Mickens, Ronald E. | Difference Equations
First edition first printing. An attractive presentation copy inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “To Claudia, for the joy and beauty of science [smiley face] Ronald E. Mickens, Feb. 20, 1989”. Rare signed and with the stylish jacket in such nice condition.
Ronald E. Mickens (1943 - ) “is a physicist who has advanced the general understanding of the role that pure mathematics can play in science. He is perhaps best known for his work on difference equations – a type of equation that is now considered fundamental to the development of chaos theory” (Krapp, Notable Black American Scientists, p. 229).
In an interview with the American Physical Society Mickens has described how, “Even at two or three years of age, I was curious about the ‘workings’ of the universe and of the human mind”. His maternal grandfather introduced him to the scientific outlook, and his childhood in a farming community provided opportunities to see science in action: “There was an implicit scientific understanding involved in all these processes, [picked up] just from working the farm”. Mickens went on to earn his bachelor’s in physics at Fisk University and his PhD at Vanderbilt in 1968, then studied particle physics as a postdoctoral researcher at MIT.
Mickens has had an extensive teaching career at institutions including Fisk, Clark Atlanta University, Howard University, MIT, and Vanderbilt. He has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards allowing him to study a wide range of topics, including “nonlinear equations, numerical analysis, mathematical biology, and the history and sociology of science” (Krapp), on which he has published more than 170 papers and five books. Mickens’s most recent research projects have focused on mathematical models for epidemiology and vibrations and oscillations in materials science. As he told the APS, “There’s really no area of physics that doesn’t have real world applications... Even if it seems like the applications for something aren’t too significant, you still have the satisfaction of dealing with a challenging problem and making progress with it”.
“Ron is also deeply involved in documenting African American contributions to science and technology. He has already written a biography of Edward Bouchet, the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in any subject—it happened to be physics. He continues to research and write a biographical work on Elmer Imes, the second African American to earn a Ph.D. in physics” (APS interview). He has served as historian of the National Society of Black Physicists and was one of the founders of the National Conference of Black Physics Students.
New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1987.
Octavo. Original black boards, titles to spine in silver. With the dust jacket. Equations and graphs throughout the text. Small bump to the edge of the upper board also affecting the jacket. Faint partial toning of the pastedowns. An excellent, fresh copy in the jacket that is just a little rubbed and faded along the spine panel.
Turner, Ethel M. | Teaching Aids for Elementary Mathematics
First edition, first printing of this book of cutting edge teaching aids by the African American mathematics professor Ethel M. Turner.
Turner earned both her MA and doctoral degree in education at Columbia University, then became chairman of the Department of Mathematics at Cheyney State College, now Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, the first of the Historically Black Universities in the United States (Sammons, Blacks in Science and Medicine, p. 235). She published several books on mathematical education, with this one geared toward early learning.
As she writes in the preface, “This book is offered as a sourcebook of teaching aids and ideas for the elementary teacher... In the face of the current revolution in mathematics education, educators have been forced to examine the school curriculum. This examination has brought new topics and ideas into the content of courses. Also, subject matter that had for years been reserved for the high school curriculum, has found its way into the elementary school... The traditional content is now in a new framework. Its philosophy has been centered on teaching through the ‘discovery’ approach, which emphasizes learning mathematics through the study of patterns and structure. Consequently, those teachers who have considered arithmetic only as ‘number work’ must restructure their thinking on the meaning and significance of mathematics education. They must teach more than computation. Other aspects to be stressed are conceptual learnings, seeing relationships and developing reasoning, Also, mathematics should be shown as a way of thinking, an art or form of beauty, and as human enrichment.”
The lessons offered here cover a variety of elementary mathematical concepts in original and engaging ways, often as simple games and puzzles. Among them are “Climbing the Steps to the Fairy Castle” to review fundamental operations and learn to carry the ten; “Mathematical Cookie Cutters” to “increase interest in mathematical activities, to review knowledge of symbols, and to relate mathematics to the world of industrial arts”; the Sieve of Eratosthenes to find prime numbers; a lesson on applying the Fibonacci sequence to botanical life; constructing “Jesse’s Rods” (based on Napier’s bones); lessons on ancient numeration systems, including Egyptian, Greek, Hebrew and “a Roman boy’s arithmetic” and medieval algorithms for addition and multiplication, all of which could be incorporated into history lessons; magic squares; mathematical “crisscross puzzles” similar to crosswords; using points on graphs to create pictures; and even instructions for creating a Moebius Strip.
