Tag Archives: Popular Science

Algorithms to Live By

A fascinating exploration of how insights from computer algorithms can be applied to our everyday lives, helping to solve common decision-making problems and illuminate the workings of the human mind

All our lives are constrained by limited space and time, limits that give rise to a particular set of problems. What should we do, or leave undone, in a day or a lifetime? How much messiness should we accept? What balance of new activities and familiar favorites is the most fulfilling? These may seem like uniquely human quandaries, but they are not: computers, too, face the same constraints, so computer scientists have been grappling with their version of such issues for decades. And the solutions they’ve found have much to teach us.

In a truly interdisciplinary work, author Brian Christian and cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths show how the algorithms used by computers can also untangle very human questions. They explain how to have better hunches and when to leave things to chance, how to deal with overwhelming choices and how best to connect with others. From finding a spouse to finding a parking spot, from organizing one’s inbox to understanding the workings of memory, Algorithms to Live By transforms the wisdom of computer science into strategies for human living.

If you’re interested to borrow a copy of this book, you can find it in the Popular Science collection at Lee Wee Nam Library level 4 (Call number BF39.C555). You can view more details about it on the library catalogue.

Stuff Matters: The Strange Stories of the Marvellous Materials

Title : Stuff matters: the strange stories of the marvellous materials that shape our man-made world
Author : Mark Miodownik
Publisher : Viking, 2013
Call number (Location): TA403.2.M669 (Lee Wee Nam Library, Popular Science), TA403.2.M669s (Library Outpost)
Availability : Click here !
Ebook access (via *Overdrive)


“Why is glass see-through? What makes elastic stretchy? Why does a paper clip bend? Why does any material look and behave the way it does? With clarity and humor, materials scientist Mark Miodownik answers all the questions you’ve ever had about your pens, spoons, and razor blades, while also introducing a whole world full of materials you’ve never even heard of: the diamond five times the size of Earth; concrete cloth that can be molded into any shape …
Source: Publisher

*Overdrive: Browse and discover our growing collection of ebook and audiobook titles (fiction and non-fiction) on overdrive.

Popular Science – The Brilliant 10 of 2016


Popular Science honours the 10 most innovative young minds in science and engineering in 2016.

Listed below are their game-changing ideas:

  1. William Ratcliff: The Man Who Solves The Mysteries Of Evolution
  2. Siddharth Garg: The Man Who Defends Hardware From Hackers
  3. Danielle Bassett: The Woman Who Reimagines How The Brain Works
  4. Conor Walsh: The Man Who Designs Soft Robotic Suits For Superhuman Stamina
  5. Suchi Saria: The Woman Who Predicts Septic Shock And Other Health Outcomes
  6. Konstantin Batygin: The Man Whose Models Revealed A Possible Ninth Planet In Our Solar System
  7. Cigall Kadoch: The Woman Who Targets Cancer-Causing Mechanisms
  8. John Gunnar Carlsson: The Man Who Reroutes The World Using Geometry
  9. Shyam Gollakota: The Man Who Powers Devices With Wi-Fi
  10. Liangfang Zhang: The Man Who Smuggles Nanodrugs Past The Body’s Defenses

For more information, please click here.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks


Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells – taken without her knowledge in 1951 – became  one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more.

Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance.

This New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.

If you’re interested to read a copy of this book, you can find it as an e-book on the OverDrive platform which NTU Libraries subscribes to. You can also borrow the physical copy from the Lee Wee Nam Library level 4 (Call number RC265.6.L24S628 ). You can view more details about it on the library catalogue.

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson on UFOs

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson talks about what he really thinks about UFOs. Not to be taken too seriously of course but he does make some good points on thinking about believing in them.

If you’re interested to read more about UFOs, NTU Library does have some books regarding the topic of UFOs:

A World of UFOs

Flying saucers and science : a scientist investigates the mysteries of UFOs : interstellar travel, crashes, and government cover-ups

UFOs and Popular Culture : An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Mythology

The Power of Habit : Why we do what we do in life and business

Title : The Power of Habit : Why we do what we do in life and business

Author : Charles Duhigg

Publisher : Random House, 2012

Location : HSS Library

Call number : BF335.D871

Availability : Click here !


