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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.
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
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.
Welcome to Subirdia presents a surprising discovery: the suburbs of many large cities support incredible biological diversity. Populations and communities of a great variety of birds, as well as other creatures, are adapting to the conditions of our increasingly developed world. In this fascinating and optimistic book, John Marzluff reveals how our own actions affect the birds and animals that live in our cities and towns, and he provides ten specific strategies everyone can use to make human environments friendlier for our natural neighbors. Over many years of research and fieldwork, Marzluff and student assistants have closely followed the lives of thousands of tagged birds seeking food, mates, and shelter in cities and surrounding areas. From tiny Pacific wrens to grand pileated woodpeckers, diverse species now compatibly share human surroundings. By practicing careful stewardship with the biological riches in our cities and towns, Marzluff explains, we can foster a new relationship between humans and other living creatures--one that honors and enhances our mutual destiny.
From the world-renowned physicist and best-selling author of The Elegant Universe comes this captivating exploration of deep time and humanity's search for purpose In both time and space, the cosmos is astoundingly vast, and yet is governed by simple, elegant, universal mathematical laws. On this cosmic timeline, our human era is spectacular but fleeting. Someday, we know, we will all die. And, we know, so too will the universe itself. Until the End of Time is Brian Greene's breathtaking new exploration of the cosmos and our quest to understand it. Greene takes us on a journey across time, from our most refined understanding of the universe's beginning, to the closest science can take us to the very end. He explores how life and mind emerged from the initial chaos, and how our minds, in coming to understand their own impermanence, seek in different ways to give meaning to experience: in story, myth, religion, creative expression, science, the quest for truth, and our longing for the timeless, or eternal. Through a series of nested stories that explain distinct but interwoven layers of reality-from the quantum mechanics to consciousness to black holes-Greene provides us with a clearer sense of how we came to be, a finer picture of where we are now, and a firmer understanding of where we are headed. Yet all this understanding, which arose with the emergence of life, will dissolve with its conclusion. Which leaves us with one realization: during our brief moment in the sun, we are tasked with the charge of finding our own meaning. Let us embark.
An awe-inspiring, unforgettable journey of scientific exploration from Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw, the top ten bestselling authors of The Quantum Universe. We dare to imagine a time before the Big Bang, when the entire Universe was compressed into a space smaller than an atom. And now, as Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw show, we can do more than imagine: we can understand. Over the centuries, the human urge to discover has unlocked an incredible amount of knowledge. What it reveals to us is breathtaking. Universal takes us on an epic journey of scientific exploration and, in doing so, reveals how we can all understand some of the most fundamental questions about our Earth, Sun, Solar System and the star-filled galaxies beyond. Some of these questions - How big is our solar system? How fast is space expanding? - can be answered from your back garden; the answers to others - How big is the Universe? What is it made of? - draw on the astonishing information now being gathered by teams of astronomers operating at the frontiers of the known universe. At the heart of all these questions - from the earliest attempts to quantify gravity, to our efforts to understand what dark matter is and what really happened at the birth of our universe - is the scientific process.
This is a totally unique and breathtaking introduction to what lies beneath us, to the earth below our feet. Let this very special and beautiful book take you by the hand and lead you through the sunlit fields to the place where the underland begins, a place most human thoughts shy from in fear and confusion. This is a sequel to The Old Ways, yet you can begin here without concern, you can trust and join Robert Macfarlane as he explores the underland. I will admit that I am in love with the writing, the words, the vision that allows you to see and feel in darkness. I haven’t ever considered our deep connection to this stunning underworld in the way you are encouraged to here. Robert Macfarlane meets and shares experiences with people who have chosen to explore, to look beyond the obvious. I absolutely adored how much he shares, how accessible Underland is, his words reached out and connected with my thoughts and feelings, altering, reshaping, transforming. While there is plenty to fear for our future, all the time there are humans with this amount of love for our natural world, there is also hope. Underland is one of my picks of the month, and also one of our star books - it is quite simply stunning.
This dazzling collection of stories reveals the key recent breakthroughs in science, across all fields. Inside you will meet the killers lurking in Earth's ice, the super-coral that could save our seas and the neuroscientists hunting ghosts. You will travel beyond our galaxy to worlds where the sun sets twice, and beyond our time to a future where the Internet is unhackable and chickenosaurs roam the land. Divided into sections covering physics, space, humanity, the brain, plants and animals, and linking stories from different fields, Unbelievable Science offers a boundless journey of discovery for anyone with a passion for the world around them. Prepare to be shocked and amazed on every page.
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.
As the new biopic of Stephen Hawking is set to launch, his first wife, Jane recalls their life together, the diagnosis of his motor-neurone disease, the balance to be struck between her family and full-time care for her husband. An honest and sometimes painful view of a marriage that was to fall apart under the stress of the illness, the fame and the media pressure. Like for Like Reading My Brief History, Stephen Hawking Alan Turing: The Enigma, Andrew Hodges The film version of this book, The Theory of Everything, is released in UK cinemas on Thursday 1 January 2015. Click below to view the trailer.
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
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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