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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!

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 probably in its most satisfactory, elegant form it will ever have. 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, such as germanium or californium, but for others - even the well-known elements, such as oxygen or nitrogen - their 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 the 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. Whilst 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 the language used throughout 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 we take for granted 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.

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.

Evolutions Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World

Evolutions Fifteen Myths That Explain Our World

Author: Oren Harman Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 14/11/2019

'Daring, learned and humane ... A revelatory restoration of wonder' Stephen Greenblatt. We no longer think, like the ancient Chinese did, that the world was hatched from an egg, or, like the Maori, that it came from the tearing-apart of a love embrace. The Greeks told of a tempestuous Hera and a cunning Zeus, but we now use genes and natural selection to explain fear and desire, and physics to demystify the workings of the universe. Science is an astounding achievement, but are we really any wiser than the ancients? Has science revealed the secrets of fate and immortality? Has it provided protection from jealousy or love? There are those who believe that science has replaced faith, but must it also be a death knell for mythology? Evolutions brings to life the latest scientific thinking on the birth of the universe and the solar system, the journey from a single cell all the way to our human minds. Reawakening our sense of wonder and terror at the world around us and within us, Oren Harman uses modern science to create new and original mythologies. Here are the Earth and the Moon presenting a cosmological view of motherhood, a panicking Mitochondrion introducing sex and death to the world, the loneliness of consciousness emerging from the memory of an octopus, and the birth of language in evolution summoning humankind's struggle with truth. Science may not solve our existential puzzles, but like the age-old legends, its magical discoveries can help us continue the never-ending search.

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.

The Wolf Within The Astonishing Evolution of the Wolf into Man's Best Friend

The Wolf Within The Astonishing Evolution of the Wolf into Man's Best Friend

Author: Professor Bryan Sykes Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 14/11/2019

The evolution of dogs and the forces that drove its amazing transformation from a fierce wild carnivore, the wolf, to the astonishing range of comparatively docile domesticated dogs that we know today. Sykes paints a vivid picture of the dog as an ancient and essential ally. While undoubtedly it was the mastery of fire, language and agriculture that propelled Homo sapiens from a scarce, medium-sized primate to the position we enjoy today, Sykes crucially credits a fourth element for this success: the transformation of the wolf into the multi-purpose helpmate that is the dog. Drawing upon archaeology, history and genetics, Sykes shows how humans evolved to become the dominant species on Earth, but only with the help of our canine companions.

Fibonacci's Rabbits And 49 Other Breakthroughs that Revolutionised Mathematics

Fibonacci's Rabbits And 49 Other Breakthroughs that Revolutionised Mathematics

Author: Adam Hart-Davis Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/11/2019

The word mathematics comes from the Greek word mathema, meaning knowledge or learning. And indeed mathematics is at the heart of almost all processes and patterns that occur in the modern world, yet many still find the discipline hard to fathom. Fibonacci's Rabbits solves this problem in bite-sized `hops', de scribing the 50 most critical discoveries and revolutionary moments in the history of mathematics from Ancient Greece to the present day.

The Reality Bubble Blind Spots, Hidden Truths and the Dangerous Illusions that Shape Our World

The Reality Bubble Blind Spots, Hidden Truths and the Dangerous Illusions that Shape Our World

Author: Ziya Tong Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/11/2019

What are we not seeing? Our naked eyes see only a thin sliver of reality. We are blind in comparison to the x-rays that peer through skin, the mass spectrometers that detect the dead inside the living, or the high-tech surveillance systems that see with artificial intelligence. And we are blind compared to the animals that can see in infrared, or ultraviolet, or with 360-degree vision. These animals live in the same world we do, but they see something quite different when they look around. In The Reality Bubble, Ziya Tong illuminates this hidden world and takes us on a journey to examine ten of humanity's biggest blind spots. What she reveals is not on the things we didn't evolve to see but, more dangerously, the blindness of modern society. Fast-paced, utterly fascinating and deeply humane, this vitally important new book gives voice to the sense we've all had - that there is more to the world than meets the eye.

Reef Life An underwater memoir

Reef Life An underwater memoir

Author: Callum Roberts Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/11/2019

Reef Life is a marine science memoir - the story of how Britain's pre-eminent marine conservation scientist, fell in love with coral reefs. Callum Roberts begins as a young university student who had never been abroad, spending a summer helping to map the unknown reefs of Saudi Arabia. From the moment he first cleared his goggles, he's never looked back, moving on to survey Sharm al-Sheikh, and from there diving and researching all over the world, including the Australia's imperilled Great Barrier Reef and the more resilient reefs of the Caribbean, in a thirty-year career. His stories are astonishing, lyrical and laced with a wonderful wry humour - and they allow us privileged access to, and understanding of, the science of our oceans and reefs. Reading this book will also commit readers to support of Callum's goal to get marine reserve status for ten percent of the world's ocean.

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: 05/11/2019

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.