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Popular science

See below for a selection of the latest books from Popular science category. Presented with a red border are the Popular science books that have been lovingly read and reviewed by the experts at Lovereading. With expert reading recommendations made by people with a passion for books and some unique features Lovereading will help you find great Popular science books and those from many more genres to read that will keep you inspired and entertained. And it's all free!

This Book Could Save Your Life The Real Science of Living Longer Better

This Book Could Save Your Life The Real Science of Living Longer Better

Author: New Scientist, Graham Lawton Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 09/01/2020

You are what you eat. Food and diet have an enormous influence on your health and well-being, but eating the right amount of the right things - and not too much of the wrong things - isn't easy. But, as in most walks of life, knowledge is power. This book will empower you to eat healthily, lose weight, and sort the fads from science facts. This is the New Scientist take on a 'New Year New You' book: an eye-opening and myth-busting guide to everything from sugar to superfoods, from fasting to eating like a caveman and from veganism to your gut microbiome. Forget faddy diet books or gimmicky exercise programmes, this is what is scientifically proven to make you live longer and to be healthier and happier.

How The Brain Lost Its Mind Sex, Hysteria and the Riddle of Mental Illness

How The Brain Lost Its Mind Sex, Hysteria and the Riddle of Mental Illness

Author: Allan Ropper, Brian David Burrell Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/01/2020

In 1882, Jean-Martin Charcot was the premiere physician in Paris, having just established a neurology clinic at the infamous Salpetriere Hospital, a place that was called a 'grand asylum of human misery'. Assessing the dismal conditions, he quickly upgraded the facilities, and in doing so, revolutionized the treatment of mental illness. Many of Charcot's patients had neurosyphilis (the advanced form of syphilis), a disease of mad poets, novelists, painters, and musicians, and a driving force behind the overflow of patients in Europe's asylums. A sexually transmitted disease, it is known as 'the great imitator' since its symptoms resemble those of almost any biological disease or mental illness. It is also the perfect lens through which to peel back the layers to better understand the brain and the mind. Yet, Charcot's work took a bizarre turn when he brought mesmerism - hypnotism - into his clinic, abandoning his pursuit of the biological basis of illness in favour of the far sexier and theatrical treatment of female 'hysterics', whose symptoms mimic those seen in brain disease, but were elusive in origin. This and a general fear of contagion set the stage for Sigmund Freud, whose seductive theory, Freudian analysis, brought sex and hysteria onto the psychiatrist couch, leaving the brain behind. How The Brain Lost Its Mind tells this rich and compelling story, and raises a host of philosophical and practical questions. Are we any closer to understanding the difference between a sick mind and a sick brain? The real issue remains: where should neurology and psychiatry converge to explore not just the brain, but the nature of the human psyche?

The Science Delusion Feeling the Spirit of Enquiry

The Science Delusion Feeling the Spirit of Enquiry

Author: Rupert Sheldrake Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 26/12/2019

Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry The Science Delusion is the belief that science already understands the nature of reality. The fundamental questions are answered, leaving only the details to be filled in. In this book (published in the US as Science Set Free), Dr Rupert Sheldrake, one of the world's most innovative scientists, shows that science is being constricted by assumptions that have hardened into dogmas. The 'scientific worldview' has become a belief system. All reality is material or physical. The world is a machine, made up of dead matter. Nature is purposeless. Consciousness is nothing but the physical activity of the brain. Free will is an illusion. God exists only as an idea in human minds, imprisoned within our skulls. Sheldrake examines these dogmas scientifically, and shows persuasively that science would be better off without them: freer, more interesting, and more fun. In The God Delusion Richard Dawkins used science to bash God, but here Rupert Sheldrake shows that Dawkins' understanding of what science can do is old-fashioned and itself a delusion. 'Rupert Sheldrake does science, humanity and the world at large a considerable favour.' The Independent 'Certainly we need to accept the limitations of much current dogma and keep our minds open as we reasonably can. Sheldrake may help us do so through this well-written, challenging and always interesting book.' Financial Times

Real Scientists Don't Wear Ties When Science Meets Culture

Real Scientists Don't Wear Ties When Science Meets Culture

Author: Sidney Perkowitz Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/11/2019

Real Scientists Don't Wear Ties links science to general and popular culture and everyday life in an easy-to-understand style. When a gifted writer of science selects his best pieces published in the world's most reputable periodicals such as Nature, Discover, and MIT Technology Review, we get an eminently readable collection of his varied work in book form. That it covers all-time relevant topics like quantum physics, gravitational waves, genetic engineering, space exploration, and artificial intelligence is an added delight. Prof. Perkowitz also discusses how science can be found in medical practice, cooking, soccer, and art, and also science and science fiction in the media. On the lighter side, he reports on his efforts to teach a computer to understand poetry, explains why scientists resist dressing up, and shows that unlike many people, scientists actually enjoy math.

