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Popular Science

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.

The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets

The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets

Author: Simon Singh Format: Paperback Release Date: 25/09/2014

You may have watched hundreds of episodes of The Simpsons (and its sister show Futurama) without ever realising that they contain enough maths to form an entire university course. In The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets, Simon Singh explains how the brilliant writers, some of the mathematicians, have smuggled in mathematical jokes throughout the cartoon's twenty-five year history, exploring everything from to Mersenne primes, from Euler's equation to the unsolved riddle of P vs. NP, from perfect numbers to narcissistic numbers, and much more. With wit, clarity and a true fan's zeal, Singh analyses such memorable episodes as 'Bart the Genius' and 'Homer ' to offer an entirely new insight into the most successful show in television history.

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The Science Book

The Science Book

Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/08/2014

All the big ideas in science, simply explained Part of the popular Big Ideas series, The Science Book explores the history of science, how scientists have sought to explain our incredible universe and how amazing scientific discoveries have been made. Discover how Galileo worked out his scientific theories of motion and inertia, why Copernicus' ideas were contentious and what the discovery of DNA meant. All the big scientific ideas and discoveries are brought to life with quirky graphics, pithy quotes and step-by-step 'mind maps', plus every area of science is covered, including astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, maths and physics. You'll be brought up-to-date on scientific ideas from black holes to genetic engineering with eye-catching artworks showing how the ideas of key scientists have impacted our understanding of the world. Whether you are a science student or just have an interest in scientific ideas, The Science Book is a perfect way to explore this fascinating subject.

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The Reason for Flowers Their History, Culture, Biology, and How They Change Our Lives

The Reason for Flowers Their History, Culture, Biology, and How They Change Our Lives

Author: Stephen L. Buchmann Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/07/2015

Flowers, and the fruits that follow, feed, clothe, sustain, and inspire all humanity. They have done so since before recorded history. Flowers are used to celebrate all-important occasions, to express love, and are also the basis of global industries. Yet, we know little about flowers, their origins, bizarre sex lives, or how humans relate and depend upon them. Flowering plants continue to serve as inspiration in our myths and legends, in the fine and decorative arts, and in literary works of prose and poetry. Flowers seduce us-and animals, too-through their myriad shapes, colours, textures, and scents. And because of our extraordinary appetite for more unusual and beautiful super flowers, plant breeders have created such unnatural blooms as blue roses and black petunias to cater to the human world of haute couture fashion. In so doing, the nectar and pollen vital to the bees, butterflies, and bats of the world, are being reduced. Buchmann explains the unfortunate consequences, and explores how to counter them by growing the right flowers. Here, he integrates fascinating stories about the many colourful personalities who populate the world of flowers, and the flowers and pollinators themselves, with a research-based narrative that illuminates just why there is, indeed, a Reason for Flowers.

The Rational Optimist How Prosperity Evolves

The Rational Optimist How Prosperity Evolves

Author: Matt Ridley Format: Paperback Release Date: 31/03/2011

Matt Ridley, acclaimed author of the classics 'Genome' and 'Nature via Nurture', turns from investigating human nature to investigating human progress. In 'The Rational Optimist' Ridley offers a counterblast to the prevailing pessimism of our age, and proves, however much we like to think to the contrary, that things are getting better. Over 10,000 years ago there were fewer than 10 million people on the planet. Today there are more than 6 billion, 99 per cent of whom are better fed, better sheltered, better entertained and better protected against disease than their Stone Age ancestors. The availability of almost everything a person could want or need has been going erratically upwards for 10,000 years and has rapidly accelerated over the last 200 years: calories; vitamins; clean water; machines; privacy; the means to travel faster than we can run, and the ability to communicate over longer distances than we can shout. Yet, bizarrely, however much things improve from the way they were before, people still cling to the belief that the future will be nothing but disastrous. In this original, optimistic book, Matt Ridley puts forward his surprisingly simple answer to how humans progress, arguing that we progress when we trade and we only really trade productively when we trust each other. 'The Rational Optimist' will do for economics what 'Genome' did for genomics and will show that the answer to our problems, imagined or real, is to keep on doing what we've been doing for 10,000 years -- to keep on changing.

The Quantum Astrologer's Handbook

The Quantum Astrologer's Handbook

Author: Michael Brooks Format: Hardback Release Date: 12/10/2017

The Quantum Astrologer's Handbook is a science book with the panache of a novel, for readers of Carlo Rovelli or Umberto Eco. It is a work of and about genius.

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The Planet Remade How Geoengineering Could Change the World

The Planet Remade How Geoengineering Could Change the World

Author: Oliver Morton Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/07/2016

The risks of global warming are real, and potentially vast. The difficulty of doing without fossil fuels is daunting, and possible insurmountable. So there is an urgent need for new thinking on climate. To meet that need, a small but increasingly influential group of scientists is exploring proposals for planned human intervention in the climate system. A stratospheric veil against the sun; the cultivation of photosynthetic plankton; a fleet of unmanned ships seeding clouds: these are the radical technologies of climate geoengineering. It is chilling to think of such power, and such scope for misadventure or malice, in humans hands. And yet we are now at the point where we have no choice but to take them very seriously indeed. The Planet Remade explores the science, history and politics behind these strategies. It looks at who might want to see geoengineering put to use - and why others would be dead set against it. In the last two centuries, changes to the planet - to the clouds and soils, to the winds and the seas, to the great cycles of nitrogen and carbon - have been far more profound than most of us realize. Appreciating the scale of that change compels us to rethink not just our responses to global warming, but our relationship to nature.

The Perfect Theory A Century of Geniuses and the Battle Over General Relativity

The Perfect Theory A Century of Geniuses and the Battle Over General Relativity

Author: Professor Pedro G. Ferreira Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/02/2014

Shortlisted for the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books 2014. Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is possibly the most perfect intellectual achievement in modern physics. Anything that involves gravity, the force that powers everything on the largest, hottest or densest of scales, can be explained by it. From the moment Einstein first proposed the theory in 1915, it was received with enthusiasm yet also with tremendous resistance, and for the following ninety years was the source of a series of feuds, vendettas, ideological battles and international collaborations featuring a colourful cast of characters. A gripping, colourfully told story, A Perfect Theory entangles itself with the flashpoints of modern history. In this first complete popular history of the theory, Pedro G. Ferreira shows how the theory has informed our understanding of exactly what the universe is made of and how much is still undiscovered: from the work of the giant telescopes in the deserts of Chile to the way in which the latest work on black holes is providing a fresh, new perspective on what space and time are truly made of.

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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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