@UCSD: An Alumni Publication

An Alumni Publication   Archive vol1no3 Contact
Up Front: Letters to and from the editor
Shelf Life: Books
Cliff Notes: Student life and sports
Class Notes: Alumni profiles
Looking Back: Thoughts on UCSD
Credits: Staff and Contributors
Changing Realities
The Gift of Scholarship
Interview with the Chancellor
Three-Dimensional Career
Comic Community
Campus Currents
Birch Celebrates 20 Years
Waggle-Dance Blues
Burning Man Theatre
Where the Wild Seadragons Are
Bird in the Hand
The Nanowire Forest
Reel ArtPower
Honey, I Shrunk the Computer
Pirates in Print
Cannabis Relief for MS

Shelf Life May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2


Here are a few new and notable faculty books at the UCSD Bookstore.

The Copernican Question: Prognostication, Skepticism, and Celestial Order By Robert S. Westman, History

Man readingThe Copernican Question is 700 pages long and printed in a double-column format so as to fit more words on each page. It took 20 years to percolate, and 20 years to research and write. It is also, says its author, nothing like the book he thought he’d started.

After doing his detective work, historian Robert Westman, director of the interdisciplinary Science Studies program at UC San Diego, ended up building “a circumstantial case” to argue that the great astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) put the Sun at the center of the known universe and Earth as a planet revolving around it, in order to shore up the predictive powers of astrology. In other words, Copernicus made these bold scientific claims credited with setting off the slow-mo revolution that led to Isaac Newton and, ultimately, to modern times to defend what today we’d describe (or dismiss as) unscientific.

But during Copernicus’ life and for a while afterward, astronomy and astrology had not yet parted ways. Astrology was considered a practical application of astronomical theory. It was a “compound subject,” as Westman puts it, “the science of the stars.”

So what is in the stars for the Copernian Question? Science magazine calls the book “hefty and enormously erudite;” the Times Literary Supplement, says it is “vast (and beautifully produced and illustrated);” and, stay tuned for a Huntington Library symposium dedicated to the book, coming sometime in 2013.

Entrepreneurial President: Richard Atkinson and the University of California, 1995–2003
By Patricia A. Pelfrey

Man readingAdmission wars in the wake of the UC Regents’ decision to end affirmation action. Controversy about UC management of the nuclear laboratories at Los Alamos and Livermore. These were some of the challenges faced by Richard Atkinson as president of the UC system. The book considers how Atkinson who had also served as chancellor of UC San Diego for 15 years and remains a distinguished emeritus member of the faculty addressed these issues, and why the outcomes matter to the UC system as well as to the people of California.


Man reading

Why Americans Don’t Join the Party: Race, Immigration, and the Failure (of Political Parties) to Engage the Electorate
Coauthored by Zoltan L. Hajnal, Political Science

Man reading“Independent.” “Decline to state.” Growing numbers of U.S. citizens do not identify with either Democrats or Republicans. UC San Diego political scientist Zoltan Hajnal and UC Berkeley co-author Takeu Lee provide a fresh analysis of partisanship, contending that it is shaped by three factors:identity, ideology and information, noting that the trend is especially pronounced among Latino and Asian-American voters. As the pair recently wrote in an op-ed published online by The New York Times, “parties ignore these voters at their own peril.”

The One and the Many: Contemporary Collaborative Art in a Global Context
By Grant Kester, Visual Arts

Man readingRock bands. Theater troupes. There’s no problem picturing these types of creative groups, but teams of artists really? Yet, in the last 15 years or so, many artists have indeed been organizing themselves into collaborative units and working in ways that often overlap with the activities of non-governmental organizations , activists and urban planners in their areas. In his new book, Grant Kester of Visual Arts looks at groups such as Ala Plástica in Argentina and Huit Facettes in Senegal, to see how artists remain creatively visual while exhibiting a social conscience.

Also Notable

The History and Future of Bioethics: A Sociological View By John H. Evans, Sociology

High Fives, Pennant Drives, and Fernandomania: A Fan's History of the Los Angeles Dodgers' Glory Years (1977-1981) By Paul Haddad, Marshall 88

In The Beginning: Archipelago, The Origin and Discovery of the Hawaiian Islands By Richard W. Grigg, Ph.D. 70 

UCSD Bookstore

Book Column by Inga Kiderra

Visit the UCSD Bookstore online to purchase these titles and more. Look out for the monthly Alumni Special.