Got some smart people on your shopping list for the holidays? One option is to plunge into the heady universe of the MIT Press and pluck out a few prizes for family and friends. You’ll find books ranging from provocative to inspiring to fun. And MIT alumni get a 20 percent discount too.
“Publishers have personalities and, befitting the scholarly publisher with its home at MIT, the MIT Press is known for exploring new fields,” notes MIT Press Director Ellen Faran. “The press’s seasonal lists usually include some intriguing titles that transcend discipline boundaries to bring important ideas to the general reader.” A few of Faran’s picks:
The Outer Limits of Reason: What Science, Mathematics, and Logic Cannot Tell Us by Noson S. Yanofsky
Examining the levels of infinity or human insights about time, Yanofsky argues that computers, physics, logic, and human thought processes are limited. Take the Monty Hall problem, for example. If the Let’s Make a Deal host offered you the prize behind one of three doors, what additional knowledge do you gain when he eliminates one of the doors? (Okay, so you may learn to overcome some limits with this book.)
China’s Vanishing Worlds: Countryside, Traditions, and Cultural Spaces by Matthias Messmer and Hsin-Mei Chuang
More than a thousand photographs illustrate this portrait of the changing face of China, from village school houses and eco-tourism outposts to modest country dwellings and festivals. These dynamic images document the disappearing cultural landscapes and lifestyles of rural China.
Nightwork, updated edition, by Institute Historian T. F. Peterson
The giant Brass Rat placed on the borrowed Caltech Canon during the 2006 hack took some 1,000 hours of machining to make and now resides in the MIT Museum. Find many more facts and photos about MIT’s glorious hacking history in this revised version.
101 Things I Learned in Architecture School by Matthew Frederick
These concise lessons in design, drawing, the creative process, and presentation—from the basics of “How to Draw a Line” to the complexities of color theory—provide a enjoyable primer in architectural literacy. Learn about Informed Simplicity and how to explain architecture to your grandmother.
The Metamorphosis of Plants by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Originally published in 1790, German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe tells the story of botanical forms in process, revealing the metamorphosis of plants. The book includes 123 numbered paragraphs, accompanied by color photographs and line drawings.
Get your discount: MIT alumni earn a 20 percent discount on all titles ordered directly from the MIT Press website. At the checkout, use this promotion code: MITALUM. Sign up for the newsletter, if you want regular updates.