What We Are Reading Today: Janis by Holly George-Warren

Updated 03 December 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Janis by Holly George-Warren

  • Her significance has been muted by the brevity of her career

Over the decades, several books have been written about Janis Joplin. 

Now comes Holly George-Warren’s masterfully researched Janis: Her Life and Music — the significance-establishing project Joplin appreciators have been waiting for. 

Her significance has been muted by the brevity of her career (she died, at 27, in 1970).

“Although the book is full of lovers and almost lovers, and music-world-familiar producers, musicians and compadres, it zeros in on Janis’s singing skill,” Sheila Weller said a review for The New York Times.

Weller said Janis “died in the motel she was staying at in Los Angeles just before her last — and biggest — solo album, Pearl, was released. She had done all of her boundary breaking by the time she was three years shy of 30.”

Janis “was a perfectionist: A passionate, erudite musician who was born with talent but also worked exceptionally hard to develop it. She was a woman who pushed the boundaries of gender long before it was socially acceptable,” said a review in goodreads.com.


What We Are Reading Today: The Semiclassical Way by Eric J. Heller

Updated 30 July 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Semiclassical Way by Eric J. Heller

Physical systems have been traditionally described in terms of either classical or quantum mechanics. But in recent years, semiclassical methods have developed rapidly, providing deep physical insight and computational tools for quantum dynamics and spectroscopy. In this book, Eric Heller introduces and develops this subject, demonstrating its power with many examples. 

In the first half of the book, Heller covers relevant aspects of classical mechanics, building from them the semiclassical way through the semiclassical limit of the Feynman path integral. The second half of the book applies this approach to various kinds of spectroscopy, such as molecular spectroscopy and electron imaging and quantum dynamical systems with an emphasis on tunneling. Adopting a distinctly time-dependent viewpoint, Heller argues for semiclassical theories from experimental and theoretical vantage points valuable to research in physics and chemistry.

Featuring more than two hundred figures, the book provides a geometric, phase-space, and coordinate-space pathway to greater understanding.

Filled with practical examples and applications, The Semiclassical Way to Dynamics and Spectroscopy is a comprehensive presentation of the tools necessary to successfully delve into this unique area of quantum mechanics.