No catches, no fine print just unadulterated book loving, with your favourite books saved to your own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop Plus lots lots more…Find out more
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.
Darwin's theory of natural selection was a monumental step in our understanding of evolution, explaining how useful adaptations are preserved over generations. However, Darwin's great idea didn't - and couldn't - tell us how those adaptations arise in the first place. On its own, can random mutation really be responsible for all the creative marvels in nature? Renowned evolutionary biologist Andreas Wagner presents the missing piece of Darwin's theory. Using cutting-edge experimental technologies, he has found that adaptations are driven by a set of laws which allow nature to discover new molecules and mechanisms in a fraction of the time that random variation would take.
A stimulating, fresh, and thoughtful read that ponders and wanders through some of the big questions in philosophy. When I initially picked this book up, I did wonder whether it was a quirky guide to training your dog, I very quickly realised that it is in fact an interesting introduction to philosophy (for humans). The author Anthony McGowan is an award winning writer for children and young adults, and has lectured widely on creative writing and philosophy (he has a BA, Mphil and PhD in philosophy). He has joined the two together to produce the most fabulous book for anyone who has questions about the way we humans think and act. The author and his dog Monty chat about philosophy on their daily walks. And so we join them as they take a humorous light stroll through some really pretty big subjects, including happiness and ethics. It made me consider and think about some of the things I take for granted, the discussion between the two helps stimulate thoughts. There is one part where I simultaneously wanted to berate and hug the pair, you’ll know what I mean when you get there! At the end there are suggestions for further reading, including on logic, and the meaning of life. If you’re at all curious about philosophy and want a fascinating introduction, then look no further than How To Teach Philosophy to Your Dog as it is a wonderfully inspiring read.
In the Eastern Aegean lies an island of forested hills and olive groves, with streams, marshes and a lagoon that nearly cuts the land in two. It was here, over two thousand years ago, that Aristotle came to work. Aristotle was the greatest philosopher of all time. Author of the Poetics, Politics and Metaphysics, his work looms over the history of Western thought. But he was also a biologist - the first. Aristotle explored the mysteries of the natural world. With the help of fishermen, hunters and farmers, he catalogued the animals in his world, dissected them, observed their behaviours and recorded how they lived, fed, and bred. In his great zoological treatise, Historia animalium, he described the mating habits of herons, the sexual incontinence of girls, the stomachs of snails, the sensitivity of sponges, the flippers of seals, the sounds of cicadas, the destructiveness of starfish, the dumbness of the deaf, the flatulence of elephants and the structure of the human heart. And then, in another dozen books, he explained it all. In The Lagoon, acclaimed biologist Armand Marie Leroi recovers Aristotle's science. He goes to Lesbos to see the creatures that Aristotle saw, where he saw them, and explores the Philosopher's deep ideas and inspired guesses - as well as the things that he got wildly wrong.
With his trademark mix of perceptiveness and sensitivity, Atul Gawande outlines a story that crosses the globe, as he examines his experiences as a surgeon and those of his patients and family, and learns to accept the limits of what he can do. Never before has aging been such an important topic. The systems that we have put in place to manage our mortality are manifestly failing; but, as Gawande reveals, it doesn't have to be this way. The ultimate goal, after all, is not a good death, but a good life - all the way to the very end. Published in partnership with the Wellcome Collection, a free visitor destination that explores the connections between medicine, life and art.
Shortlisted for the 2009 Royal Society Prize for Science Books. Our noses hoover up an amazing range of scents yet sense of smell and its place in our sensory life is still something of a mystery. Avery Gilbert takes a tour through our olfactory senses showing the astonishing range of smells – good and bad we can detect, how we do it and even why. Comparison: The Secret of Scent by Luca Turin, The Emperor of Scent: A Story of Perfume, Obsession, the Last of the Senses by Chandler Burr
Much needed light is shed on the isolating world of the deaf through the author’s own personal journey recounting how she gradually lost her hearing leaving her with rage then hard won acceptance only to find she had a condition that could benefit from the most intricate surgery. As a writer and journalist, she deals with the condition in a way natural to her, investigating and explaining, revealing her own story and those of others, a humbling read that brings home the reality of how lack of hearing can lead to exclusion, the sheer exhaustion of trying to live in a hearing world. ~ Sue Baker May 2017 Non-Fiction Book of the Month.Like for Like ReadingSeeing Voices: A Journey into the World of the Deaf, Oliver SacksTrain Go Sorry: Inside a Deaf World, Leah Hager Cohen, Paperback 296 pages Vintage 1st October 1996 9780679761655
Psychology is everywhere. Our emotions and desires, the decisions we make on a daily basis - absolutely every aspect of the way we think and feel has been studied by psychologists. Through dozens of interactive puzzles, IQ tests, quizzes, jokes, puns and visual illusions, Ben Ambridge guides us through this wealth of research, showing us how we can better understand ourselves. Debunking tabloid speculation, revisiting old favourites like the Stanford Prison Experiment and unearthing bleeding edge research unknown to the general reader, renowned psychologist Ben Ambridge blows away the received wisdom to reveal to enthusiasts and novices alike the psychology behind our daily lives. With wit and humour aplenty, he explains whether your blue eyes make you more or less trustworthy, how analogies can help cure cancer, whether Rorschach's famous inkblot tests really work, what your love for heavy metal (or Mozart) says about you, how psychology could help solve the obesity crisis and countless other revealing, entertaining and downright astonishing tests of your Psy-Q. Visit Ben's accompanying website, http://benambridge.wordpress.com/, and test yourself - and your friends.
