Cover image for Dead heat : the race against the greenhouse effect
Dead heat : the race against the greenhouse effect
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Publication Information:
London : I B Tauris & Co Ltd, 1990
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"A New republic book"
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33000000016932 QC912.3.O66 1990 Open Access Book Gift Book

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Shows society at a crossroads--in one direction pollution, drought, and destruction, in the other solar cells, clean energy, and safe technology. Skeptical? You should be. This volume is fine as an abstract policy study, but it fails to confront those who are happy the way things are: mining fossil fuel, clearing old-growth forests, legislating for special interests, and generally sticking it to the public. Annotation(c) 2003 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

Author Notes

Born in Munster, Ireland, of English parents, Robert Boyle was among the earliest scientists who studied nature and drew conclusions justified by experiments. A son of a wealthy man, he received a good education. In 1654 he set up a laboratory in Oxford, England, and hired Robert Hooke (1634-1703) as his laboratory assistant. Boyle and Hooke designed a greatly improved air pump, which enabled them to study the behavior of air by creating a sufficient vacuum. In 1660 Boyle published Spring and Weight of the Air in which he articulated Boyle's Law, describing the inverse relationship between the temperature and the pressure of a gas.

In 1661 Boyle published The Sceptical Chymist in which he challenged the alchemists' belief in the four elements of earth, air, fire, and water. He also attacked the three principles of Paracelsus: salt, sulfur, and mercury. Boyle also studied the relationship between air and combustion and the respiration of animals, and reported his findings in Suspicions about Some Hidden Qualities of the Air (1674). However, the discovery of oxygen would wait for Joseph Priestley.

Boyle experimented with the calcination of tin in a sealed container, but, because he weighed only the resultant tin oxide, he did not get sufficient data to interpret the results accurately. When the tin oxide weighed more than the original tin, he theorized that a substance had passed into the glass container. Lavoisier later repeated the experiment, weighed the container, and realized that something in the air had combined with the tin.

With his discovery of Boyle's Law, Boyle became somewhat of a celebrity and enjoyed the favor of King Charles II. Boyle contributed to the founding of the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge in 1662.

Boyle died in London in 1691.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Both a descriptive and prescriptive treatment of a hot topic, namely, the warming of Earth via the well-recognized greenhouse effect. The authors, one a respected scientist now with the Environmental Defense Fund and the other an experienced writer who has concentrated on the environment, relate an intriguing labyrinth of scientific discovery and prediction enmeshed in corporate policy and national and international politics. Creatively, the book begins with "The End," a scenario of what the year 2050 is like given the absence of corrective measures in the 1990s; contrastingly, it ends with "The Beginning," a scenario of 2050 given the corrective measures proposed. In between, there is a solid description of the reluctant political acknowledgement of the increase in heat-producing gases and of the destruction of the protective ozone layer, followed by proposals for alternative sources of energy (e.g., hydrogen cells, solar cells/panels). There is an excellent discussion of the "rise and fall of the automobile" and an examination of alternative pathways for Third World development, which if they were to follow the path of the industrialized nations would exacerbate, beyond measure, the untoward effects on Earth's atmosphere. Prescription comes in a challenging chapter on an action plan (e.g., regulating fossil fuel economy and electric power, fuel taxes, more mass transit, reforestation). Except for one figure, which could have been omitted without loss, there are no illustrations. The reference citations are extensive and thorough. All readers. -E. J. Kormondy, University of Hawaii at Hilo