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Popular Science

Get up to speed with the most popular developments in science, with everything from the tiniest atom to the farthest flung findings of the universe, and every scientific discovery in between. Our selection of books in this category will keep you up to date.

The Address Book Our Place in the Scheme of Things

The Address Book Our Place in the Scheme of Things

Author: Tim Radford Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/04/2009

At the start of each school term, at the age of about 10, I did something that I suppose a million other 10-year-olds have done! The Address Book starts with some of the fundamental questions asked by everyone, in every culture since the beginning of civilisation. Who am I? Where am I? Where am I going? Tim Radford attempts to answer them by drafting in a technique he first used as a school-boy, when he wrote his address in the inside front cover of his exercise book every term, starting with the house number, the street name, the town, and proceeding upwards through levels of scale - the hemisphere, the planet, the solar system, the galaxy - until he reached the final line, the universe itself. So - this is a book written on a vertical rather than a horizontal axis. We open with Tim in the present day, in Hastings, sitting at his desk, thinking about his house, his possessions, how they have shaped him and how he has affected them, how a house becomes part of our identity and what binds us to the objects in it. The next chapter deals with Hastings itself; the town as a unit of scale, why we associate ourselves with one place rather than another. And so on, upwards through levels of magnitude. As the units of space grow larger, so Tim himself dwindles and the bigger, colder forces of astronomy and astrophysics come into play. By the time we reach the address's final line we are beginning to understand that there is no final answer to the question Where am I? - behind every answer lies a new question, receding into unthinkable distance, to the spectacle of galaxies falling away from each other into nothingness. The Address Book is fascinating, entertaining, unsettling and insatiably curious.

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Science has never been more popular. You don’t have to understand it to love it. We live in a golden age where we know more about the world and its origins than ever before. Here, some of the biggest questions ever asked find answers, as well as some of the smallest. This is a section bursting from its nucleus with protons of knowledge especially compiled for the lay enthusiast and the curious. Accessible science is no longer the domain of the scientist. We can all have a go at broadening our minds … and what’s more, we can do it from the relative comfort of our favourite chair. Relative comfort, because the chair is merely a mass of vibrating particles on a planet, hurtling through space and time, bending both as it goes in a Universe that may itself just be one of an infinite number of possible universes in an undefinable dimension of matter.

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