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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.
See the world. Then make it better. I am 93. I've had an extraordinary life. It's only now that I appreciate how extraordinary. As a young man, I felt I was out there in the wild, experiencing the untouched natural world - but it was an illusion. The tragedy of our time has been happening all around us, barely noticeable from day to day - the loss of our planet's wild places, its biodiversity. I have been witness to this decline. A Life on Our Planet contains my witness statement, and my vision for the future - the story of how we came to make this, our greatest mistake, and how, if we act now, we can yet put it right. We have the opportunity to create the perfect home for ourselves and restore the wonderful world we inherited.
'Obscene Genes: The Ride of a Lifetime' is Steve O'Grady's third book of entertaining scientific theories. As a graduate in bio-science, the study of which he undertook as a mature student after a variety of jobs, the author uses his life experiences and great sense of humour to try to explain what it is that makes us tick. His conclusion is that our genes are the things that drive everything we do throughout our lives. They alone are responsible for our behaviour, whether that be deemed good (such as caring for babies, appreciating grandmas and being loyal friends), bad (from being greedy, inventing and using guns, to getting disgustingly drunk) or downright ugly (indulging in extreme pornography, racism and violent revenge). We should, therefore, not be surprised or shocked by nor too critical of any of these behaviours, as they are being forced upon us by our genes' relentless need to replicate themselves. Even the apparent disregard by many younger people of the current Covid-19 restrictions can be put down to this over-riding force compelling us to give in to basic instincts and share our genes. By the author's own admission, however, this was not the book he had set out to write, so, after discarding most of his original work, he amalgamated the remainder with the section just described. The following few pages then proceed to explain the very complex workings of the human gene replication system by way of an even more complex analogy of train carriages, passengers, platforms and timetables! The reader will soon get the gist though. The final section is a veritable romp through some very funny and/or poignant personal experiences from the author's childhood family life, his single-sex Catholic school career and from his work as a prison officer. It may seem that the author is condoning all manner of behaviours, as, according to him, we could rightly claim that 'it wasn't my fault, my genes made me do it'. But no. The reader is left in no doubt that Mr O'Grady believes in free will and urges us, at all costs, to use it as often as possible and thwart our genes, which would have us do things that, in the cold light of day, we know to be wrong. The world of education has long pondered the question of 'nature versus nurture', in which our genes' need to be copied is pitted against the society, shaped by laws, culture and religious beliefs, that we all have to live in. This extraordinary book provides much food for thought and should help the reader to a better understanding of him/herself and the world around. A very rewarding read. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
Diary of a Young Naturalist recounts a year in the life of an autistic and highly gifted 15 year old, struggling with school, bullies, moving house and fearing the decline of the natural world whilst rejoicing in it. Dara McAnulty is clearly an extraordinary person and a beautiful and mature writer. His descriptions of his adventures in nature are inspiring for children, but also sure to brighten the souls of many an adult too. The intensity with which nature presents itself to the author is overwhelming, and his ability to share this with the reader is enthralling. It’s a rollercoaster ride being in the head of this young man, but the book has the magic to open our eyes and ears to what beauty is around us each and every day - if only we looked! McAnulty's knowledge of wildlife and nature is simply extraordinary. His autism is a burden but also a super-power, providing him with piercing insight to a world that simply cannot be ignored with all its truth, tragedy and hope pouring out of every hedgerow, pond and dry stone wall. This is a diary which highlights our essential connection with the natural world, the landscape and our history embedded within it - but more importantly, it is also about our futures. Dara McAnulty is on a mission, and if the quality of this book is anything to go by, he will have a huge impact. For many children, this book will be the beginning of a wondrous journey. ~ Greg Hackett Greg Hackett is the Founder & Director of the London Mountain Film Festival
The hilarious first children's book from the UK's bestselling non-fiction author. Do you ever think about your body and how it all works? Like really properly think about it? The human body is extraordinary and fascinating and, well . . . pretty weird. Yours is weird, mine is weird, your maths teacher's is even weirder. This book is going to tell you what's actually going on in there, and answer the really important questions, like: Are bogeys safe to eat? Look, if your nose is going to all that effort of creating a snack, the least we can do is check out its nutritional value. (Yes, they're safe. Chew away!) And . . . How much of your life will you spend on the toilet? About a year - so bring a good book. (I recommend this one.) So sit back, relax, put on some rubber gloves, and let a doctor take you on a poo (and puke) filled tour of your insides. Welcome to Kay's Anatomy*. *a fancy word for your body. See, you're learning already.
All the big ideas in science, simply explained Part of the popular Big Ideas series, The Science Book explores the history of science, how scientists have sought to explain our incredible universe and how amazing scientific discoveries have been made. Discover how Galileo worked out his scientific theories of motion and inertia, why Copernicus' ideas were contentious and what the discovery of DNA meant. All the big scientific ideas and discoveries are brought to life with quirky graphics, pithy quotes and step-by-step 'mind maps', plus every area of science is covered, including astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, maths and physics. You'll be brought up-to-date on scientific ideas from black holes to genetic engineering with eye-catching artworks showing how the ideas of key scientists have impacted our understanding of the world. Whether you are a science student or just have an interest in scientific ideas, The Science Book is a perfect way to explore this fascinating subject.
