This spring, we’re publishing some exciting new titles across a range of disciplines. Where Are the Woman Architects? by Despina Stratigakos examines a male-dominated profession to uncover the causes for its dearth of women. Award-winning scientist and storyteller Sean B. Carroll takes us on a quest to discover the rules of regulation and their ramifications in The Serengeti Rules. If you’ve ever wondered about the secret lives of fireflies, then Silent Sparks by noted biologist Sara Lewis is the book for you. To see these titles and many more, check out our spring preview:
Check out our book trailer for The Little Big Number by Dirk Philipsen for an introduction to why the concept of GDP has become harmful in our modern world.
In one lifetime, GDP, or Gross Domestic Product, has ballooned from a narrow economic tool into a global article of faith. It is our universal yardstick of progress. As The Little Big Number demonstrates, this spells trouble. While economies and cultures measure their performance by it, GDP ignores central facts such as quality, costs, or purpose. It only measures output: more cars, more accidents; more lawyers, more trials; more extraction, more pollution—all count as success. Sustainability and quality of life are overlooked. Losses don’t count. GDP promotes a form of stupid growth and ignores real development.
How and why did we get to this point? Dirk Philipsen uncovers a submerged history dating back to the 1600s, climaxing with the Great Depression and World War II, when the first version of GDP arrived at the forefront of politics. Transcending ideologies and national differences, GDP was subsequently transformed from a narrow metric to the purpose of economic activity. Today, increasing GDP is the highest goal of politics. In accessible and compelling prose, Philipsen shows how it affects all of us.
But the world can no longer afford GDP rule. A finite planet cannot sustain blind and indefinite expansion. If we consider future generations equal to our own, replacing the GDP regime is the ethical imperative of our times. More is not better. As Philipsen demonstrates, the history of GDP reveals unique opportunities to fashion smarter goals and measures. The Little Big Number explores a possible roadmap for a future that advances quality of life rather than indiscriminate growth.
Dirk Philipsen is a German- and American-trained professor of economic history, senior fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, and a Duke Arts and Sciences Senior Research Scholar at Duke University. He is the author of We Were the People: Voices from East Germany’s Revolutionary Autumn of 1989. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.
From page 21 of Waterfowl of North America, Europe & Asia:
In family groups of geese and swans, you can easily differentiate between the father and mother. The father will stand slightly apart, staying alert for potential threats. The young stay close to the mother, frequently following her. When occasional conflicts break out, the males are more aggressive.
Waterfowl of North America, Europe & Asia
This is the ultimate guide for anyone who wants to identify the ducks, geese, and swans of North America, Europe, and Asia. With 72 stunning color plates (that include more than 920 drawings), over 650 superb photos, and in-depth descriptions, this book brings together the most current information on 84 species of Eurasian and North American waterfowl, and on more than 100 hybrids. The guide delves into taxonomy, identification features, determination of age and sex, geographic variations, measurements, voice, molt, and hybridization. In addition, the status of each species is treated with up-to-date details on distribution, population size, habitats, and life cycle. Color plates and photos are accompanied by informative captions and 85 distribution maps are also provided. Taken together, this is an unrivaled, must-have reference for any birder with an interest in the world’s waterfowl.
On Monday, February 1 Oliver Morton, author of The Planet Remade, will partner with Katherine Mangu-Ward at a lunch hosted by Future Tense to discuss the potential role of geoengineering in climate change in Washington D.C.. If you would like to attend, RSVP here. In the meantime, learn more about the topic on the Future Tense blog, excerpted here:
Geoengineering, the deliberate hacking of Earth’s climate, might be one of the most promising potential responses to climate change, especially in the absence of significant carbon emission reductions. It’s also one of the most controversial. We engineered our planet into our environmental crisis, but can we engineer our way out with a stratospheric veil against the sun, the cultivation of photosynthetic plankton, or fleets of unmanned ships seeding the clouds?
By Nick Higham
The BBC Earth website has just published a selection of short articles on beautiful mathematical equations and is asking readers to vote for their favourite.
I wondered if we had included these equations in The Princeton Companion to
Applied Mathematics (PCAM), specifically in Part III: Equations, Laws, and Functions of Applied Mathematics. We had indeed included the ones most
relevant to applied mathematics. Here are those equations, with links to the
- The wave equation (which quotes PCAM author Ian Stewart). PCAM has a short
article by Paul Martin of the same title (III.31), and the wave equation
appears throughout the book.
- Einstein’s field equation. PCAM has a 2-page article Einstein’s Field
Equations (note the plural), by Malcolm MacCallum (article III.10).
- The Euler-Lagrange equation. PCAM article III.12 by Paul Glendinning is about
these equations, and more appears in other articles, especially The
Calculus of Variations (IV.6), by Irene Fonseca and Giovanni Leoni.
- The Dirac equation. A 3-page PCAM article by Mark Dennis (III.9) describes
this equation and its quantum mechanics roots.
- The logistic map. PCAM article The logistic equation (III.19), by Paul
Glendinning treats this equation, in both differential and difference forms.
It occurs in several places in the book.
- Bayes’ theorem. This theorem appears in the PCAM article Bayesian Inference in Applied Mathematics (V.11), by Des Higham, and in other articles employing
A natural equation is: Are there other worthy equations that are the
subject of articles in Part III of PCAM that have not been included in the BBC
list? Yes! Here are some examples (assuming that only single equations are
allowed, which rules out the Cauchy-Riemann equations, for example).
- The Black-Scholes equation.
- The diffusion (or heat) equation.
- Laplace’s equation.
- The Riccati equation.
- Schrödinger’s equation.
This article is cross posted to Nick Higham’s blog.
Check out the Princeton Companion to Applied Math here.
The Princeton University Press “Best of 2015” list is a testament to those recent PUP titles that have resonated with a broad array of readers in prominent publications around the world. Congratulations to our authors. —Peter Dougherty
Browse the impressive selection of books that were honored in over 40 “Best of 2015” lists:
From page 197 of Birds of South America: Passerines:
Since November 2011, there have been six new species described by several authors that had not yet been accepted as valid by the South American Checklist Committee (SACC) by the publication of this book:
Roosevelt Stipple-Throated Antwren
Sucunduri Yellow-Margined Flycatcher
As of January 10, the Inambari Woodcreeper is the only species of these six that has been accepted by the SACC.
Birds of South America: Passerines
Ber van Perlo
This comprehensive field guide to the birds of South America covers all 1,952 passerine species to be found south of Panama, including offshore islands such as Trinidad, the Galapagos, and the Falklands, and the islands of the Scotia Arc leading to the Antarctic mainland. It features 197 stunning color plates and detailed species accounts that describe key identification features, habitat, songs, and calls. All plumages for each species are illustrated, including males, females, and juveniles. This easy-to-use guide is the essential travel companion for experienced birdwatchers and novice birders alike.