Of particular interest are the lessons dealing with computing: deciphering binary code on punched paper tape; using algorithms for cryptanalysis; and a lesson on “some uses of computers”: “counting and tabulating, such as votes, census figures... (UNIVAC)”, “handling telephone calls (AUDREY)”, “bookkeeping for bank accounts (ERMA)”, “detecting planes and missiles (SAGE)” and, in what may be the greatest understatement in all of mathematical education, “working out details for constructing new weapons (ENIAC)”.
New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1966.
Octavo. Original white wrappers printed with a design of numbers and geometric shapes in colour. Colour illustrations and diagrams throughout. Inked-out signature and pencil erasures to the front free endpaper. Wrappers a little rubbed and toned, with some small spots and a crease to the upper wrapper, which is also a little curled from use. Contents clean and fresh. A very good copy.
Tyson, Neil deGrasse | Death by Black Hole
Sixth printing, published in the same year as the first. Presentation copy inscribed by the author in elaborate calligraphy on the half title, “To: Ravonne, Welcome to the Universe, Neil D. Tyson, May 2007”. Uncommon signed. The present volume is a collection of forty-two essays originally published in Tyson’s “Universe” column in Natural History Magazine between 1995 and 2005.
Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s (1958 - ) interest in astronomy began during childhood, when he viewed the Moon’s surface through a friend’s binoculars. Tyson studied at Harvard, the University of Texas, and Columbia, then joined the faculty of Princeton, where “many students found him a particularly inspiring professor” (Krapp, Notable Black American Scientists, p. 304). His academic research has been focused on cosmology, particularly star births and supernovae, and the structure of the Milky Way and other galaxies.
Throughout his career Tyson has also been focused on sharing astronomy with the general public, leading to him becoming one of the world’s most famous scientists. Since 1996 he has been the director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York; written columns in popular magazines; published sixteen books; become a popular figure on Twitter; and hosted several television shows, including the 2004 PBS series Origins and the 2014 reboot of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. His reputation, however, has been affected by rape and sexual harassment allegations made public by fellow graduate student Thchiya Amet El Maat, professor Katelyn Allers, former assistant Ashley Watson, and an anonymous woman in late 2018.
...and Other Cosmic Quandaries. New York & London: W. W. Norton & Company, 2007.
Octavo. Original yellow boards, black paper backstrip, titles to spine gilt. With the dust jacket. A little light rubbing at the edges, minor bump to the upper corner of the boards. An excellent copy in the jacket with a little creasing at the head of the spine panel and a minor vertical crease near the top of the spine panel.
Wang, Chi Che | The Chemistry of Chinese Preserved Eggs and Chinese Edible Birds' Nests
A lovely copy of the rare offprint of the dissertation of Chinese-American biochemist and civic activist Chi Che Wang (1894 - 1979). WorldCat locates only one copy, in the Bibliothèque Nationale.
“Wang received her bachelor’s degree from Wesley College in 1914 and came to Chicago to attend the University of Chicago, where she received a Master’s degree in chemistry in 1916 and a Ph.D. in nutrition and chemistry in 1918. Soon after her arrival, Chi Che helped found the Chicago Chinese Women’s Club, a group with which she remained active for a decade. After teaching for several years at the University of Chicago, she became a department head conducting medical research for Michael Reese Hospital. Due to the importance of her work, she was elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1922.
Between 1931 and 1940, Chi Che lived in Cincinnati where she researched children’s metabolism. In 1943, she accepted a position as assistant professor of physiology at the Northwestern University Medical School. In this position, she specialized in the study of nephrosis in children, and her research headquarters were at Children’s Memorial Hospital. She left Chicago to work for the Mayo Clinic, but returned several years later when she accepted a position with the Hines Veterans Administration Hospital. Among many civic efforts in which she participated, she provided clinical laboratory demonstrations for the Woman’s World’s Fair in Chicago.” (biography on the website of Chi Che Wang Park Advisory Council, Chicago).
