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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.
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
This is the complete guide to exploring the fascinating world of maths you were never told about at school. Stand-up comedian and mathematician Matt Parker uses bizarre Klein Bottles, unimaginably small pizza slices, knots no one can untie and computers built from dominoes to reveal some of the most exotic and fascinating ideas in mathematics. Starting with simple numbers and algebra, this book goes on to deal with inconceivably big numbers in more dimensions than you ever knew existed. And always with something for you to make or do along the way.
Remarkably clear, simple, occasionally funny explanations and diagrams about 55 complicated things. With fabulous blueprints, some fold out pages, smart little funnies and fascinating information, this is suitable for children and adults, in fact I can see the whole family together, studying and talking about this book for hours. Randall Munroe has only used the thousand most common words to write ’Thing Explainer', the thousand words sit at the back with his explanation as to why he chose them, just before a wonderfully large fold out diagram of a skyscraper. My personal favourites were the car engine and battery pages. I giggled, I was enthralled, and I learnt things without my brain being left in a confused bewildered knot, perfect! In other words, this jargon-busting, no-nonsense book is really rather clever indeed. ~ Liz Robinson December 2015 Book of the Month.
From the wireless to the computer, and from hula hoops to interplanetary travel, inventions and discoveries have changed our lifestyles in ways that would have astounded our ancestors.
What if humankind disappeared from the face of the world – overnight? What would happen, how long would the world take to recover, how long before evidence of our existence disappears beneath the vegetation? There are many different answers to this question, with different time frames and scenarios and Alan Weisman’s questioning of people in the know, the experts and scientists has thrown up some amazing (and terrifying) facts. He knits all this together into an engrossing story that whilst the stuff of fantasy, has roots in the environmental damage inflicted on the planet today. Comparison: The Earth After Us by Jan Zalasiewicz, The Last Generation by Fred Pearce, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive by Jared Diamond
'The woods are the great beauty of this country...A fine forest-like beech wood far more beautiful than anything else which we have seen in its vicinity' is how John Stuart Mill described a small patch of beech-and bluebell woodland, buried deeply in the Chiltern Hills and now owned by Richard Fortey. Drawing upon a lifetime of scientific expertise and abiding love of nature, Fortey uses his small wood to tell a wider story of the ever-changing British landscape, human influence on the countryside over many centuries and the vital interactions between flora, fauna and fungi. The trees provide a majestic stage for woodland animals and plants to reveal their own stories. Fortey presents his wood as an interwoven collection of different habitats rich in species. His attention ranges from the beech and cherry trees that dominate the wood to the flints underfoot; the red kites and woodpeckers that soar overhead; the lichens, mosses and liverworts decorating the branches as well as the myriad species of spiders, moths, beetles and crane-flies. The 300 species of fungi identified in the wood capture his attention as much as familiar deer, shrews and dormice. Fortey is a naturalist who believes that all organisms are as interesting as human beings - and certainly more important than the observer. So this book is a close examination of nature and human history. He proves that poetic writing is compatible with scientific precision.
Why is life the way it is? Bacteria evolved into complex life just once in four billion years of life on earth - and all complex life shares many strange properties, from sex to ageing and death. If life evolved on other planets, would it be the same or completely different?
Sixty years ago the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre wrote 'hell is other people'. Now, new evidence shows us that he was utterly wrong. Beginning from the first moments of life and at every age and stage, close contact with other people - and especially with women - affects how we think, whom we trust, and where we invest our money. Our social ties powerfully influence our sense of life satisfaction, our cognitive skills, and how resistant we are to infections and chronic disease. While information about diet, exercise, and new classes of drugs were the life-changing breakthroughs of the past decades, the new evidence is that social bonds - the people we know and care about-are just as critical to our survival. The Village Effect tells the story of the ways face-to-face human contact changes our minds, literally. Drawing on the latest discoveries in social cognition, social networks and neuroscience, salted with profiles of real people and their relationships, Susan Pinker explains why we are driven to trust other people and form lifelong bonds, and why we ignore these connections at our peril.
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.
Simply and clearly told but not in the slightest simplistic, this intriguing book looks at the third chimpanzee (us…humans) and makes you really think about how we came to exist and what we are doing to ensure our existence continues. We are human, we do dangerous things, we communicate using language, we commit genocide - have you ever wondered why, when, how? Lots of answers are here, some more questions too, you don't have to read this in one go, you can pop in and out and read a chapter at a time. There are also some really interesting diverse snapshots of information scattered among the pages. You may well find yourself sharing passages of this fascinating book out loud with family and friends, as they will probably not only learn a lot but start to ponder a few significant things too!
The story of how one wild snail (and one of its 118 offspring) came to the aid of Elisabeth Tova Bailey as she recovered from a devastating illness. A friend dug up some violets and found a small snail, thinking Elisabeth would enjoy them both. A strange gift, but it inspired this remarkable meditation on illness and separation from the outside world. Watching the snail, first in its plant pot and then in a terrarium gave the author a focus when she could do little but lie in bed, her observations leading her into exploring the daily life of the snail, its evolution and history. Like for Like ReadingA Voice through a Cloud, Denton WelchMy Year Off, Rediscovering Life after a Stroke, Robert McCrum
A vivid, thrilling portrayal of the lives and work of Kepler and Galileo and their struggles with the social and political forces around them. It's the first in what will be a fascinating trilogy. Each book bringing to life, through vivid storytelling, key moments in our understanding of the cosmos. Set in the seventeenth century, when religion and science were at war, the revelation that the earth was not the centre of the universe is seen through the eyes of the two men who proved it; Galileo and the lesser known German scientist Johannes Kepler. Books like this transform the way you access and understand our view of history. February 2012 Debut of the Month. The Sky's Dark Labyrinth series:1. The Sky's Dark Labyrinth2. The Sensorium of God 3. The Day Without Yesterday
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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