Antimony, Gold, and Jupiter's Wolf How the elements were named

Antimony, Gold, and Jupiter's Wolf How the elements were named

The iconic Periodic Table of the Elements is now in its most satisfyingly elegant form. This is because all the 'gaps' corresponding to missing elements in the seventh row, or period, have recently been filled and the elements named. But where do these names come from? For some, usually the most recent, the origins are quite obvious, but in others - even well-known elements such as oxygen or nitrogen - the roots are less clear. Here, Peter Wothers explores the fascinating and often surprising stories behind how the chemical elements received their names. Delving back in time to explore the history and gradual development of chemistry, he sifts through medieval manuscripts for clues to the stories surrounding the discovery of the elements, showing how they were first encountered or created, and how they were used in everyday lives. As he reveals, the oldest-known elements were often associated with astronomical bodies, and connections with the heavens influenced the naming of a number of elements. Following this, a number of elements, including hydrogen and oxygen, were named during the great reform of chemistry, set amidst the French Revolution. While some of the origins of the names were controversial (and indeed incorrect - some saying, for instance, that oxygen might be literally taken to mean 'the son of a vinegar merchant'), they have nonetheless influenced language used around the world to this very day. Throughout, Wothers delights in dusting off the original sources, and bringing to light the astonishing, the unusual, and the downright weird origins behind the names of the elements so familiar to us today.

Sex, Lies, and Brain Scans How fMRI reveals what really goes on in our minds

Sex, Lies, and Brain Scans How fMRI reveals what really goes on in our minds

The recent explosion of neuroscience techniques has proved to be game changing in terms of understanding the healthy brain, and in the development of neuropsychiatric treatments. One of the key techniques available to us is functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which allows us to examine the human brain non-invasively, and observe brain activity in real time. Through fMRI, we are beginning to build a deeper understanding of our thoughts, motivations, and behaviours. Recent reports that some patients who have all indications of being in a persistent vegetative state actually show conscious awareness, and were able to communicate with researchers, demonstrate perhaps the most remarkable and dramatic use of fMRI. But this is just the most striking of a number of areas in which fMRI is being used to 'read minds', albeit in a very limited way. As neuroscientists unravel the regions of the brain involved in reward and motivation, and in romantic love, we are likely to develop the capacity to influence responses such as love using drugs. fMRI studies have also been used to indicate that many people who would not regard themselves as racist show a racial bias in their emotional responses to faces of another racial group. Meanwhile, the reliability of fMRI as a lie detector in murder cases is being debated - what if the individual simply believes, falsely, that he or she committed a murder? Sex, Lies, and Brain Scans takes readers beyond the media headlines. Barbara J. Sahakian and Julia Gottwald consider what the technique of fMRI entails, and what information it can give us, showing which applications are possible today, and which ones are science fiction. They also consider the important ethical questions these techniques raise. Should individuals applying for jobs as teachers or judges be screened for unconscious racial bias? What if the manipulation of love using 'love potions' was misused for economic or military ends? How far will we allow neuroscience to go? It is time to make up our minds.

Before the Collapse A Guide to the Other Side of Growth

Before the Collapse A Guide to the Other Side of Growth

Author: Ugo Bardi Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 26/11/2019

Nobody has to tell you that when things go bad, they go bad quickly and seemingly in bunches. Complicated structures like buildings or bridges are slow and laborious to build but, with a design flaw or enough explosive energy, take only seconds to collapse. This fate can befall a company, the stock market, or your house or town after a natural disaster, and the metaphor extends to economies, governments, and even whole societies. As we proceed blindly and incrementally in one direction or another, collapse often takes us by surprise. We step over what you will come to know as a Seneca cliff , which is named after the ancient Roman philosopher, Lucius Annaeus Seneca, who was the first to observe the ubiquitous truth that growth is slow but ruin is rapid. Modern science, like ancient philosophy, tell us that collapse is not a bug; it is a feature of the universe. Understanding this reality will help you to see and navigate the Seneca cliffs of life, or what Malcolm Gladwell called tipping points. Efforts to stave off collapse often mean that the cliff will be even steeper when you step over it. But the good news is that what looks to you like a collapse may be nothing more than the passage to a new condition that is better than the old. This book gives deeper meaning to familiar adages such as it's a house of cards , let nature take its course , reach a tipping point , or the popular Silicon Valley expression, fail fast, fail often. As the old Roman philosopher noted, nothing that exists today is not the result of a past collapse , and this is the basis of what we call The Seneca Strategy. This engaging and insightful book will help you to use the Seneca Strategy to face failure and collapse at all scales, to understand why change may be inevitable, and to navigate the swirl of events that frequently threaten your balance and happiness. You will learn: How ancient philosophy and modern science agree that failure and collapse are normal features of the universe Principles that help us manage, rather than be managed by, the biggest challenges of our lives and times Why technological progress may not prevent economic or societal collapse Why the best strategy to oppose failure is not to resist at all costs How you can rebound after collapse, to do better than before, and to avoid the same mistakes.

