On the books

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Recent books by University of Redlands faculty highlight their contributions to history, poetry, astronomy, religion, business, environmental studies, and other fields.

Renewwable Energy: Problems and Prospects in Coachella Valley, California

Renewable Energy: Problems and Prospects in Coachella Valley, California

Technological advances are making wind and solar power attractive from a purely bottom-line perspective, says James Pick, School of Business professor and author of Renewable Energy: Problems and Prospects in Coachella Valley, California (Springer, 2017).

In Pick’s book, a project that drew on collaboration with U of R colleagues in business and geographic information systems (GIS), Coachella Valley serves as a microcosm of nationwide trends. The valley’s San Gorgonio wind production complex, among the largest in the state, benefits from advances in turbine size and efficiencies. Solar energy has become more efficient through changes in the chemical layering of panels. Other improvements and low-cost solar panels imported from China have also caused a surge in consumer interest.

“This is mostly not driven by these homeowners’ philosophical leanings,” says Pick. “It’s driven by price.”

While wind and solar are relatively mature forms of renewable energy generation, Pick says potential game changers include advances in energy storage and transmission—high-capacity batteries and upgrades to the grid—that could make this energy available where and when it’s needed.

Sun Moon Earth

In Sun Moon Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets (Hachette)—named one of Amazon’s Best Science Books of 2016—Professor of Physics Tyler Nordgren traces the natural history of solar eclipses from supernatural to scientific phenomenon. With the first total eclipse of the sun in America in almost 40 years set to occur on August 21, 2017, Nordgren’s book provides
a timely guide to looking up at the sky.

Interconnected

Karen Derris, professor of religious studies and Virginia Hunsaker Chair in Distinguished Teaching, recently published Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society (Wisdom Publications, 2017), a book she edited based on insights shared by the Ogyen Trinley Dorje, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, with Redlands students. The book addresses the growing importance of recognizing how everyone in the world is intimately connected and dependent upon one another for survival. “We must move beyond acknowledging interdependence as a reality and must learn to experience it emotionally,” she explains.

The Markov Chain

The latest offering of poet Ted Pearson, who teaches English at the U of R, is The Markov Chain (Shearsman Books, 2017). Based on the mathematical concept of Markov sequences, each poem in the book derives from the one in front of it. “I was brain-surfing for my next project,” Pearson recalls. “I’d read about Markov sequences, and it stuck with me as an interesting way to approach poetry.”

Anti-Intellectual Representations of American Colleges and Universities

U of R Higher Education Professor Pauline Reynolds often wondered about the representations she saw in popular culture of universities and colleges and their administrators, faculty, and students. Together with colleague Barbara Tobolowsky of the University of Texas, Arlington, Reynolds has edited Anti-Intellectual Representations of Colleges and Universities (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), a collection of original work that explores these depictions in print, television, film, and other media.

Alternative Sociologies of Religion

In writing Alternative Sociologies of Religion: Through Non-Western Eyes (NYU Press, 2016), U of R Professor of Sociology and Anthropology James Spickard wanted to do nothing less than expand the perspective and toolkit of sociologists of religion. In the new book, he explores what the sociology of religion would look like had it emerged in a Confucian, Muslim, or Native American culture rather than in a Christian one.

Next: Exploring the dynamics of African American religions in America

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