Shortlisted for the 2009 Royal Society Prize for Science Books. Ben Goldacre targets medical charlatans, quacks, frauds and cons with great relish. His medical expertise allowing him to dissect each one proving the case against them, pulling no punches, his often witheringly funny comments make this an exhilarating read. Funny he can be but his serious purpose is to show how we are being deceived, with any luck giving readers the ammunition to spot future deceptions for themselves. Comparison: Trick or Treatment: Alternative Medicine on Trial by Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst, Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All by Rose Shapiro July 2009 Guest Editor Louise Wener on Bad Science by BEN GOLDACREA simple, witty debunking of the junk science that has taken root in our culture; from the myth of detoxing and homeopathic cure alls, to our fear of the MMR vaccine. Goldacre skillfully examines how the media whips us into a frenzy about non-existent bogeymen and makes us all the poorer as a consequence. At a time when we seem to be rejecting scientific fact and seeking solace in instant, gobbledygook solutions, it feels like vital stuff.
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.
For millennia, we have looked up at the stars and wondered whether we are alone in the universe. In the last few years, scientists have made huge strides towards answering that question. What soon becomes clear is that the hunt for extra-terrestrials is also an exploration of what we actually mean by life. What do you need to kickstart life? How did the teeming energy of the Big Bang end up as frogs, trees and quantity surveyors? How can evolution provide clues about alien life? What might it look like? (Probably not green and sexy, sadly.) As our probes and manned missions venture out into the solar system, and our telescopes image Earth-like planets with ever-increasing accuracy, our search for alien life has never been more exciting - or better funded. The Aliens are Coming! is a comprehensive, accessible and hugely entertaining guide to that search, and our quest to understand the very nature of life itself.
The story and science of how animals find their way home. Home is the place we long for most, when we feel we have travelled too far, for too long. Since boyhood, acclaimed scientist and author Bernd Heinrich has returned every year to a beloved patch of woods in his native western Maine. But while it's the pull of nostalgia that informs our desire to go back, what is it that drives the homing instinct in animals? Heinrich explores the fascinating science behind the mysteries of animal migration: how geese imprint true visual landscape memory over impossible distances; how the subtlest of scent trails are used by many creatures, from fish to insects to amphibians, to pinpoint their home; and how the tiniest of songbirds are equipped for solar and magnetic orienteering over vast distances. Most movingly, Heinrich chronicles the spring return of a pair of sandhill cranes to their pond in the Alaska tundra. With his marvellously evocative prose, Heinrich portrays the psychological state of the newly arrived birds, articulating just what their yearly return truly means, to the birds and to those fortunate enough to witness this transcendently beautiful ritual. 'The Homing Instinct' is an enchanting study of this phenomenon of the natural world, reminding us that to discount our own feelings toward home is to ignore biology itself.
The story and science of how animals find their way home. Home is the place we long for most, when we feel we have travelled too far, for too long. Since boyhood, acclaimed scientist and author Bernd Heinrich has returned every year to a beloved patch of woods in his native western Maine. But while it's the pull of nostalgia that informs our desire to go back, what is it that drives the homing instinct in animals? Heinrich explores the fascinating science behind the mysteries of animal migration: how geese imprint true visual landscape memory over impossible distances; how the subtlest of scent trails are used by many creatures, from fish to insects to amphibians, to pinpoint their home; and how the tiniest of songbirds are equipped for solar and magnetic orienteering over vast distances. Most movingly, Heinrich chronicles the spring return of a pair of sandhill cranes to their pond in the Alaska tundra. With his marvellously evocative prose, Heinrich portrays the psychological state of the newly arrived birds, articulating just what their yearly return truly means, to the birds and to those fortunate enough to witness this transcendently beautiful ritual.
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.
We love this section and hope that you will too!