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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.
Statins are the single most commonly prescribed class of drugs in the whole of the developed world. They're taken by over 100 million people, with millions more patients being offered them every year. We know that statins do some good. But we don't know how big the benefits are. We don't know which is the best. We don't how common the side effects are. We don't give clear information to patients, so they are deprived of their right to make informed decisions about the trade-off between benefits, inconvenience, and risk. All this can be fixed, with a few simple changes that weld big data onto the heart and art of medicine.
'The woods are the great beauty of this country...A fine forest-like beech wood far more beautiful than anything else which we have seen in its vicinity' is how John Stuart Mill described a small patch of beech-and bluebell woodland, buried deeply in the Chiltern Hills and now owned by Richard Fortey. Drawing upon a lifetime of scientific expertise and abiding love of nature, Fortey uses his small wood to tell a wider story of the ever-changing British landscape, human influence on the countryside over many centuries and the vital interactions between flora, fauna and fungi. The trees provide a majestic stage for woodland animals and plants to reveal their own stories. Fortey presents his wood as an interwoven collection of different habitats rich in species. His attention ranges from the beech and cherry trees that dominate the wood to the flints underfoot; the red kites and woodpeckers that soar overhead; the lichens, mosses and liverworts decorating the branches as well as the myriad species of spiders, moths, beetles and crane-flies. The 300 species of fungi identified in the wood capture his attention as much as familiar deer, shrews and dormice. Fortey is a naturalist who believes that all organisms are as interesting as human beings - and certainly more important than the observer. So this book is a close examination of nature and human history. He proves that poetic writing is compatible with scientific precision.
Pauline first became ill when she was fifteen. What seemed to be a urinary infection became joint pain, then life-threatening appendicitis. After a routine operation Pauline lost all the strength in her legs. Shortly afterwards, convulsions started. But Pauline's tests are normal: her symptoms seem to have no physical cause whatsoever. This may be an extreme case, but Pauline is not alone. As many as a third of people visiting their GP have symptoms that are medically unexplained. In most, an emotional root is suspected which is often the last thing a patient wants to hear and a doctor to say.
On most measures that matter, we've never had it so good. Physically, life for humankind has improved immeasurably over the last fifty years. Yet there is a crisis of progress slowly spreading across the world. Perhaps this is due to a failure of vision; in the 1960s we dreamed of flying cars and moon hotels; today what we've ended up with are status updates and cat videos. To a large degree, the history of the next fifty years will be about the relationship between people and technologies created by a tiny handful of designers and developers. These inventions will undoubtedly change our lives, but the question is, to what end? What do we want these technologies to achieve on our behalf? What are they capable of, and - as they transform the media, the economy, healthcare, education, work, and the home - what kind of lives do we want to lead?
Why is life the way it is? Bacteria evolved into complex life just once in four billion years of life on earth - and all complex life shares many strange properties, from sex to ageing and death. If life evolved on other planets, would it be the same or completely different?
This is a New York Times bestseller. Our subconscious is an important part of our daily lives, yet how much do we know about its mysterious inner workings? In Incognito, renowned neuroscientist and bestselling author David Eagleman draws on recent discoveries to illuminate the surprising unconscious processes of the brain. Why do you hear your name in a conversation that you didn't think you were listening to? Why does your foot hit the brake pedal before you are conscious of danger ahead? Why are you more likely to marry someone whose name begins with the same letter as yours? Why is it so difficult to keep a secret?
'I think that, if required on pain of death to name instantly the most perfect thing in the universe, I should risk my fate on a bird's egg' Thomas Wentworth Higginson, 1862 How are eggs of different shapes made, and why are they the shape they are? When does the shell of an egg harden? Why do some eggs contain two yolks? How are the colours and patterns of an eggshell created, and why do they vary? And which end of an egg is laid first - the blunt end or the pointy end? These are just some of the questions A Bird's Egg answers, as the journey of a bird's egg from creation and fertilisation to its eventual hatching is examined, with current scientific knowledge placed within an historical context. Beginning with an examination of the stunning eggs of the guillemot, each of which is so variable in pattern and colour that no two are ever the same, acclaimed ornithologist Tim Birkhead then looks at the eggs of hens, cuckoos and many other birds, revealing weird and wonderful facts about these miracles of nature. Woven around and supporting these facts are extraordinary stories of the individuals who from as far back as Ancient Egypt have been fixated on the study and collection of eggs, not always to the benefit of their conservation.
WINNER OF THE 2015 COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist: more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast, there's a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon. His colourful adventures read like something out of a Boy's Own story: Humboldt explored deep into the rainforest, climbed the world's highest volcanoes and inspired princes and presidents, scientists and poets alike. Napoleon was jealous of him; Simon Bolivar's revolution was fuelled by his ideas; Darwin set sail on the Beagle because of Humboldt; and Jules Verne's Captain Nemo owned all his many books. He simply was, as one contemporary put it, 'the greatest man since the Deluge'. Taking us on a fantastic voyage in his footsteps - racing across anthrax-infected Russia or mapping tropical rivers alive with crocodiles - Andrea Wulf shows why his life and ideas remain so important today.
There is a prevailing myth - in both modern society and in modern science - that who we are is largely down to our genetic code. This book uncovers the truth about genetics: that our genes actually play very little part in shaping who we are.
Horsemeat in burgers was hard to swallow, but there are far more sinister culinary crimes afoot...Chicken eggs that haven't come from chickens, melamine in infant's milk in China, nut shells in spices - these are just some examples of the food fraud that has occurred in recent years. As our urban lifestyle takes us further and further away from our food sources, there are increasing opportunities for dishonesty, duplicity and profit-making short-cuts. Food adulteration, motivated by money, is an issue that has spanned the globe throughout human history. Whether it's a matter of making a good quality oil stretch a bit further by adding a little extra 'something' or labelling a food falsely to appeal to current consumer trends - it's all food fraud, and it costs the food industry billions of dollars each year. The price to consumers may be even higher, with some paying for these crimes with their health and, in some cases, their lives.
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER The field of mind-body medicine is plagued by wild claims that mislead patients and instil false hope. But as scientists in a range of fields uncover solid evidence that our minds influence our bodies far more profoundly than previously thought, there is now great promise too.
He explains the insights of the ancient mathematicians, shows how numbers have evolved through the ages, and reveals the way numerical theory enables everyday life. Under Professor Stewart's guidance you will discover the mathematics of codes, Sudoku, Rubik's cube, music, primes and pi. You may be surprised to find you live in eleven-dimensional space, that of the twenty-three people on a football pitch two are more likely than not to share the same birthday, and that forty-two is a very interesting number. Professor Stewart's Incredible Numbers will delight everyone who loves numbers -- including those who currently think they don't.
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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