25 Books to Read Before You Die
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


The Powell's Playlist | August 8, 2014

Peter Mendelsund: IMG The Powell's Playlist: Water Music by Peter Mendelsund



We "see" when we read, and we "see" when we listen. There are many ways in which music can create the cross-sensory experience of this seeing...... Continue »
  1. $11.87 Sale Trade Paper add to wish list

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$16.00
New Trade Paper
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
2 Burnside - Bldg. 2 Science Reference- General
3 Hawthorne Science Reference- General
13 Local Warehouse Science Reference- Philosophy of Science
10 Remote Warehouse Science Reference- General

The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date

by

The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

New insights from the science of science
 
Facts change all the time. Smoking has gone from doctor recommended to deadly. We used to think the Earth was the center of the universe and that Pluto was a planet. For decades, we were convinced that the brontosaurus was a real dinosaur. In short, what we know about the world is constantly changing.
 
But it turns out there’s an order to the state of knowledge, an explanation for how we know what we know. Samuel Arbesman is an expert in the field of scientometrics—literally the science of science. Knowl­edge in most fields evolves systematically and predict­ably, and this evolution unfolds in a fascinating way that can have a powerful impact on our lives.
 
Doctors with a rough idea of when their knowl­edge is likely to expire can be better equipped to keep up with the latest research. Companies and govern­ments that understand how long new discoveries take to develop can improve decisions about allocating resources. And by tracing how and when language changes, each of us can better bridge gen­erational gaps in slang and dialect.
 
Just as we know that a chunk of uranium can break down in a measurable amount of time—a radioactive half-life—so too any given field’s change in knowledge can be measured concretely. We can know when facts in aggregate are obsolete, the rate at which new facts are created, and even how facts spread.
 
Arbesman takes us through a wide variety of fields, including those that change quickly, over the course of a few years, or over the span of centuries. He shows that much of what we know consists of “mesofacts”—facts that change at a middle timescale, often over a single human lifetime. Throughout, he of­fers intriguing examples about the face of knowledge: what English majors can learn from a statistical analysis of The Canterbury Tales, why it’s so hard to measure a mountain, and why so many parents still tell kids to eat their spinach because it’s rich in iron.

The Half-life of Facts is a riveting journey into the counterintuitive fabric of knowledge. It can help us find new ways to measure the world while accepting the limits of how much we can know with certainty.  

Synopsis:

New insights from the science of science
 
Facts change all the time. Smoking has gone from doctor recommended to deadly. We used to think the Earth was the center of the universe and that Pluto was a planet. For decades, we were convinced that the brontosaurus was a real dinosaur. In short, what we know about the world is constantly changing.
 
But it turns out theres an order to the state of knowledge, an explanation for how we know what we know. Samuel Arbesman is an expert in the field of scientometrics—literally the science of science. Knowl­edge in most fields evolves systematically and predict­ably, and this evolution unfolds in a fascinating way that can have a powerful impact on our lives.
 
Doctors with a rough idea of when their knowl­edge is likely to expire can be better equipped to keep up with the latest research. Companies and govern­ments that understand how long new discoveries take to develop can improve decisions about allocating resources. And by tracing how and when language changes, each of us can better bridge gen­erational gaps in slang and dialect.
 
Just as we know that a chunk of uranium can break down in a measurable amount of time—a radioactive half-life—so too any given fields change in knowledge can be measured concretely. We can know when facts in aggregate are obsolete, the rate at which new facts are created, and even how facts spread.
 
Arbesman takes us through a wide variety of fields, including those that change quickly, over the course of a few years, or over the span of centuries. He shows that much of what we know consists of “mesofacts”—facts that change at a middle timescale, often over a single human lifetime. Throughout, he of­fers intriguing examples about the face of knowledge: what English majors can learn from a statistical analysis of The Canterbury Tales, why its so hard to measure a mountain, and why so many parents still tell kids to eat their spinach because its rich in iron.

 

The Half-life of Facts is a riveting journey into the counterintuitive fabric of knowledge. It can help us find new ways to measure the world while accepting the limits of how much we can know with certainty.

About the Author

Samuel Arbesman is an applied mathematician and network scientist. He is a Senior Scholar at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and a fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Atlantic, Wired, New Scientist and the Boston Globe. He lives in Kansas City.

 

Visit www.arbesman.net

Product Details

ISBN:
9781591846512
Author:
Arbesman, Samuel
Publisher:
Current
Subject:
General science
Subject:
Science Reference-Philosophy of Science
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20130831
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
b/w illustrations throughout
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

Other books you might like

  1. The Secret World of Sleep: The... New Trade Paper $16.00
  2. Joyland
    Used Mass Market $5.50
  3. Good Woman of Setzuan Used Mass Market $2.95
  4. Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People New Trade Paper $16.00
  5. Eugene Onegin Used Trade Paper $4.50
  6. Reason for Hope
    Used Trade Paper $4.95

Related Subjects


Reference » Science Reference » General
Reference » Science Reference » Philosophy of Science
Science and Mathematics » Featured Titles in Tech » General
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Probability and Statistics » General
Science and Mathematics » Mathematics » Probability and Statistics » Statistics

The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date New Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$16.00 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Current Trade - English 9781591846512 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
New insights from the science of science
 
Facts change all the time. Smoking has gone from doctor recommended to deadly. We used to think the Earth was the center of the universe and that Pluto was a planet. For decades, we were convinced that the brontosaurus was a real dinosaur. In short, what we know about the world is constantly changing.
 
But it turns out theres an order to the state of knowledge, an explanation for how we know what we know. Samuel Arbesman is an expert in the field of scientometrics—literally the science of science. Knowl­edge in most fields evolves systematically and predict­ably, and this evolution unfolds in a fascinating way that can have a powerful impact on our lives.
 
Doctors with a rough idea of when their knowl­edge is likely to expire can be better equipped to keep up with the latest research. Companies and govern­ments that understand how long new discoveries take to develop can improve decisions about allocating resources. And by tracing how and when language changes, each of us can better bridge gen­erational gaps in slang and dialect.
 
Just as we know that a chunk of uranium can break down in a measurable amount of time—a radioactive half-life—so too any given fields change in knowledge can be measured concretely. We can know when facts in aggregate are obsolete, the rate at which new facts are created, and even how facts spread.
 
Arbesman takes us through a wide variety of fields, including those that change quickly, over the course of a few years, or over the span of centuries. He shows that much of what we know consists of “mesofacts”—facts that change at a middle timescale, often over a single human lifetime. Throughout, he of­fers intriguing examples about the face of knowledge: what English majors can learn from a statistical analysis of The Canterbury Tales, why its so hard to measure a mountain, and why so many parents still tell kids to eat their spinach because its rich in iron.

 

The Half-life of Facts is a riveting journey into the counterintuitive fabric of knowledge. It can help us find new ways to measure the world while accepting the limits of how much we can know with certainty.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.