History & Philosophy of Science
Mann, Michael E. | The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars
First edition, first printing. Presentation copy inscribed on the front free endpaper, “3/24/2012, To John & Louis, thanks for all you’re doing, Michael Mann”.
This "important and disturbing account" of climate change science and politics is by leading researcher Michael Mann of Penn State’s Earth Science System Center (Kirkus Reviews).
Mann was the leader of the team that produced the 1999 “hockey stick graph” showing the dramatic rise in atmospheric temperature of the past century as compared with the previous thousand years. Mann’s work is central to the current understanding of anthropomorphic climate change, he has published four books and more than two hundred papers, and has been involved with numerous high-profile government and scientific organisations. Mann has also been on the receiving end of the climate change disinformation campaign, most notably in 2009 when his email was hacked and cherry-picked statements were released to make it look as though his results were fabricated. Following this, the Republican Attorney General of Virginia demanded, and was denied, access to his papers and Mann was also forced to sue several news organisations for defamation.
This volume covers the basics of climate science, Mann’s personal experiences in the field, including the development of the hockey stick graph, and the aggressive disinformation campaigns waged against climate scientists by fossil fuel companies, politicians, and the right-wing media.
...Dispatches from the Front Lines. New York: Columbia University Press, 2012.
Octavo. Original red boards, titles to spine in black. With the dust jacket. A fine copy in the jacket.
Mayr, Ernst | One Long Argument
First edition, first printing. Presentation copy inscribed by the author to his colleague John Maynard Smith on the title, “For John Maynard Smith, whose image of Darwin is very much like mine. In friendship and admiration, Ernst Mayr”.
Ernst Mayr (1904-2005) was an ornithologist and one of the 20th-century’s leading evolutionary biologists, a major contributor to the modern synthesis of Darwinian evolution, taxonomy, and genetics. His two great ideas — which have since influenced every aspect of modern biology — were the definition of the species as a population that can only breed within itself, rather than all morphologically similar individuals, and the corresponding theory of peripatric speciation, which explains that speciation occurs when populations of the same species are isolated from each other and evolve differently. Mayr is also credited with developing the modern philosophy of biology, and published a number of books on Darwin and the history and philosophy of evolutionary theories. The present volume is a popular distillation of Darwin’s key arguments and the way he and his supporters viewed evolution by natural selection.
The recipient of this volume, John Maynard Smith (1920-2004) was also a prominent evolutionary biologist. Originally an aeronautical engineer, he took a second degree in biology, studying fruit fly genetics under J. B. S. Haldane at the University of London. Smith was responsible for the application of modern mathematical ideas, in particular game theory, to the study of evolution, and made significant contributions to the modelling of sexual selection. Though they never worked closely together, Smith and Mayr were jointly awarded the Crafoord Prize jointly with George C. Williams.
...Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991.
Octavo. Original green cloth, black cloth backstrip, titles to spine gilt, buff endpapers. With the dust jacket. Illustrations within the text. Spine rolled, cloth very lightly rubbed at the extremities. An excellent copy in the lightly rubbed jacket with minor partial fading and scratches to the lower panel and a few nicks and short closed tears.
Nice, Margaret Morse | Research is a Passion with Me
First edition, first printing of the autobiography of ornithologist Margaret Morse Nice (1883-1974), who was credited by Konrad Lorenz with “founding the science of ethology” (Ogilvie p. 939). A beautiful copy, uncommon in such nice condition.
Despite early setbacks — a father who disapproved of careers for women and the abandonment her doctorate after marriage — Nice successfully pursued her interest in ornithology. Prompted by a proposal to expand Oklahoma hunting season, she began studying the nesting habits of mourning doves, and was soon publishing articles on many local species. Together with her husband, Nice published the first comprehensive survey of the birds of Oklahoma. After moving to Ohio she became interested in song sparrows, and “an invention of hers made it possible to recognize individual birds in the field. Although other ornithologists marked birds with numbered leg bands to study migration patterns of populations, Nice used colored celluloid bands to identify individual birds in the field” and so study their behaviour (Ogilvie, pp. 939-940). As Konrad Lorenz writes in the introduction to this volume, the resulting paper was “a major break-through in the methods of studying animal behaviour... the first long-term field investigation of the individual life of any free-living wild animal”.