Wang’s research, “resulting in numerous publications, was on the chemistry of biological fluids, food products, energy, mineral and protein metabolism of obese and undernourished children and adults” (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, p. 1345). She was a member of numerous professional organisations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society of Biological Chemists.
...A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculty of the Ogden Graduate School of Science in candidacy for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Chemistry. Private Edition, Distributed by the University of Chicago Libraries. Reprinted from the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol. XLIX, No. 2, December, 1921. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Libraries, 1921.
26 page pamphlet, wire-stitched. Original grey wrappers printed in black. Small pencil mark emphasising the author’s name. Edges of wrappers a little toned. An excellent, fresh copy.
McKinney, Roscoe Lewis | Studies on Fibers in Tissue Culture III
The rare offprint of the dissertation of the first Black American to earn a doctorate in anatomy, a presentation copy inscribed by the author to his doctoral advisor on the upper wrapper, “To Dr. W. Bloom with my best regards, Roscoe L. McKinney”. WorldCat locates only three institutional copies: at Duke University, the University of Chicago, and the Bibliothèque Nationale. Together with another offprint of the same paper, from Abdruck aus Archiv für Experimentelle Zellforschung besonders Gewebezüchtung, with McKinney’s pencilled ownership signature to the upper wrapper.
Roscoe L. McKinney (1900-1978) earned his bachelor’s degree from Bates College in 1921 and then worked as a biology professor, first at Morehouse and then at Howard University, where his department head was the famed zoologist Ernest Everett Just.
McKinney’s doctoral work was done at the University of Chicago where, with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, “he became involved in tissue culture studies under the late Alexander Maximow and later under professor William Bloom. Illustrations and citations of work contained in his PhD thesis there were later included in several succeeding editions of the Textbook of Histology by Maximow and Bloom” (obituary in the Journal of the National Medical Association, volume 71, number 5, May 1979).
After completing his doctorate, McKinney founded the Howard University anatomy department and was its chairman between 1930 and 1947, concurrently serving as vice-dean of the College of Medicine. During the 1950s and 60s he spent significant time overseas, first as a Fulbright fellow at the Royal College of Medicine in Baghdad, then as an instructor at the Osmania Medical College of Hyderbad. He worked as a consultant in anatomy at the University of Saigon during the height of the Vietnam War, between 1969 and 1971.
The recipient of this offprint, McKinney’s advisor William Bloom (1899-1972), was a prominent histologist, “well-known for his research on cells of connective tissue and their interrelationships; the ionizing radiation on cells and tissues; and the development of clinical hematology. He developed apparatus for pinpointing small parts of cells, including chromosomes, with beams of ionizing or ultra-violet radiations... He was also part of the Manhattan Project, where he studied the effects of radiation on cells” (finding aid for the William Bloom Papers, University of Chicago Library, 2009).
...The Development of Reticulum into Collagenous Fibers in Cultures of Adult Rabbit Lymph Nodes (with Five Figures and Two Plates). A Dissertation Submitted to the Graduate Faculty in Candidacy for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Department of Anatomy, 1930. Reprinted from Arch. für Experimentelle Zellforschung IX: 14-35. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago, 1929.
25 page pamphlet. Original grey wrappers printed in black. 4 colour plates, 5 illustrations from microphotographs within the text. Closed tears to the wrappers at the head and tail of spine, light toning and dulling at the edges of the wrappers, a few light marks, contents faintly toned. Very good condition.
Together with another offprint of the paper as published in English in a German journal in the same year. The German offprint in good condition, the wrappers separated and chipped.
Jemison, Mae | Find Where the Wind Goes. Moments from My Life.
First edition, first printing of an autobiography for young readers by the first Black woman to travel into space. Signed by the author on the front free endpaper in metallic blue ink. A beautiful, fresh copy and rare signed.
