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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.
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.
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?
April 2011 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. This book grabs you from the first page, tumbling out facts and information in a down to earth and readable way, with a chatty humour which does not disguise the amount of knowledge that neuroscientist author David Eagleman has to offer. Many of his facts and anecdotes are grippingly interesting and I found myself re-reading several of them so that I could tell other people and impress them with my knowledge! This is the real secret of the success of this fantastic book – it is easily broken into manageable chunks of reading so that you are not completely bogged down or overwhelmed by what must be his vastly superior intellect. It is rare to find a brilliant scientist who has the gift of the gab and can hold an audience but this book really does do that. For anyone interested in human nature and behavior, this book is an absolute must, a “can’t put it down” treasure store of fascinating information about our brains.
On August 9, 2010, 33 teams from 21 countries were dispatched to search for the Lost Frogs identified by Conservation International. On their list were a host of species including, in the top ten most wanted, the Rio Pescado Stubfoot Toad, found only in Ecuador - which was to prove a triumphant rediscovery. Several months, a number of key rediscoveries - such as the Elegant Tropical Frog, last seen in 1937 and the Chalazodes Bubble-nest Frog - last seen in 1874 and two new species later, the Search for Lost Frogs had generated more than 650 news articles in 20 countries and over a billion potential viewers. Author Robin Moore was responsible for spearheading the Search for Lost Frogs and coordinating the teams. He also co-led two expeditions to Colombia and Haiti. In Colombia in search of the Mesopotamia Beaked Toad, the steamy jungles of the Choco yielded not the desired species but a brand new one - the Mr. Burns Toad, so-called because of an uncanny resemblance to the Simpsons' character; the species was selected as one of Time magazine's top ten new species of 2010. In Haiti the team found six frogs last seen 20 years before, including the Ventriloqual Frog, named for its ability to throw its voice. This fascinating new book tells the story of the expedition - its highs and lows, discoveries and failures and the campaign's ongoing work. Despite the campaign, one third of the world's amphibians remain threatened with extinction. Most of the species searched for were not found. But those that were provide a glimmer of hope. Understanding why these species have survived when many others have not should help us understand what makes these species different. In Search of Lost Frogs is a story of perseverance, disappointment, rediscovery, resilience, but ultimately of hope, written with passion and illustrated with the author's superb photographs.
'When I was twelve, my grandfather began to act strangely. It started with inexplicable walks. He'd leave the dinner table and we would find him, half an hour later, aimlessly wandering around the neighbourhood. His smiles were gradually replaced by a fearful, withdrawn expression; as if he'd lost something irreplaceable. Before long, he didn't recognise any of us.'Alzheimer's is the great global epidemic of our time, affecting millions worldwide - there are over 850,000 people with the diagnosis in the UK alone. And its shockwaves extend far wider, through disbelieving families and friends. In 2016, it overtook heart disease as the number one cause of death in England and Wales, and as our populations age, scientists are working against the clock to find a cure. Neuroscientist Joseph Jebelli is among them. Determined to save other families from the experiences that had rocked his, he set out to write the book that explained what happened to his grandfather.
The nation's favourite scientist looks at the origins of life in our Universe. For somehow the laws of nature conspired to create a naked ape that can look up at the stars and wonder where it came from. For as long as humans have walked the Earth we have searched for our place in the cosmos. We have looked to the heavens and the Earth and to the precious nature of human life. But perhaps most importantly of all, we have driven ourselves to do something that is, as far as we know, unique in the Universe. We ask questions. In Brian Cox's latest groundbreaking book he tackles some of the greatest questions that humans have asked to try and understand the very nature of ourselves and the Universe in which we live. He looks at the journeys we've taken to answer these questions; through the endless leaps of human minds, he explores the extraordinary depth of our knowledge today and where our curiosity may lead us in the future. He reveals how time, physics and chemistry came together to create a creature that can wonder at its own existence, blessed with an unquenchable thirst to discover not just where it came from, but how it can think, where it is going and if it is alone. Human Universe is Brian Cox's personal take on the past, present and future of humanity - from the birth of the Universe to the ultimate fate of our species. It will transport you out of this world into a whole new dimension as it gives us a new perspective on human life.
Part of the TED series: How We'll Live on Mars It sounds like science fiction, but award-winning journalist Stephen Petranek considers it fact: within 20 years, humans will live on Mars. We'll need to. Private companies (driven by iconoclastic entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson); Dutch reality show/space mission Mars One; NASA and the Chinese government are among the many groups competing to plant the first stake on Mars and open the door for human habitation. For Elon Musk, it's the ultimate awesome thing. For other entrepreneurs, it's about competition and opportunity. For NASA, the Chinese government and the leagues of other private companies and foreign nationals racing to get to Mars, there are more urgent reasons as well: life on Mars has potential life-saving possibilities for us on earth. Depleting water supplies, overwhelming climate change and a host of other disasters - from terrorist attacks to meteor strikes - all loom large. We must become a space-faring species to survive. In this close-up narrative chronicle, Petranek introduces the circus of lively characters all engaged in a big-money, big-drama effort to expand the limits of human knowledge - and life - by being the first to settle on the Red Planet. How We'll Live on Mars brings first-hand reporting, interviews with key players and extensive research to bear on the question of how we can best, and most plausibly, expect to see life on Mars - within the next 20 years. Petranek can also be seen discussing his fascinating ideas in his TEDTalk 10 Ways The World Could End.
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.
Cutting-edge science combined with worst-case scenario style informative irreverence. Read it and be in a class of your own at any social gathering.
From the hosts of the legendary BBC Radio 4 programme comes this irreverent celebration of scientific marvels - a hectic leap through the grand and bizarre ideas conjured up by human imagination, from dark matter to consciousness via neutrinos and earthworms.
It took us 4 billion years to evolve to where we are now - completely brilliant and yet, some might say, emotionally dwarfed. The question is: can our more empathetic side catch up in time to save us and the world? I've got nothing against smarts, but it's smarts without emotional awareness that got us into this position of being able to nuke each other into oblivion and rape the earth for oil. With a little help from a monk (who tells us how our mind works) and a neuroscientist (who tells us how our brain works), Ruby Wax answers every question you've ever had about: evolution, thoughts, emotions, the body, addictions, relationships, sex, kids, the future and compassion. Filled with witty anecdotes from Ruby's own life, and backed up by smart science and practical mindfulness exercises, How to be Human is the only manual you need to help you upgrade your mind as much as you've upgraded your iphone.
Surprising, amusing and even amazing maths from Rob Eastaway who reveals that mathematical precision can be found in the most mundane of places, including your sock drawer. Start here for a book to take away fear of maths and change your view of maths from boring to amazing. Like for Like Reading: The Joy of X: A Guided Tour of Mathematics from One to Infinity, Steven Strogatz Alex's Adventures in Numberland, Alex Bellos
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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