Department Blog

Physical Sciences & Engineering Library

Synthesis Digital Library Update for May 2012

June 19th, 2012 by Robert Heyer-Gray

The following new titles were published in May.

Turing Centenary Year

June 14th, 2012 by

2012 marks the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing’s birth. Turing was a great computer scientist, who developed fundamental concepts in computer science and artificial intelligence and is widely considered the father of these fields. Turing also played a key part in WWII intelligence, developing the tools to crack German cryptography.

There are multiple events going on around the world to celebrate the Turing Centenary Year, including the Manchester Turing Centenary conference and the ACM Turing Centenary Celebration, which will be freely webcast on June 15 and 16, 2012.

In the library we have several books about the life and works of Alan Turing; do a search in Harvest under subject for “Turing Alan Mathison”. The definitive biography of Turing is Alan Hodges The Enigma (Shields Library QA29.T8 H63). There have even been several plays and novels written about or featuring Turing, including the play Breaking the Code (Shields Library PR6073.H577 B73 1987), which was nominated for several Tony awards. A bibliography of Turing’s works and other works about him, as well as a concise summary of his key work, is available here.

Transit of Venus

June 5th, 2012 by

Venus is transiting across the sun this afternoon, and is visible now. There is a webcast of it from NASA.

This is only the sixth transit of Venus since the telescope was invented, and the last one we will see in our lifetimes — the next one is scheduled for 2117. The transit of Venus helped astronomers figure out the size of the solar system, and the transits of the 19th century were some of the first coordinated international scientific expeditions. And the 1882 transit was commemorated with a John Philip Sousa march, which you can listen to here!

There is also a telescope set up in parking lot 2 this afternoon if you want to check it out, and there are also viewing parties in downtown Davis this evening.

Happy viewing!