Born in Alabama in 1956 and raised in Chicago, Jemison was interested in science and space from an early age, but felt frustrated by the absence of female astronauts in the space program. In 1977 she graduated from Stanford with two undergraduate degrees, in chemical engineering and African and Afro-American studies, and then earned her M.D. from Cornell. During and after medical school she studied in Cuba and Kenya, worked in a refugee camp in Thailand, and served for two and a half years as a Peace Corps medical officer in Sierra Leone and Liberia (Krapp, Notable Black American Scientists, p. 177).
Though Jemison opened a private practice in 1985, she was inspired by the space flights of Guion Bluford and Sally Ride to pursue her childhood dream of becoming an astronaut. She first applied to the astronaut training program shortly before the Challenger disaster, which halted the NASA recruitment process, but on reapplying the following year she was selected as one of only 15 candidates from a pool of 2,000, becoming the first Black woman admitted to astronaut training.
“After more than a year of training, she became an astronaut with the title of science-mission specialist, a job which would make her responsible for conducting crew-related scientific experiments on the space shuttle” (Krapp). Jemison’s mission, STS-47 aboard the Endeavour, took off on September 12th, 1992 and lasted for 190 hours. During that time Jemison was responsible for research on managing motion sickness and anxiety; the production of sterile saline solution for medical use in space; bone cell studies; and an investigation of frog reproduction and development.
“After leaving NASA in 1993, Jemison established the Jemison Group, Inc., a private organisation founded to integrate socially responsible principles with technology,” (Spangenburg, African Americans in Science, Math and Invention, p. 132) and she has taught at Dartmouth and Cornell.
New York: Scholastic Press, 2001.
Octavo. Original purple boards, cloth backstrip, and endpapers, title to spine in metallic blue. With the dust jacket. Portrait frontispiece, 4 double-sided plates from photographs. Just a tiny bump affecting the lower edge of the upper board. An excellent, fresh copy in the jacket with just a little light rubbing visible in raking light.
Leffall, LaSalle D. | No Boundaries. A Cancer Surgeon's Odyssey.
First edition, first printing of the autobiography of one of the world’s leading cancer surgeons. Presentation copy inscribed by the author to columnist William Safire on the title, “To Bill Safire, with best wishes & thanks for all you do for so many at Dana and the New York Times, Lasalle D. Leffall, 9/27/06.”
LaSalle D. Leffall (1930-2019) graduated first in his class from the Howard University School of Medicine and served as a senior fellow in cancer surgery at Memorial Sloane-Kettering, which he chose because “I thought surgery was the most dynamic field” and “Memorial Sloane-Kettering was using some of the most exciting techniques” (Krapp, Notable Black American Scientists, p. 205). In 1962 he joined the faculty of Howard, rising to chair of the department of surgery only eight years later.
Leffall “focused on clinical studies of cancer of the breast, colorectum, head, and neck,” publishing more than 116 journal articles across his career. He became the first Black president of the American Cancer Society in 1978, and “used this national forum to emphasize the problems of cancer in minorities, holding the first conference on cancer among Black Americans in February 1979” (Krapp). Leffalle also served as the first Black president of the American College of Surgeons, was a visiting professor at more than 200 institutions, and received numerous awards. In 1996 Howard University established an endowed chair in surgery in his name.
Bill Safire (1929-2009) began his career as a public relations executive before joining the Nixon campaign in 1960, working as a speechwriter for both Nixon and Agnew. In 1978 he began a nearly thirty year-long career as a New York Times political columnist. Lefall’s mention of “Dana” in the inscription references the Charles A. Dana Foundation, a private charity supporting brain research, of which Safire was chief executive and chairman and Leffalle a member of the board of directors. This copy of No Boundaries was inscribed to Safire at a Dana Foundation event, “Can Immunology Help Win the War on Cancer?” at which Leffall was one of the panellists, and which was followed by a reception and signing to celebrate the book’s publication.
Washington D. C.: Howard University Press, 2005.
Octavo. Original black boards, titles to spine gilt. With the dust jacket. 8 double-sided plates from photographs. Only the lightest rubbing and a few minor creases to the jacket. A superb, fresh copy.
