Sigma Xi Orange County Chapter

Our Bookshelf

These are books written by our distinguished speakers, or our members, or recommended in reviews.

We Have No Idea; A Guide to the Unknown Universe

Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson

“You couldn’t ask for better guides to the mind-bending mysteries of cutting-edge physics than Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson."
—Jennifer Ouellette, author of The Calculus Diaries and Me, Myself and Why: Searching for the Science of Self

The Quark and the Jaguar: Adventures in the Simple and the Complex

Murray Gell-Mann (American physicist, postulated the existence of quarks, Nobel Prize, Physics, 1969)

Writing about the range of system from simple to complex, Gell-Mann starts with a simple system: quantum physics (simple, perhaps to him), and continues on to complex systems: the adaptive coat of spots on a jaguar that lets it move stealthily through a forest.


The revolution in physics: A non-mathematical survey of quanta

Louis de Broglie (French physicist, pioneer of quantum theory, Nobel Prize, physics, 1929)


Aeronautical Satellite Development 1963 -1972

Roland Boucher (November, 2015) gives an insider's view of communication satellite development and deployment at NASA/Hughes, including setting up a communication link for Pope Paul VI's visit to Bogota, Columbia.


Avoiding the Extinction of Humanity: A Practical Plan

John M. Goodman, Ph.D., gave the November talk, “Our Energy Dilemma and an Audacious Solution”

This book details the case for our building a new set of global infrastructures that will not only save us from the global climate change catastrophe that seems now to be inevitable, they also would let all of us have much more energy that we now are able to get -- including the people in the developing world -- and thereby help stabilize the world's population, plus they would give us that energy at a far lower cost than is possible now, and give us a way to transport people and cargo over long distances very fast and inexpensively. It even includes a means by which everyone who wishes could travel into space -- no astronaut training or fitness required.


The 4% Universe

Richard Panek is a well-known science writer, with several books to his credit.

This is the story of men and women who led the search for the nature of the Universe. Along the way are pigeons in a radio antenna, galaxies that seemed older than the Uniiverse, astronomers and physicists finally talking to one another, astronomers observing in places from Mauna Kea to the Anarctic, team rivalries, and a Nobel Prize or two.


The Death of Rafael

Adriana Renescu is one of our members.

In this dramatic page turner built around powerful, morally complex characters, Renescu takes the reader across continents, from the Carpathians to the Andes, from Berlin to San Francisco, from Buenos Aires to Rome. THE DEATH OF RAFAEL tells the story of opposing destinies caught in a web of guilt and secrets. This is a tale of loss and heartbreak, fear and despair, and ultimately, hope and redemption.


Visit to a Small Universe

Virginia Trimble, Ph.D., is Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine. She is a frequent contributor to astronomy and physics journals.

The subtitle is "An Exciting Astronomical Odyssey That Takes You Back in Time, Out in Space, and Down to Earth".


Music, Language, and the Brain

Aniruddh Patel, Ph.D., is a leading neuroscience researcher, currently at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego. "Music, Language, and the Brain" is the definitive work in the study of the relationship between music and language.


Statistical Analysis and Data Mining

Sigma Xi O.C. member Arnold Goodman, Ph.D., is a co-founder of the Statistical Analysis and Data Mining. This is the Journal that encourages collaboration across disciplines, communicating novel data mining and statistical techniques to both novices and experts involved in the analysis of data from practical problems.

Dr. Goodman is also a co-founder of Interface Symposia 1967. Interface is a society interested in the interface between computing science and statistics.


Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion

Francisco Ayala, Ph.D., is grounded in both science and religion.

His talk at Sigma Xi O.C. on September 19th, 2010, was on this topic.

He is the winner of the 2010 Templeton Prize (he gave the $1.5 million to charity). He is currently Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Irvine.

This book is a scholarly attempt to reconcile religion and evolution. It offers an introduction to Darwin's theory and evolutionary biology.


The Wolves of Pavlava

"The Wolves of Pavlava" by Adriana Renescu, is a novel of intrigue, covering a span of three decades, from the last days of Communist rule in Romania to the present day. It involves the Vatican's search for a possible new saint, and the conflict between the Church and the Party.


Slips and Falls

Fred Johnson, Ph.D., another of our members, is Professor Emeritus and Former Chair of Physics at California State University, Fullerton, CA.

His talk at Sigma Xi O.C. was on “Forensic Accident Reconstruction.”

He serves as an expert witness in cases involving product liability. This book explains the physics and mathematics of slips and falls, ladders, and the difficulties of getting accurate measurements of friction.