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.
It is the winner of the Jerwood Prize. A constellation of everyday digital phenomena is rewiring our inner lives. We are increasingly coaxed from the three-dimensional containment of our pre-digital selves into a wonderful and eerie fourth dimension, a world of ceaseless communication, instant information and global connection. Our portals to this new world have been wedged open, and the silhouette of a figure is slowly taking shape. But what does it feel like to be four-dimensional? How do digital technologies influence the rhythms of our thoughts, the style and tilt of our consciousness? What new sensitivities and sensibilities are emerging with our exposure to the delights, sorrows and anxieties of a networked world? And how do we live in public, with these recoded private lives? Tackling ideas of time, space, friendship, commerce, pursuit and escape, and moving from Hamlet to the ghosts of social media, from Seinfeld to the fall of Gaddafi, from Facebook politics to Oedipus, The Four-Dimensional Human is a highly original and pioneering portrait of life in a digital landscape.
Shortlisted for the 2009 Royal Society Prize for Science Books. A sharp and occasionally very funny guide to the effects Randomness has on our lives showing how our need to find patterns in the external world can lead us astray. Leonard Mdlodinow packs his text with some startling examples such as the trial of O J Simpson, Hollywood winners and clunkers and the success rates of company executives. Amazing facts, a thorough tour of all the theories of chance, it will give you a great insight into the problems of our random world. Comparison: The Logic of Life by Tim Harford, Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, Irrationality by Stuart Sutherland
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.
Why are there two sexes? How different are they and why? Why can't a woman be more like a man? Or should the question be: why can't a man be more like a woman? Controversy rages around sex and gender, but just what are the differences and how are they determined? Lewis Wolpert, distinguished scientist, broadcaster and author, has tackled depression, religion and old age from a developmental biologist's perspective. Now he enters the gender debate, starting with his argument that men are fundamentally modified females - if the genes present at fertilisation did not do their job properly, we would all be women - and journeying through MRI techniques, the nature of sexual attraction, 'neurosexism' and whether men are really better at maths. With fresh and persuasive research and with his customary intelligence and curiosity, Lewis Wolpert sets out to make his mark on this controversial topic - and makes some surprising discoveries along the way.
The highly anticipated new book from Malcom Gladwell, host of the chart-topping podcast Revisionist History. With original archival interviews and musical scoring, this enhanced audiobook edition of Talking to Strangers brings Gladwell's renowned storytelling to life in his unparalleled narrating style. The routine traffic stop that ends in tragedy. The spy who spends years undetected at the highest levels of the Pentagon. The false conviction of Amanda Knox. Why do we so often get other people wrong? Why is it so hard to detect a lie, read a face or judge a stranger's motives? Through a series of encounters and misunderstandings - from history, psychology and infamous legal cases - Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual adventure into the darker side of human nature, where strangers are never simple and misreading them can have disastrous consequences. No one challenges our shared assumptions like Malcolm Gladwell. Here he uses stories of deceit and fatal errors to cast doubt on our strategies for dealing with the unknown, inviting us to rethink our thinking in these troubled times.
Marc Abrahams is back for more ‘truth really is stranger than fiction’ moments with the second helping of scientifically researched improbability including: can Pizza save your life? how to quickly and successfully remove brains and are lip prints as distinct as finger prints? Addictively jaw-dropping.
Usually manna from heaven for certain tabloid newspapers, bizarre research stories often pepper the headlines and here are some you may have heard of but I guarantee many, many even more bizarre stories previously unearthed. WTF indeed. But looking at all these bizarre experiments and theories as part of a vast jigsaw-puzzle then some of them do have purpose even if is a dead-end or proves the very opposite to the original proposal. Abrahams’ dead-pan style brings out the unintended humour in his subject ranging widely over all the scientific disciplines, one can only observe that truth really is stranger than fiction. Like for Like ReadingElephants on Acid: & Other Bizarre Experiments, Alex BoeseBad Science, Ben Goldacre
November 2013 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. A brilliant book that makes you realise, with more than a hint of humour, how much you don’t know. Why do we breathe? What is money? How does the brain work? Why did life invent sex? Does time really exist? to name but a few. Dip into - or read the whole thing and really impress your friends.
Why do we breathe? What is money? How does the brain work? Why did life invent sex? Does time really exist? How does capitalism work - or not, as the case may be? Where do mountains come from? How do computers work? How did humans get to dominate the Earth? Why is there something rather than nothing? In What a Wonderful World, Marcus Chown, bestselling author of Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You and the Solar System app, uses his vast scientific knowledge and deep understanding of extremely complex processes to answer simple questions about the workings of our everyday lives. Lucid, witty and hugely entertaining, it explains the basics of our essential existence, stopping along the way to show us why the Atlantic is widening by a thumbs' length each year, how money permits trade to time travel why the crucial advantage humans had over Neanderthals was sewing and why we are all living in a giant hologram.
Gravity is the weakest force in the everyday world yet it is the strongest force in the universe. It was the first force to be recognised and described yet it is the least understood. It is a 'force' that keeps your feet on the ground yet no such force actually exists. Gravity, to steal the words of Winston Churchill, is 'a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma'. And penetrating that enigma promises to answer the biggest questions in science: what is space? What is time? What is the universe? And where did it all come from?
In 140 pages, two masterly popularisers present 140 explanations of the biggest questions in physics - in the form of 10 or so tweets per page. They set themselves the challenge of boiling down what is essential on each subject into sentences of 140 characters, and the results are both entertaining and brilliantly informative. The reader is not patronized and learns something on every page. If only all science writing could be so precise and so economical. Only science writers of a very high calibre could achieve such compression. Marcus Chown - the finest cosmology writer of our day (Matt Ridley) - has known the Dutch writer Govert Schilling for twenty years. Schilling pioneered this very swift form of explanation in a Dutch newspaper, and suggested to Chown that they collaborate on bringing it to a wider audience.
Where did we come from? What is the ultimate destiny of the universe? What are the building blocks of the physical world? What is consciousness? Are there limits to what we can discover about our physical universe? Are some regions of the future beyond the predictive powers of science and mathematics? Is time before the big bang a no go arena? Are there ideas so complex that they are beyond the conception of our finite human brains? Can brains even investigate themselves or does the analysis enter an infinite loop from which it is impossible to rescue itself? Are there true statements that can never be proved true? Prepare to be taken to the edge of knowledge to find out what we cannot know.
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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