Skloot, Rebecca | The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
First edition, first printing. A superb copy, signed and dated “3/29/10” by the author on the half title.
In 1951 Henrietta Lacks, a 31-year-old African American woman, died of ovarian cancer at Johns Hopkins. Unbeknownst to herself or her family, doctors used her biopsy to culture a line of cells that revolutionised medicine. Previously, no human cell culture had survived for more than a few days in the laboratory, seriously limiting their usefulness to research. Lacks’s cultures, however, survived for weeks, then months, and eventually decades, becoming essentially immortal. Dubbed “HeLa”, they are now mass produced and have been used to study almost every major medical question of the last seventy years. HeLa cells have been key to the development of vaccines, including the Salk polio vaccine; to identifying and treating AIDS and other emerging diseases; to our understanding of cell biology, genetics, and ageing; and in the development of medications for a range of illnesses.
But this scientific success has a darker side. There are serious concerns about how Lacks’s race affected her medical care and the treatment of her family by the scientific community. Neither Lacks nor any of her relatives provided informed consent for her cells to be retained and studied, much less for them to become a multi-million dollar industry over which they have no control. And her descendants fear the privacy implications of their genome being made public.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks approaches the HeLa cells from this perspective, and is based on nearly a decade of personal interviews and archival research. Skloot focuses in particular on Lacks’s daughter, Deborah, who spent years fighting for access to the full story of her mother’s cells and to ensuring that her life and legacy would be honoured. The book also situates Lacks within the wider context of racism in medicine, and how Black women’s bodies have frequently been co-opted for the benefit of white doctors and patients. Now considered a key work of popular science writing, it spent 75 weeks on the New York Times best seller list and received numerous awards, including the Wellcome Trust Book Prize and the National Academies Best Book of the Year Award.
New York: Crown Publishers, 2010.
Octavo. Original red boards, titles to spine gilt. With the dust jacket. Illustrated title and chapter titles, 8 pages of illustrations from photographs. A fine copy in the jacket.
Thomas, Dorothy Swaine & Richard S. Nishimoto | The Spoilage
First edition, first printing of this important work on the internment of Japanese citizens during the Second World War. Presentation copy inscribed by Thomas on the front free endpaper, “With deep appreciation and sincere regard — Dorothy Swaine Thomas” and also signed by co-author Richard S. Nishimoto.
Almost as soon as Japanese internment was begun “a group of University of California social scientists, sensing the enormity of the outrage, organized in 1942 to record and analyze the causes, legal and social consequences, and long-term effects of the detention program. The Spoilage, one of a series of books which resulted, analyzes the experiences of that part of the detained group-some 18,000 in total-whose response was to renounce America as a homeland; it shows the steps by which these "disloyal" citizens were inexorably pushed toward the disaster of denationalization. Essentially the result of years of research by participant observers of Japanese ancestry, it is a factual record of enduring value to the student of America's troubled ethnic relations” (University of California Press)
Richard Shigeaki Nishimoto (1904-56) was born in Japan in 1904 and immigrated to the US with his parents at age 17. He earned an engineering degree at Stanford in 1929, but struggled to find work due to anti-Japanese prejudice. Nishimoto was “probably the most cited Issei author who wrote on the camps in English—specifically on the WRA camp known as Tule Lake. Educated in both Japan and the USA, Nishimoto distinguished himself as the only Issei to be employed full-time as a researcher for the Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement Study (JERS). He was also the only Japanese American co-author of any of the JERS publications, authoring The Spoilage (1946) with JERS director Dorothy S. Thomas. Besides being an Issei, Nishimoto was atypical of JERS researchers in that he was an active community leader in Poston , and thus drew from a unique point of view as both an 'insider,' and an 'analytic' observer" (Densho Encyclopedia).
...Japanese American Evacuation and Resettlement. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1946.
Octavo. Original red cloth, titles to spine and upper board gilt. With the dust jacket. 2 photographic plates, charts and diagrams within the text. Damp spots to the faded spine, partial fading of the boards, contents toned. A very good copy in the rubbed and partially toned jacket with three vertical creases from folding.