Adam Alter takes his readers on a tour of the subconscious brain showing how we react to signals and stimuli such as colour without our being aware of what we are doing. Psychologists have found the colour referred to in the title, Drunk Tank Pink saps energy and there is more fascinating information on our unconscious reaction to other colours such as blue and red. We know the being in the countryside can make us feel revitalised but why? Why does a poster featuring a pair of eyes cut crime, why do lapdancers find their tips vary through the month? Why can’t we cope with social isolation and why do we imitate others? This is a challenging look at brain function, easy to understand and full of anecdotal evidence, a clever guide to the secret cues that impinge on us every day. Like for Like Reading Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about our Brains, Susana Martinez-Conde, Stephen Macknik & Sandra Blakeslee You Are Not so Smart: Why Your Memory is Mostly Fiction, Why You Have Too Many Friends on Facebook and 46 Other Ways You’re Deluding Yourself, David McRaney
What happened to the future we were promised – for good or ill - the personal jet packs and holidays on the moon? For the real future the authors have been scouring the science press, watching what the geeks are doing and working out the logical end to the inventions just starting to make the news. And yes- you’ve guessed it, it’s shit – prepare to be appalled and amused in equal measure. Like for Like Reading Death from the Skies: The Science Behind the End of the World, Philip Plait, Paperback, 336 pages Penguin 28th September 2009 9780143116042 Yesterday's Tomorrows: Past Visions of the American Future, Joseph J Com & Brian Horrigan, Paperback 176 pages Johns Hopkins University Press 15th May 1996 9780801853999 A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'I don’t want you to think this book isn’t funny. Because it is. Very. But I also wanted to say just how informative it is. I was educated and tickled when I first read the manuscript. I learnt loads, from nanotechnology to giant spaceships. And most of it freaked me out a little. Are scientists really doing this stuff?! It would appear that they are. Alan and Steve are brilliant satirists and they really get their teeth into the future with gusto.' - Scott Pack, Editor, The Friday Project
Having made way too many impulsive purchases of kitchen equipment in my time, this would be a most welcome guide to the now huge range of “stuff” available to modern cooks. It goes from the simple for the back to basics type of cook and the eco-conscious right up to the bells and whistles type of high end equipment that would probably take your coat off for you if you asked it. A symbol to the amount of washing up involved would have been useful, as remembering my juicer it was soon back to the wooden reamer! ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading: Consider the Fork by Bee Wilson You might also like to consider the following but they are both out of print: Kitchen Things: An Album of Vintage Utensils, Richard Snodgrass (9781626360365) In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed, Carl Honore (9780752864143)
What if humankind disappeared from the face of the world – overnight? What would happen, how long would the world take to recover, how long before evidence of our existence disappears beneath the vegetation? There are many different answers to this question, with different time frames and scenarios and Alan Weisman’s questioning of people in the know, the experts and scientists has thrown up some amazing (and terrifying) facts. He knits all this together into an engrossing story that whilst the stuff of fantasy, has roots in the environmental damage inflicted on the planet today. Comparison: The Earth After Us by Jan Zalasiewicz, The Last Generation by Fred Pearce, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive by Jared Diamond
From the wireless to the computer, and from hula hoops to interplanetary travel, inventions and discoveries have changed our lifestyles in ways that would have astounded our ancestors.
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's the best way to sort your laundry? Why is Facebook so good at predicting what you like? How do you find new music? Readers around the world have embraced Ali Almossawi's whimsical illustrations and his funny, clarifying explanations of complex subjects. In Bad Choices Almossawi demystifies a new topic of increasing relevance to our lives: algorithms. This is a book for anyone who's looked at a given task and wondered if there was a better, faster way to get it done. What's the best way to organize a grocery list? What's the secret to being more productive at work? How can we better express ourselves in 140-characters? Presenting us with alternative methods for tackling each scenario, Almossawi guides us to better choices that borrow from same systems that underline a computer word processor, a Google search engine, or a Facebook ad. Once you recognise what makes a method faster and more efficient, you'll become a more nimble, creative problem-solver, ready to face new challenges.
There is currently huge interest in the question of human nature and identity, and what the human future might look like. Who are we? Why are we here? What is our future? Are we alone? And what can religion bring, alongside biology and anthropology, to these important and exciting questions? The Great Mystery focuses on this fascinating field of study. A follow-up to his critically acclaimed Inventing the Universe, in The Great Mystery Alister McGrath once again brings together science with religion to yield an enriched vision of reality, along with rigorous and thoroughly up-to-date scholarship and intellectual accessibility.
On August 10, 1632, five leading Jesuits convened in a sombre Roman palazzo to pass judgment on a simple idea: that a continuous line is composed of distinct and limitlessly tiny parts. The doctrine would become the foundation of calculus, but on that fateful day the judges ruled that it was forbidden. With the stroke of a pen they set off a war for the soul of the modern world.
Loneliness has become an international epidemic, but according to Dr. Amy Banks, every one of us is quite literally hardwired for close relationships. The key to achieving more satisfying relationships is to strengthen the neural pathways in our brains that encourage closeness and connection. In Four Ways to Click, Dr. Banks reveals that there are four distinct neural pathways in the brain that correspond to the four most important ingredients for healthy and satisfying relationships: CALMNESS is a result of a well-toned vagus nerve, which in turn helps temper the sympathetic nervous system. ACCEPTEDNESS, or accepting others and feeling accepted back, comes from a well-tuned dorsal anterior cingulate cortex. EMOTIONAL RESONANCE, our ability to reflect back to others that we 'get them', occurs when the mirror neuron system is properly functioning. ENERGY, the drive to be happy and close to the people we care about despite life's hardships, comes from a dopamine reward system that is connected to healthy relationships. When we are supported by good relationships, these neural pathways - and our brains as a whole - flourish. But when we are isolated or in bad relationships, other neural pathways associated with stress are activated, creating symptoms of anxiety, anger, withdrawal, and dissatisfaction. The great news? By tuning up these four neural pathways, we can feel better - and we can enhance your ability to connect with others.
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.
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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