"Growing up in London, I remember an old man with a sandwich board used to traipse up and down Piccadilly and Oxford Street. His message was simple, consistent, and...
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"[Y]ou leave “For the Love of Physics’’ feeling blessed, reminded of the tiny miracles happening all around you." -- Anthony Doerr, Boston Globe
The music of physics
"Of all the souls made famous by YouTube — Justin Bieber, those wedding entrance dancers, that guy who loses his mind while videotaping a double-rainbow — none is more deserving than MIT physics professor Walter Lewin. Lewin taught introductory physics at the university for more than three decades, and his lectures were intense, elegant, and perfectly orchestrated tributes to the harmonies of the physical world.
Lewin is 6 feet 2, silver-haired, and...
Preaching Doomsday: Living in the End Times
"A haunting and poetically rendered tale of a scrambled mind and the neurological roots of creativity." --New Scientist
From stroke survivor to compulsive artist
JON SARKIN was a successful chiropractor and dedicated husband before a tiny blood vessel shifted in his brain. The vessel swelled, pressing on his acoustic nerve, causing extreme tinnitus and an unbearable sensitivity to sound.
The condition was debilitating, so Sarkin elected to undergo risky brain surgery to fix it. The surgery was initially successful, but later complications caused Sarkin to suffer a massive stroke, which wreaked widespread havoc on his brain. When he emerged from a coma...
Book explores racial identification
"THE INVISIBLE LINE: Three American Families and the Secret Journey From Black to White.By Daniel J. Sharfstein. Penguin. 416 pages. $27.95.
Meticulously researched and beautifully written, "The Invisible Line" is a fascinating history of how three mixed-race families migrated across the color line and changed their racial identification from black to white.
The Gibsons, wealthy mulatto landowners in Colonial South Carolina, were white Southern aristocrats by the time of the Civil War.
The Walls, slave children freed by their white father, became respected members of the black middle class before giving...
Energy Deja Vu: Obama Must Break with Failed U.S. Policies
by Michael Graetz
Despite soaring rhetoric and some promising proposals, President Obama is repeating the same mistakes that have doomed U.S. energy policy to failure for 40 years. Until Obama and Congress finally put a true price on the fossil fuels America consumes, the U.S. will continue its addiction to foreign oil and domestic coal.
The weekend following President Obama's energy policy speech on March 30 and the White House's simultaneous release of its "Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future," many newspapers ran a cartoon by Jeff Stahler depicting the eight presidents from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama, each supplying one word of the refrain: "We must...
Apr 20, 2011 Authors: Peter Osnos Publisher(s): The Century Foundation "As a longtime publisher of what is known as “serious” nonfiction, I am acutely aware of how sensitive most authors are about book reviews. After extended periods of research and writing, it is unnerving to find your work in the hands of someone else to pass judgment. Authors of established distinction feel the sting of a critical review, or worse, being ignored, especially by the Sunday New York Times Book Review, which remains for many writers the arbiterne plus ultra. It is time—probably past time—to declare that traditional book reviews are no longer the dominant...
Apr 20, 2011
Authors: Peter Osnos
Publisher(s): The Century Foundation
"As a longtime publisher of what is known as “serious” nonfiction, I am acutely aware of how sensitive most authors are about book reviews. After extended periods of research and writing, it is unnerving to find your work in the hands of someone else to pass judgment. Authors of established distinction feel the sting of a critical review, or worse, being ignored, especially by the Sunday New York Times Book Review, which remains for many writers the arbiterne plus ultra. It is time—probably past time—to declare that traditional book reviews are no longer the dominant...
For a distinguished example of feature writing giving prime consideration to quality of writing, originality and concision, using any available journalistic tool, including text reporting, videos, databases, multimedia or interactive presentations or any combination of those formats, in print or online or both, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
Awarded to Amy Ellis Nutt of The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J., for her deeply probing story of the mysterious sinking of a commercial fishing boat in the Atlantic Ocean that drowned six men.
For a list of the other 2011 winners and finalists click here.
Jon Sarkin: When Brain Injuries Transform Into Art
Fresh Air from WHYY, April 18, 2011
"Jon Sarkin was working as a chiropractor when he suffered a massive stroke. Afterwards, the 35-year-old became a volatile visual artist with a ferocious need to create, as his brain tried to make sense of the world at large.
"[My artwork is] a manifestation of what happened to me," Sarkin tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I've learned how to visually represent my existential dilemma caused by my stroke."
Sarkin is the subject of Shadows Bright as Glass, a new book by science writer Amy Nutt. The book describes Sarkin's journey from happy-go-lucky doctor to manically-compulsive artist. It also raises larger questions about identity and what makes us each who we are.
"Is it memory? Is it...