The paper received international acclaim, and Nice made strong contacts with European researchers. She worked with Lorenz during trips overseas in the 1930s, reviewed European papers, and translated foreign research for American publications. Nice was horrified by conditions on the Continent following the Second World War, and organised relief efforts from American ornithologists. She was also active in environmental causes, and worked to prevent the development of important natural sites such as Dinosaur National Monument and the Whichita National Wildlife Refuge.
...Forward by Konrad Lorenz. Toronto: The Margaret Morse Nice Ornithological Club and Consolidated Amethyst Communications Inc., 1979.
Octavo. Original brown cloth blocked and white and black. With the dust jacket. Portrait frontispiece, illustrated title with a bird design matching that of the jacket and cloth, headpiece to each chapter, illustrations throughout the text. A superb, fresh copy in the jacket with minor rubbing at the extremities and a small pen impression to the lower panel.
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.
Watson, James D. | The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA
- First edition, first printing and an unusually attractive copy in the bright dust jacket. The Double Helix is one of the most significant first-hand accounts of the scientific process written during the 20th-century. With "Pepys-like frankness," Watson describes science as it actually happens, including the frustrations, dead-ends, and gritty political battles on the path to intellectual glory. Richard Feynman praised Watson's account, writing that, "He has described admirably how it feels to have that frightening and beautiful experience of making a great scientific discovery".
The Double Helix is also significant for Watson’s unashamed belittling of chemist Rosalind Franklin — whose work formed the basis for the determination of DNA’s structure — calling her by the nickname Rosy, which she had never used, and describing her appearance and behaviour in profoundly sexist ways.
- New York: Atheneum, 1968. Octavo. Original blue boards, titles to spine gilt and to upper board in blind, red endpapers, top edge yellow. With the dust jacket. Contemporary photocopied review loosely inserted. Spine very slightly rolled, some small spots to the top edge of the text block, just a little fading and rubbing at the extremities of the cloth. An excellent copy in the bright, price-clipped dust jacket with a very small chip near the top of the spine panel and a little minor rubbing and some minuscule nicks at the edges.
Whitrow, G. J. | The Natural Philosophy of Time
- First edition, first impression of this key work by the cosmologist and historian of science, J. G. Whitrow (1912-2000). Here Whitrow rejects the compartmentalization of time studies, arguing that time's scientific, philosophical, historical, and physiological aspects must be considered together. He presents the first comprehensive account of time theories through history and also states his own philosophical position on time and consciousness.
- London & Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd., 1961. Octavo. Original black cloth, titles to spine gilt, blue top-stain. With the dust jacket. Minor bump to upper corner, minor crease to preliminaries and faint spot to title. An excellent, fresh copy in the price-clipped jacket that is a little rubbed and frayed at the edges with some nicks and small chips.
Wootton, Barbara | In a World I Never Made
Second impression. Presentation copy inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper, “Ted Willis, with love, B. W., December 1976” and additionally signed by the author on the title.
Wootton (1897-1988) was a prominent, left-leaning London University sociologist and economist who, in addition to her respected academic work, “served on four royal commissions and innumerable committees, was a governor of the BBC, and was a magistrate for forty years” (Ogilvie, Biographical Dictionary of Women in Science, p. 1400). “One of her most important academic works was published in 1959 and resulted from five years of research. In this work she reversed commonly accepted ideas about the criminal personality, juvenile delinquency, inherited behaviour trends, and problems of illegitimacy” (Ogilvie, p. 1400).
While the identify of the recipient is not known for sure, it may have been Baron Willis (1914-1992), the playwright, screenwriter, and active supporter of the Labour Party who was made a life peer just a few years after Wootton.
...Autobiographical Reflections. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1967.
Octavo. Original green cloth, titles to spine gilt on black ground, With the dust jacket. Small black mark to the cloth of the upper board, a few light spots to the edges of the text block. A very good copy in the rubbed, creased, and price-clipped jacket with a few small spots on the lower panel and an over-price sticker on the front flap.