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.
Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 8 January 2009. As close to a virtual tour as you can get without moving pictures. Richard Fortey is the tour-guide, taking us down the dark, echoing passages of the Natural History Museum, behind the public doors, introducing us to colleagues past and present. It’s an unusual history, full of great stories; the author is an engaging and great twinkly presence throughout and leaves us in no doubt as to the importance of the Natural History Museum, past, present and future. Comparison: Trilobite: Eyewitness to Evolution by Richard Fortey
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
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?
Shortlisted for the 2009 Royal Society Prize for Science Books. Found in a shipwreck on the rocky coast of Greece, a corroded lump of bronze has intrigued and obsessed archaeologists and scientists for over 100 years. Now the whole truth about this intricate mechanism can be told and Jo Marchant unfolds her tale like a detective story with emerging scientific processes finally allowing a detailed picture of its internal workings. This one mechanism reveals both the process of scientific deduction and how little we really know about the ancient world. Comparison: The Archimedes Codex by Reviel Netz
In Curvology, Cambridge Professor of Veterinary Anatomy David Bainbridge applies the science of evolutionary biology and cutting-edge psychology to women's bodies, to explain why the human female is the only female animal to have curves and how these curves rule our lives, by influencing not only sexual selection but also social hierarchy and self-image. Written in lucid and engaging prose, Bainbridge's unique brand of popular science also draws on illuminating references from art history, contemporary media culture, and a range of first-person interviews with some actual human women. Offering a level-headed and fresh perspective on a contentious issue, Curvology will be a fascinating, controversial, and highly newsworthy read.
This is a book about our extraordinary capacity to take pleasure in discovering, learning and understanding - an analysis of why curiosity makes the world go round.
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.
For you to be here today reading this requires a mind-boggling series of lucky breaks, starting with the Big Bang and ending in your own conception. So it's not surprising that we persist in thinking that we're in with a chance, whether we're playing the lottery or working out the likelihood of extra-terrestrial life.
Cats have the answers; we humans only have to watch – and learn. Life lessons in friendship, courage and responsibility or discovering how to improve your appearance and surroundings – Neil Somerville reminds us of what there is to learn…. I see he is not encouraging us to take up curtain climbing and the similar bad habits I could learn from my cats so we are talking ideal cats here, the ones who have had some training in mindfulness. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading How it Works: The Ladybird Book of the Cat by Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris One Hundred Secret Thoughts Cats Have about Humans by Celia Haddon
The final book from Professor Stephen Hawking, the bestselling author of A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME and arguably the most famous scientist of our age, BRIEF ANSWERS TO THE BIG QUESTIONS is a profound, accessible and timely reflection on the biggest questions in science. The world-famous cosmologist and #1 bestselling author of A Brief History of Time leaves us with his final thoughts on the universe's biggest questions in this brilliant posthumous work. Is there a God? How did it all begin? Can we predict the future? What is inside a black hole? Is there other intelligent life in the universe? Will artificial intelligence outsmart us? How do we shape the future? Will we survive on Earth? Should we colonise space? Is time travel possible? Throughout his extraordinary career, Stephen Hawking expanded our understanding of the universe and unravelled some of its greatest mysteries. But even as his theoretical work on black holes, imaginary time and multiple histories took his mind to the furthest reaches of space, Hawking always believed that science could also be used to fix the problems on our planet. And now, as we face potentially catastrophic changes here on Earth - from climate change to dwindling natural resources to the threat of artificial super-intelligence - Stephen Hawking turns his attention to the most urgent issues for humankind. Wide-ranging, intellectually stimulating, passionately argued, and infused with his characteristic humour, BRIEF ANSWERS TO THE BIG QUESTIONS, the final book from one of the greatest minds in history, is a personal view on the challenges we face as a human race, and where we, as a planet, are heading next.
When Joe Harkness suffered a breakdown in 2013, he tried all the things his doctor recommended: medication helped, counselling was enlightening, and mindfulness grounded him. But nothing came close to nature, particularly birds. How had he never noticed such beauty before? Soon, every avian encounter took him one step closer to accepting who he is. The positive change in Joe's wellbeing was so profound that he started a blog to record his experience. Three years later he has become a spokesperson for the benefits of birdwatching, spreading the word everywhere from Radio 4 to Downing Street. In this groundbreaking book filled with practical advice, Joe explains the impact that birdwatching had on his life, and invites the reader to discover these extraordinary effects for themselves.
Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award 2010. More than often we like to think we are right, this book shows how very often we can be wrong. It’s in our nature to want to be right but this book looks at how being wrong is also a useful and necessary part of being who we are and how it effects us. Interesting and enjoyable.
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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