One Day U has the pleasure of working with Professor David J. Helfand, Professor of Astronomy at Columbia University. Professor Hefland’s latest book A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age, makes science both accessible and entertaining for students of all ages. If you haven’t seen Professor Hefland in person teaching one of his courses at One Day U, his lectures are both instructive and engaging. This book provides a similar experience. It’s a worthy journey into the world of science that will no doubt get you thinking like you’ve never thought before.
About The Book
We live in the Information Age, with billions of bytes of data just two swipes away. Yet how much of this is mis- or even dis-information? A lot of it is, and your search engine can’t tell the difference. As a result, an avalanche of misinformation threatens to overwhelm the discourse we so desperately need to address complex social problems such as climate change, the food and water crises, biodiversity collapse, and emerging threats to public health. This book provides an inoculation against the misinformation epidemic by cultivating scientific habits of mind. Anyone can do it—indeed, everyone must do it if our species is to long survive on this crowded and finite planet.
This survival guide supplies an essential set of apps for the pre-frontal cortex while making science both accessible and entertaining. It will dissolve your fear of numbers, demystify graphs, and elucidate the key concepts of probability, all while celebrating the precise use of language and logic. David Helfand, one of our nation’s leading astronomers and science educators, has taught scientific habits of mind to generations in the classroom, where he continues to wage a provocative, unending battle against sloppy thinking and the encroachment of misinformation.
What People Are Saying
“An impassioned plea for science literacy. Given the state of the world today, in which scientifically under-informed voters elect scientifically illiterate politicians, David Helfand has written the right book at the right time with the right message. Read it now. The future of our civilization may depend on it.”
-Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist
“David Helfand’s Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age gives readers a chance to spend time with one of this country’s clearest and best critical thinkers. Helfand channels Steven Pinker’s ability to dissect language and John Alan Paulos’s ability to explain numbers with Richard Dawkins’ ability to explain our existence and George Carlin’s ability to make us laugh. A real pleasure.”
-Dr. Paul Offit
“Helfand’s work is an admirable response to a long-standing problem of sloppy thinking.”
Helfand’s book carries on the tradition of works like The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan (Random House, 1995), The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True by Richard Dawkins (Free Press, 2011) and even A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (Broadway Books, 2004) that ex- plain the value and impact of scientific habits of mind and the knowledge and understanding those habits deliver.
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About the Author
Dr. David J. Helfand is Professor of Astronomy at Columbia University, where he has taught for over 30 years. He was an undergraduate at Amherst College and earned his Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he worked under Professor Joseph Taylor, the 1993 Nobel Laureate in Physics.
Professor Helfand’s research has covered many areas of modern astrophysics, including radio, optical, and X-ray observations of celestial sources ranging from nearby stars to the most distant quasars. He is involved in a major project to survey our galaxy with a sensitivity and resolution a hundred times greater than what is currently available. The goal is to obtain a complete picture of stellar birth and death in the Milky Way.
Professor Helfand received a Presidential Teaching Award and a Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates. At Columbia, he realized a long-term goal to introduce a science course into the university’s famed Core Curriculum. In addition to his teaching duties, Professor Helfand lectures extensively on science to the general public, has appeared on the Discovery Channel’s Science News, and is featured in the National Geographic Channel’s Known Universe.