human culture.

Four Laws That Drive the Universe

Author: Peter Atkins
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191647635
Release Date: 2007-09-06
Genre: Science

The laws of thermodynamics drive everything that happens in the universe. From the sudden expansion of a cloud of gas to the cooling of hot metal, and from the unfurling of a leaf to the course of life itself - everything is directed and constrained by four simple laws. They establish fundamental concepts such as temperature and heat, and reveal the arrow of time and even the nature of energy itself. Peter Atkins' powerful and compelling introduction explains what the laws are and how they work, using accessible language and virtually no mathematics. Guiding the reader from the Zeroth Law to the Third Law, he introduces the fascinating concept of entropy, and how it not only explains why your desk tends to get messier, but also how its unstoppable rise constitutes the engine of the universe.

Conjuring the Universe

Author: Peter Atkins
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198813378
Release Date: 2018-03-13
Genre: Science

The marvellous complexity of the Universe emerges from several deep laws and a handful of fundamental constants that fix its shape, scale, and destiny. There is a deep structure to the world which at the same time is simple, elegant, and beautiful. Where did these laws and these constants come from? And why are the laws so fruitful when written in the language of mathematics? Peter Atkins considers the minimum effort needed to equip the Universe with its laws and its constants. He explores the origin of the conservation of energy, of electromagnetism, of classical and quantum mechanics, and of thermodynamics, showing how all these laws spring from deep symmetries. The revolutionary result is a short but immensely rich weaving together of the fundamental ideas of physics. With his characteristic wit, erudition, and economy, Atkins sketches out how the laws of Nature can spring from very little. Or arguably from nothing at all.

Physical Chemistry A Very Short Introduction

Author: Peter Atkins
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191003110
Release Date: 2014-04-24
Genre: Science

With the development of a variety of exciting new areas of research involving computational chemistry, nano- and smart materials, and applications of the recently discovered graphene, there can be no doubt that physical chemistry is a vitally important field. It is also perceived as the most daunting branch of chemistry, being necessarily grounded in physics and mathematics and drawing as it does on quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, and statistical thermodynamics. With his typical clarity and hardly a formula in sight, Peter Atkins' Very Short Introduction explores the contributions physical chemistry has made to all branches of chemistry. Providing an insight into its central concepts Atkins reveals the cultural contributions physical chemistry has made to our understanding of the natural 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, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Structural Engineering A Very Short Introduction

Author: David Blockley
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191652097
Release Date: 2014-09-25
Genre: Technology & Engineering

Have you ever wondered how it's possible to build a skyscraper, a big bridge, a jumbo jet, or a cruise liner? Everything has structure. Structure is the difference between a random pile of components and a fully functional object. Through structure the parts connect to make the whole. Natural structures vary from the very smallest part of an atom to the entire cosmology of the universe. Man-made structures include buildings, bridges, dams, ships, aeroplanes, rockets, trains, cars and fair-ground rides and all forms of artefacts, even large artistic sculptures. The wide range of different industries in which structural engineers work includes construction, transport, manufacturing, and aerospace. In this Very Short Introduction, David Blockley explores, in non-technical language, what structural engineering is all about, including examples ranging from the Shard in London and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to jumbo jets like the A380 and the Queen Elizabeth cruise liner. 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: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191609541
Release Date: 2010-02-25
Genre: Computers

We live an information-soaked existence - information pours into our lives through television, radio, books, and of course, the Internet. Some say we suffer from 'infoglut'. But what is information? The concept of 'information' is a profound one, rooted in mathematics, central to whole branches of science, yet with implications on every aspect of our everyday lives: DNA provides the information to create us; we learn through the information fed to us; we relate to each other through information transfer - gossip, lectures, reading. Information is not only a mathematically powerful concept, but its critical role in society raises wider ethical issues: who owns information? Who controls its dissemination? Who has access to information? Luciano Floridi, a philosopher of information, cuts across many subjects, from a brief look at the mathematical roots of information - its definition and measurement in 'bits'- to its role in genetics (we are information), and its social meaning and value. He ends by considering the ethics of information, including issues of ownership, privacy, and accessibility; copyright and open source. For those unfamiliar with its precise meaning and wide applicability as a philosophical concept, 'information' may seem a bland or mundane topic. Those who have studied some science or philosophy or sociology will already be aware of its centrality and richness. But for all readers, whether from the humanities or sciences, Floridi gives a fascinating and inspirational introduction to this most fundamental of ideas. 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 West A Very Short Introduction

Author: Stephen Aron
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199858958
Release Date: 2014-12-09
Genre: History

Part geographical location, part time period, and part state of mind, the American West is a concept often invoked but rarely defined. Though popular culture has carved out a short and specific time and place for the region, author and longtime Californian Stephen Aron tracks "the West" from the building of the Cahokia Mounds around 900 AD to the post-World War II migration to California. His Very Short Introduction stretches the chronology, enlarges the geography, and varies the casting, providing a history of the American West that is longer, larger, and more complicated than popular culture has previously suggested. It is a history of how portions of North America became Wests, how parts of these became American, and how ultimately American Wests became the American West. Aron begins by describing the expansion of Indian North America in the centuries before and during its early encounters with Europeans. He then explores the origins of American westward expansion from the Seven Years' War to the 1830s, focusing on the western frontier at the time: the territory between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. He traces the narrative - temporally and geographically - through the discovery of gold in California in the mid-nineteenth century and the subsequent rush to the Pacific Slope. He shows how the passage of the Newlands Reclamation Act in 1902 brought an unprecedented level of federal control to the region, linking the West more closely to the rest of the United States, and how World War II brought a new rush of population (particularly to California), further raising the federal government's profile in the region and heightening the connections between the West and the wider world. Authoritative, lucid, and ranging widely over issues of environment, people, and identity, this is the American West stripped of its myths. The complex convergence of peoples, polities, and cultures that has decisively shaped the history of the American West serves as the key interpretive thread through this Very Short Introduction. 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.

