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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.
Our seas are host to an extraordinary variety of plant and animal life, but much of it remains mysterious and great imagery is surprisingly hard to find. Alex Mustard is one of the world's leading underwater photographers and his images are so crisp and immediate that the animals seem to swim out of the water towards you. The text addresses the issue of change in the oceans along with tales of oceanography, marine life and human history in the seas and aims to help the reader to get to know the oceans, understand how marine animals live their lives and how they have, are and may well adapt to change.
What would you do if someone bet you they could balance a coin on the edge of a banknote, walk through a postcard, or make you move your limbs through the power of suggestion? Would you take that bet? From Richard Wiseman, the creator of the 350-million-view YouTube phenomenon, Quirkology, comes a thrilling mix of lateral thinking, magic tricks and scintillating science stunts which is sure to appeal to curious minds everywhere.
Yuval. Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century - from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution. This is Homo Deus. War is obsolete. You are more likely to commit suicide than be killed in conflict. Famine is disappearing. You are at more risk of obesity than starvation. Death is just a technical problem. Equality is out - but immortality is in. What does our future hold?
From the bestselling author of The Drunkard's Walk and Subliminal, this is the inspiring and illuminating story of how we have come to understand the world, from the invention of the very first tools to the mind-bending theories of quantum physics. Leonard Mlodinow guides us through the critical eras and events in the development of science, all of which, he demonstrates, were propelled forward by humankind's collective struggle to know. From the birth of reasoning and culture to the formation of the studies of physics, chemistry, biology, and modern-day quantum physics, we come to see that much of our progress can be attributed to simple questions - why? how? - bravely asked. Mlodinow profiles some of the great philosophers, scientists, and thinkers who explored these questions - Aristotle, Galileo, Newton, Darwin, Einstein and Lavoisier among them - and makes clear that just as science has played a key role in shaping the patterns of human thought, human subjectivity has played a key role in the evolution of science.
Over the last few hundred years an avalanche of discoveries have changed our world dramatically, having a profound effect on what we think really matters. Now, in his most ambitious book yet, Sean Carroll breaks down how the universe works at the quantum, cosmic and human levels to reveal how our everyday lives connect to the underlying laws of nature.
Tom Wolfe, whose legend began in journalism, takes us on an eye-opening journey that is sure to arouse widespread debate. The Kingdom of Speech is a captivating, paradigm-shifting argument that speech - not evolution - is responsible for humanity's complex societies and achievements. From Alfred Russel Wallace, the Englishman who beat Darwin to the theory of natural selection but later renounced it, and through the controversial work of modern-day anthropologist Daniel Everett, who defies the current wisdom that language is hard-wired in humans, Wolfe examines the solemn, long-faced, laugh-out-loud zig-zags of Darwinism, old and Neo, and finds it irrelevant here in our Kingdom of Speech.
In 1859, the brilliant scientist Urbain LeVerrier discovered that the planet Mercury has a wobble, that its orbit shifts over time. His explanation was that there had to be an unseen planet circling even closer to the sun. He called the planet Vulcan. Supported by the theories of Sir Isaac Newton, the finest astronomers of their generation began to seek out Vulcan and at least a dozen reports of discovery were filed. There was only one problem. Vulcan does not exist - and was never there. The real explanation was only revealed when a young Albert Einstein came up with a theory of gravity that also happened to prove that Mercury's orbit could indeed be explained - not by Newton's theories but by Einstein's own theory of general relativity.
Mary Roach can never resist going just that bit further, searching out the most arcane information on her chosen subject and in Gulp, a story of the physicality of eating, you just know it won’t end there – you know it won’t end with what goes in, there will be a lot of what goes out as well. Mind you, she has the knack of finding out just what we’ve all been longing to know, and one has to admire her talent for nosing out the experts – some in subjects you’ve never heard of, admire too her gung-ho approach to self-experimentation. I think she’s the tops, a clever writer who blends the science facts with humour and amazement, if you’ve not read her before then start here and I guarantee you’ll have to go back and search out her back list. Shortlisted for the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books 2014. Like for Like Reading The Big Necessity: Adventures in the World of Human Waste, Rose George The Man who Ate Everything: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about but Were Afraid to Ask, Jeffrey Steingarten
50 Science Ideas You Really Need to Know is your guide to the biggest questions and deepest concepts from across the whole of science. What was the Big Bang? How did life on Earth arise? What does quantum mechanics tell us about the universe? Is true artificial intelligence possible? And does life exist on other planets? Moving from the basics of atoms and molecules, Newton's laws of physics and the building blocks of life to the cutting edge of nanotechnology, Einstein's theories of relativity and cloning, this book makes the many worlds of science accessible and illuminating.
The risks of global warming are real, and potentially vast. The difficulty of doing without fossil fuels is daunting, and possible insurmountable. So there is an urgent need for new thinking on climate. To meet that need, a small but increasingly influential group of scientists is exploring proposals for planned human intervention in the climate system. A stratospheric veil against the sun; the cultivation of photosynthetic plankton; a fleet of unmanned ships seeding clouds: these are the radical technologies of climate geoengineering. It is chilling to think of such power, and such scope for misadventure or malice, in humans hands. And yet we are now at the point where we have no choice but to take them very seriously indeed. The Planet Remade explores the science, history and politics behind these strategies. It looks at who might want to see geoengineering put to use - and why others would be dead set against it. In the last two centuries, changes to the planet - to the clouds and soils, to the winds and the seas, to the great cycles of nitrogen and carbon - have been far more profound than most of us realize. Appreciating the scale of that change compels us to rethink not just our responses to global warming, but our relationship to nature.
'Here, on the edge of what we know, in contact with the ocean of the unknown, shines the mystery and the beauty of the world. And it's breathtaking' These seven short lessons guide us, with simplicity and clarity, through the scientific revolution that shook physics in the twentieth century and still continues to shake us today. Not since Richard Feynman's celebrated Six Easy Pieces has physics been so vividly, intelligently and entertainingly revealed.
Spanning the globe and several centuries, The Gene is the story of the quest to decipher the master-code that makes and defines humans, that governs our form and function. The story of the gene begins in an obscure Augustinian abbey in Moravia in 1856 where a monk stumbles on the idea of a 'unit of heredity'. It intersects with Darwin's theory of evolution, and collides with the horrors of Nazi eugenics in the 1940s. The gene transforms post-war biology. It reorganizes our understanding of sexuality, temperament, choice and free will. This is a story driven by human ingenuity and obsessive minds - from Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel to Francis Crick, James Watson and Rosalind Franklin, and the thousands of scientists still working to understand the code of codes. This is an epic, moving history of a scientific idea coming to life, by the author of The Emperor of All Maladies. But woven through The Gene, like a red line, is also an intimate history - the story of Mukherjee's own family and its recurring pattern of mental illness, reminding us that genetics is vitally relevant to everyday lives. These concerns reverberate even more urgently today as we learn to read and write the human genome - unleashing the potential to change the fates and identities of our children.
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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