The Evolution of Music through Culture and Science

The Evolution of Music through Culture and Science

Author: Peter (Emeritus Professor, Emeritus Professor, University of Sussex) Townsend Format: Hardback Release Date: 25/11/2019

The Evolution of Music by Culture and Science aims to recognise the impact of science on music, why it occurs, how we respond, and even to tentatively see if we can predict future developments. Technology has played an immense role in the development of music as it has enabled the production of new sounds, introduced new instruments and continuously improved and modified existing ones. Printing, musical notation, and modern computer aids to composition, plus recordings and electronic transmission have equally enabled us to have access to music from across the world. Such changes, whether just more powerful pianos, or new sounds as from the saxophone, have inspired composers and audiences alike. Acoustics and architecture play similar roles as they changed the scale and performance of concert halls, and with the advent of electronics, they enabled vast pop music festivals. No aspect of modern music making has been untouched by the synergy with scientific innovation. This is not a one-way interaction as the early attempts to make recordings were a major motivating force to design the electronics for amplifiers and these in turn inspired and enabled the designs of semiconductor electronics and modern computer technology. To appreciate the impact of technology on music does not require any prior scientific background as the concepts are invariably extremely simple and are presented here without technical detail. Understanding music and why we like different genres is far more complex, as this involves our personal background and taste. Both aspects change with time, and there is no contradiction in enjoying items as diverse as baroque madrigals, symphonies, jazz or pop music, or music from totally different cultures.

Origin And Evolution Of The Universe: From Big Bang To Exobiology

Origin And Evolution Of The Universe: From Big Bang To Exobiology

Author: Matthew A (Univ Of California, Los Angeles, Usa) Malkan Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 20/11/2019

The book provides a broad overview of what we currently know about the Origin and Evolution of the Universe. The goal is to be scientifically comprehensive but concise. We trace the origins from the Big Bang and cosmic expansion, to the formation of galaxies, heavy elements, stars and planets as abodes for life. This field has made stunning progress since the first edition of this book. At that time, there were no known planets outside of our own Solar System (compared with the many thousands currently being studied). The origin of massive black holes was pure speculation (compared with the very recent detection of the first gravitational waves from space, produced by the cataclysmic merger of two surprisingly large black holes). And the most important energy in the Universe, now known as the Dark Energy which is accelerating the expansion, had not been discovered. We aim to bring lay readers with an interest in science 'up to speed' on all of these key discoveries that are part of the panorama of cosmic evolution, which has ultimately lead to our existence on Earth.

Origin And Evolution Of The Universe: From Big Bang To Exobiology

Origin And Evolution Of The Universe: From Big Bang To Exobiology

Author: Matthew A (Univ Of California, Los Angeles, Usa) Malkan Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/11/2019

The book provides a broad overview of what we currently know about the Origin and Evolution of the Universe. The goal is to be scientifically comprehensive but concise. We trace the origins from the Big Bang and cosmic expansion, to the formation of galaxies, heavy elements, stars and planets as abodes for life. This field has made stunning progress since the first edition of this book. At that time, there were no known planets outside of our own Solar System (compared with the many thousands currently being studied). The origin of massive black holes was pure speculation (compared with the very recent detection of the first gravitational waves from space, produced by the cataclysmic merger of two surprisingly large black holes). And the most important energy in the Universe, now known as the Dark Energy which is accelerating the expansion, had not been discovered. We aim to bring lay readers with an interest in science 'up to speed' on all of these key discoveries that are part of the panorama of cosmic evolution, which has ultimately lead to our existence on Earth.

China in Space The Great Leap Forward

China in Space The Great Leap Forward

Author: Brian Harvey Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 14/11/2019

In 2019, China astonished the world by landing a spacecraft and rover on the far side of the Moon, something never achieved by any country before. China had already become the world's leading spacefaring nation by rockets launched, sending more into orbit than any other. China is now a great space superpower alongside the United States and Russia, sending men and women into orbit, building a space laboratory (Tiangong) and sending probes to the Moon and asteroids. Roadmap 2050 promises that China will set up bases on the Moon and Mars and lead the world in science and technology by mid-century. China's space programme is one of the least well-known, but this book will bring the reader up to date with its mysteries, achievements and exciting plans. China has built a fleet of new, powerful Long March rockets, four launch bases, tracking stations at home and abroad, with gleaming new design and production facilities. China is poised to build a large, permanent space station, bring back lunar rocks, assemble constellations of communications satellites and send spaceships to Mars, the moons of Jupiter and beyond. A self-sustaining lunar base, Yuegong, has already been simulated. In space, China is the country to watch.