A young woman walks into a laboratory. Over the past two years, she has transformed almost every aspect of her life. She has quit smoking, run a marathon, and been promoted at work. The patterns inside her brain, neurologists discover, have fundamentally changed.

Marketers at Procter & Gamble study videos of people making their beds. They are desperately trying to figure out how to sell a new product called Febreze, on track to be one of the biggest flops in company history. Suddenly, one of them detects a nearly imperceptible pattern—and with a slight shift in advertising, Febreze goes on to earn a billion dollars a year.

An untested CEO takes over one of the largest companies in America. His first order of business is attacking a single pattern among his employees—how they approach worker safety—and soon the firm, Alcoa, becomes the top performer in the Dow Jones.

What do all these people have in common? They achieved success by focusing on the patterns that shape every aspect of our lives.

They succeeded by transforming habits.
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Magical Mathematics : new Popular Science title

Title : Magical mathematics : the mathematical ideas that animate great magic tricks

Author : Persi Diaconis and Ron Graham

Publisher : Princeton University Press, 2012

Location : Lee Wee Nam Library, Popular Science (Level 4)

Call number : GV1549.D536

Availability : Click here !


“Magical Mathematics reveals the secrets of amazing, fun-to-perform card tricks–and the profound mathematical ideas behind them–that will astound even the most accomplished magician. Persi Diaconis and Ron Graham provide easy, step-by-step instructions for each trick, explaining how to set up the effect and offering tips on what to say and do while performing it.

Each card trick introduces a new mathematical idea, and varying the tricks in turn takes readers to the very threshold of today’s mathematical knowledge. For example, the Gilbreath principle–a fantastic effect where the cards remain in control despite being shuffled–is found to share an intimate connection with the Mandelbrot set. Other card tricks link to the mathematical secrets of combinatorics, graph theory, number theory, topology, the Riemann hypothesis, and even Fermat’s last theorem. Diaconis and Graham are mathematicians as well as skilled performers with decades of professional experience between them.” – Source : Publisher.
Cover image from: Syndetics Solutions, Inc.

Diversity & Complexity : new title in Popular Science collection

Title : Diversity and Complexity

Author : Scott E. Page

Publisher : Princeton University Press, 2011

Location : Lee Wee Nam Library, Popular Science (Level 4)

Call number : HM701.P133

Availability : Click here !


Scott Page gives a concise primer on how diversity happens, how it is maintained, and how it affects complex systems.
He explains how diversity underpins system level robustness, allowing for multiple responses to external shocks and internal adaptations; how it provides the seeds for large events by creating outliers that fuel tipping points; and how it drives novelty and innovation. Page looks at the different kinds of diversity–variations within and across types, and distinct community compositions and interaction structures–and covers the evolution of diversity within complex systems and the factors that determine the amount of maintained diversity within a system. Source : from the back cover of book
Table of Contents:
Prelude: The Meaning of Diversity
Chapter 1: On Diversity and Complexity
Chapter 2: Measuring Diversity
Chapter 3: The Creation and Evolution of Diversity
Chapter 4: Constraints on Diversity
Chapter 5: Variation in Complex Systems
Chapter 6: Diversity’s Inescapable Benefits I : Averaging
Chapter 7: Diversity’s Inescapable Benefits II : Diminishing Returns to Types
Chapter 8: Diversity’s Impact in Complex Systems
Chapter 9: Passing Thoughts

Popular Science now available on Google Books

Now you can read Popular Science through Google Books. Popular Science is a 137-year-old magazine that covers a broad range of scientific and technological topics.

However, you will not get to read the latest issues (latest 12 months) from Google Books. So if you are interested in the current issues, we have them in Lee Wee Nam Library. Check availability using the Library Catalogue!