Little, Brown, $27.99
What happens to information that’s sucked into a black hole? For three decades, Stanford physics professor Susskind tussled with Cambridge physicist Stephen Hawking over the latter’s assertion that the information disappears, in violation of a central principle of quantum mechanics. The nature of the disagreement—a debate between two of the field’s greatest minds—struck at the core of our understanding of the nature of the universe. The issue was resolved when Hawking publicly conceded the point in 2004.
Karan Mahajan, ’05
Harper Perennial, $13.95
Uncompleted overpasses and constipated Delhi traffic provide metaphors for household chaos in Mahajan’s impressive debut novel. Rakesh Ahuja, an engineer and government (dys)functionary, has been agile with the everyday frustrations and humiliations of life, but now his pubescent son Arjun—the eldest of his 13 children—is holding up a mirror to his father’s secrets.
William Cullen Bryant: Author of America
Gilbert H. Muller, MA ’66, PhD ’67
State U. of New York Press, $30
Poet and New-York Evening Post editor Bryant was “an influential voice of liberal democracy” in the nation and a proponent of much that turned New York City into a gilded Gotham. CUNY professor emeritus Muller finds Bryant to be a warmer character than previously depicted.
The Public Life of the Fetal Sonogram: Technology, Consumption, and the Politics of Reproduction
Janelle S. Taylor, ’87
Rutgers U. Press, $22.95
Medical anthropologist Taylor examines what “baby’s first photograph” has wrought in America, not the least of which is a new obstetrical industry that employs 40,000 “sonographers,” most of them women. Ultrasound is a field where cultural contradictions meet, where “the fetus is in fact ‘commodified’ at the same time and through the same means that it is ‘personified.’”
Money Well Spent: A Strategic Plan for Smart Philanthropy
Paul Brest and Hal Harvey, ’82, MA ’85
Bloomberg Press, $27.95
Brest, president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and former Law School dean, and Harvey, president of ClimateWorks Foundation, offer an example-laden handbook that says charity must be as strategic as any other business decision. They warn: “All ambitious philanthropy is risky. A sound strategy makes success possible; its absence virtually ensures failure.”
The Price of Everything: A Parable of Possibility and Prosperity
Princeton U. Press, $24.95
In this layperson-friendly economics lesson, Roberts imagines a Stanford provost and an earnest Cuban-American student-athlete who disagree about whether the Big Box store should charge double for flashlights after an earthquake. A Hoover fellow and a professor at George Mason University, the author makes a surprisingly romantic case that pricing is the invisible hand that runs the universe.
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The Effort Effect
Seeing at the Speed of Sound
Let Me Introduce Myself
Dunder Mifflin Going Out of Business
Data is from the past two weeks.