Great Chicago Book Sale

I quickly grabbed my bike after coming from a seminar class and arrived 10 minutes before the closing time! Within a short span of time and by relying on my semi-rare impulsiveness of buying, I got these two titles foer 5 USD (buy-one-take-one):

W. T. Welford, Useful Optics (Chicago Lectures in Physics). University Of Chicago Press, October 1991.

Students and professionals alike have long felt the need of a modern source of practical advice on the use of optical tools in scientific research. Walter T. Welford’s _Useful Optics_ meets this need. Welford offers a succinct review of principles basic to the construction and use of optics in physics. His lucid explanations and clear illustrations will particularly help those whose interests lie in other areas but who nevertheless must understand enough about optics to create the experimental apparatus necessary to their research. Consistently emphasizing applications and practical points of design, Welford covers a host of topics: mirrors and prisms, optical materials, aberration, the limits of image formation and resolution, illumination for image-forming systems, laser beams, interference and interferometry, detectors and light sources, holography, and more. The final chapter deals with putting together an experimental optics system. Many areas of the physical sciences and engineering increasingly demand an appreciation of optics. Welford’s _Useful Optics_ will prove indispensable to any researcher trying to develop and use effective optical apparatus. Walter T. Welford (1916-1990) was professor of physics at Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine from 1951 until his death. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Optical Society of America.  Link to [Amazon.com]

T. P. Hughes, Human-Built World: How to Think about Technology and Culture (science * culture).    University Of Chicago Press, May 2005.

To most people, technology has been reduced to computers, consumer goods, and military weapons; we speak of “technological progress” in terms of RAM and CD-ROMs and the flatness of our television screens. In Human-Built World, thankfully, Thomas Hughes restores to technology the conceptual richness and depth it deserves by chronicling the ideas about technology expressed by influential Western thinkers who not only understood its multifaceted character but who also explored its creative potential.

Hughes draws on an enormous range of literature, art, and architecture to explore what technology has brought to society and culture, and to explain how we might begin to develop an “ecotechnology” that works with, not against, ecological systems. From the “Creator” model of development of the sixteenth century to the “big science” of the 1940s and 1950s to the architecture of Frank Gehry, Hughes nimbly charts the myriad ways that technology has been woven into the social and cultural fabric of different eras and the promises and problems it has offered. Thomas Jefferson, for instance, optimistically hoped that technology could be combined with nature to create an Edenic environment; Lewis Mumford, two centuries later, warned of the increasing mechanization of American life.

Such divergent views, Hughes shows, have existed side by side, demonstrating the fundamental idea that “in its variety, technology is full of contradictions, laden with human folly, saved by occasional benign deeds, and rich with unintended consequences.” In Human-Built World, he offers the highly engaging history of these contradictions, follies, and consequences, a history that resurrects technology, rightfully, as more than gadgetry; it is in fact no less than an embodiment of human values. Link to [Amazon.com]

Even information can be found in the UChicago Press site.

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