On the shelf
What Tufts faculty are writing about
The Bioterrorism Source Book
In the event of a bioterrorist attack, primary care physicians “might be the first to spot the danger signs, and their knowledge and rapid action could be crucial for the nation,” Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said in 2002. This illustrated text prepares medical and public health officials for the unthinkable, and, after September 11, the possible. Michael Grey was involved in the response to the 2001 U.S. Postal Service anthrax attacks as well as a number of other local bioterrorism preparedness efforts, including the smallpox vaccination program that began in Connecticut in January 2002. Grey and Spaeth, his former student, provide concise and accessible advice to those community practitioners they call the “key sentinels in the nation’s public health system.” The book also discusses the need to bridge the gap that exists between clinical medicine and the U.S. public health infrastructure because mass casualty disasters are best managed by the combined resources of both.
Don’t Throw This Away! The Civil Engineering Life
If you keep your ties for so long, they start to curl up. If you think the Firth of Forth Rail Bridge is a dream vacation destination. If you evaluate infrastructure for your daughter’s hamsters. If you one-up your techno-nerd neighbor by offering to network his toilets, then this book is for you. Writing about what it’s like to be a civil engineer in the 21st century, Brenner’s collection of essays ranges from serious discussions of suburban sprawl and technology run amok to humorous accounts of packrat habits and engineering fashion.
Economics for Humans
Julie Nelson balked when her college adviser suggested she fulfill her social science requirement by taking an economics course. A Lutheran minister’s daughter, Nelson equated economics with greed, and, indeed, Adam Smith’s characterization of the economy as a cold and impersonal machine would appear to make the term “business ethics” an oxymoron. Nelson’s manifesto on uniting profit and the human heart argues that to the contrary, economies are vital, living systems that can, when driven by moral choices and social responsibility, contribute to the greater good.
Green Cities: Urban Growth and the Environment
Copious open space and public transit are just two signs that Portland, Ore., unlike, say, Houston, is “green.” But can ideas of what make a city green be quantified? Economist Kahn tackles this and other questions in the seemingly infinite “sprawl versus sustainable development” debate. In the process, he examines why economic development can be both friend and foe to urban environmental quality.
Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes
The renowned cosmologist’s vision of a universe populated by an infinite number of invisible regions inhabited by our doubles may sound like science fiction. But his first book for general readers explains how ideas that once occupied the realm of philosophy have made the transition to pure physics. Difficult ideas—including the quantum creation of the universe from nothing and the existence of primordial remnants stretched across space called “cosmic strings”—are presented in a lucid and entertaining style (there are even cartoons) that may ease the blow when readers catch on to Vilenkin’s conclusion that we’re not the center of the universe.
Pathfinders: A Global History of Exploration
If your knowledge of global exploration begins and ends with Columbus sailing the ocean blue, allow this ambitious yet accessible history to expand your world. From the migrations of Homo erectus out of East Africa a million and a half years ago to the late 20th-century discovery of new indigenous tribes in Brazil, the entire globe and the sweep of humanity’s time on earth are accounted for. Chapters such as “Stretching,” “Reaching” and “Deepening” underscore the human impulses of curiosity, ambition and desire for connection that, as much as political, economic and technological imperatives, propelled people to seek new worlds.
A Plausible God: Secular Reflections on Liberal Jewish Theology
At least since the 17th century, the traditional God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam has been under pressure to conform to the scientific world view. Across the monotheistic traditions there has emerged a “liberal” conception of God compatible with a thoroughgoing naturalism. For many, this liberal “new” God is the only credible God. The author poses this question to his readers: Is a God that a rational person can believe in a God worth believing in? Silver’s book evaluates the new God by analyzing the theology of three recent Jewish thinkers—Mordechai Kaplan, Michael Lerner and Arthur Green—and compares faith in the new God to disbelief in any gods. Silver reveals what is at stake in the choice between naturalistic liberal theology and a nontheistic naturalism without gods.