Plate Tectonics A Very Short Introduction

Author: Peter Molnar
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191043963
Release Date: 2015-03-26
Genre: Science

The 1960s revealed a new and revolutionary idea in geological thought: that the continents drift with respect to one another. After having been dismissed for decades as absurd, the concept gradually became part of geology's basic principles. We now know that the Earth's crust and upper mantle consist of a small number of rigid plates that move, and there are significant boundaries between pairs of plates, usually known as earthquake belts. Plate tectonics now explains much of the structure and phenomena we see today: how oceans form, widen, and disappear; why earthquakes and volcanoes are found in distinct zones which follow plate boundaries; how the great mountain ranges of the world were built. The impact of plate tectonics is studied closely as these processes continue: the Himalaya continues to grow, the Atlantic is widening, and new oceans are forming. In this Very Short Introduction Peter Molnar provides a succinct and authoritative account of the nature and mechanisms of plate tectonics and its impact on our understanding of Earth. 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 British Empire A Very Short Introduction

Author: Ashley Jackson
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191654107
Release Date: 2013-05-30
Genre: History

From the eighteenth century until the 1950s the British Empire was the biggest political entity in the world. The territories forming this empire ranged from tiny islands to vast segments of the world's major continental land masses. The British Empire left its mark on the world in a multitude of ways, many of them permanent. In this Very Short Introduction, Ashley Jackson introduces and defines the British Empire, reviewing its historiography by answering a series of key questions: What was the British Empire, and what were its main constituent parts? What were the phases of imperial expansion and contraction and the general causes of expansion and contraction? How was the Empire ruled? What were its economic effects? What were the cultural implications of empire, in Britain and its colonies? What was life like for people living under imperial rule? What are the legacies of the British Empire and how should we view its place in world history? 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.

Buddhism A Very Short Introduction

Author: Damien Keown
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191640506
Release Date: 2013-02-28
Genre: Religion

Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction introduces the reader to the teachings of the Buddha and to the workings of Buddhism in daily life. Damien Keown looks at the distinctive features of Buddhism, examining who the Buddha was and what his teachings were. By considering how Buddhist thought has developed over the centuries, Keown considers how contemporary dilemmas can be faced from a Buddhist perspective. In this new edition Keown provides new perspectives on Buddhist thought, including up-to-date material about the evolution of Buddhism throughout Asia, the material culture of Buddhism and its importance, new teachings on the ethics of war and peace, and changes to ethnicity, class, and gender. 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: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191654336
Release Date: 2013-08-29
Genre: Philosophy

Happiness is an everyday term in our lives, and most of us strive to be happy. But defining happiness can be difficult. In this Very Short Introduction, Dan Haybron considers the true nature of happiness. By examining what it is, assessing its importance in our lives, and how we can (and should) pursue it, he considers the current thinking on happiness, from psychology to philosophy. Illustrating the diverse routes to happiness, Haybron reflects on contemporary ideas about the pursuit of a good life and considers the influence of social context on our satisfaction and well-being. 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.

International Security A Very Short Introduction

Author: Christopher S. Browning
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191645624
Release Date: 2013-10-24
Genre: Political Science

The subject of international security is never out of the headlines. The subjects of war and peace, military strategy, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and revisionist states remain central to the discussion, but burgeoning concerns such as climate change, migration, poverty, health, and international terrorism have complicated the field. So what really matters? The traditional prioritization of state security or the security needs of individuals, humanity, and the biosphere? And where do the problems lie? Are states themselves as much a part of the problem as the solution for people's security needs? With globalization, the international security environment has become more interdependent than ever before with the establishment of complex networks that make responding to and managing security challenges increasingly difficult, but increasingly necessary. This Very Short Introduction shows that international security is both vibrant and deeply contested, with stakeholders frequently in disagreement over questions of priority and approach. Christopher S. Browning outlines the nature of the key debates about contemporary international security challenges, and discusses the inherent difficulties that exist in tackling them. He also asks to what extent such debates are infused with questions of power, politics, justice, morality, and responsibility. 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 European Union A Very Short Introduction

Author: John Pinder
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191503948
Release Date: 2013-07-25
Genre: Political Science

Since the second edition of this popular Very Short Introduction published in 2007, the world has faced huge economic and political change. Showing how and why the EU has developed from 1950 to the present day, John Pinder and Simon Usherwood cover a range of topics, including the Union's early history, the workings of its institutions and what they do, the interplay between 'eurosceptics' and federalists, and the role of the Union beyond Europe in international affairs and as a peace-keeper. In this fully updated third edition, Pinder and Usherwood incorporate new material on the Lisbon treaty, the EU fiscal crisis, the state of the single Euro currency in its wake, and conclude by considering the future of the Union and the choices and challenges that may lie ahead. 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.

Climate A Very Short Introduction

Author: Mark Maslin
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 9780191653933
Release Date: 2013-06-27
Genre: Science

In this wide-ranging Very Short Introduction to climate, Mark Maslin considers all aspects of the global climate system, exploring and explaining the different components that control climate on Earth. He considers the processes that allow energy to reach the Earth and how it is redistributed around the planet by the ocean-atmosphere system; the relationship and differences between climate and the weather; how climate has affected life on Earth and human settlements; and the cyclic and quasi-cyclic features of climate such as the Milankovitch cycles and El Nino. He concludes by touching on the issue of climate change, and outlines some of the approaches that are now being taken to tackle it. 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.