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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.
Black holes are the most extreme objects in the universe, yet every galaxy harbours a black hole at its centre. In Einstein's Monsters, Chris Impey builds on this profound discovery to explore questions at the cutting edge of cosmology, such as what happens if you travel into a black hole and whether the galaxy or its black hole came first. Impey chronicles the role black holes have played in theoretical physics. He then describes the phenomena that scientists have witnessed while observing black holes: dozens of stars swarming around the dark object at the centre of our galaxy; black holes performing gravitational waltzes with normal stars; the cymbal clash of two black holes colliding, releasing ripples in spacetime. Einstein's Monsters is the incredible story of one of the most enigmatic entities in nature.
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.
A fascinating and practical guide from two New York Times bestselling authors, backed by state-of-the-art scientific research Drawing on cutting-edge research, friends and Harvard collaborators Daniel Goleman and Richard Davidson expertly reveal what we can learn from a one-of-a-kind data pool that includes world-class meditators. They share for the first time remarkable findings that show how meditation - without drugs or high expense - can cultivate qualities such as selflessness, equanimity, love and compassion, and redesign our neural circuitry. Demonstrating two master thinkers at work, The Science of Meditation explains precisely how mind training benefits us. More than daily doses or sheer hours, we need smart practice, including crucial ingredients such as targeted feedback from a master teacher and a more spacious worldview. These two bestselling authors sweep away the misconceptions around these practices and show how smart practice can change our personal traits and even our genome for the better. Gripping in its storytelling and based on a lifetime of thought and action, this is one of those rare books that has the power to change us at the deepest level.
100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come? In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical - and sometimes devastating - breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, palaeontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come? Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power ... and our future. 'Here is a simple reason why Sapiens has risen explosively to the ranks of an international bestseller. It tackles the biggest questions of history and of the modern world, and it is written in unforgettably vivid language. You will love it!' - Jared Diamond
The ideal stocking filler for anyone looking for some good, clean, grisly fun this Christmas. Wryly amusing and gruesomely fascinating, this smart science-based stocking filler provides technical answers to many of the questions curious kids like to issue at adults, and many an adult wonders about. Positing “What would happen if…” as its driving pivot, the book explores all manner of unusual ways to meet one’s demise in deadpan detail. Many of the questions tap into commonly-held fears: what would happen if your plane window popped out? If you were buried alive? If you were struck by lightning? Others are ingeniously absurd: what would happen if buzzards raised you? If you ate as many cookies as the cookie monster? If you toured the Pringles factory and fell off the catwalk? If you actually lost your head? Encompassing the disciplines of anatomy, physics, geology and astronomy, the authors’ answers are funnily thorough, and funny full-stop. Joanne Owen
Both a how to do it and a go-to guide for the mathematically challenged. Knowing maths can save you money and avert disaster. It may be forms or mortgages and insurance, measurements or conversions, weights and tax – all can cause confusion at best or panic at worst, see how Hywel Carver’s guide can make the sums add up. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading How Not to be Wrong: The Hidden Maths of Everyday Lives by Jordan Ellenberg Everyday Maths for Grownups: Getting to Grips with the Basics by Kjartan Poskitt
For hundreds of thousands of years, our ancestors depended on wild plants and animals for survival. They were hunter-gatherers, consummate foraging experts, taking the world as they found it. Then a revolution occurred - our ancestors' interaction with other species changed. They began to tame them. The human population boomed; civilisation began.
The new book from astronaut Tim Peake, the number one bestselling author of Hello, is this planet Earth? From training to launch, from his historic spacewalk to re-entry, he reveals for readers of all ages the cutting-edge science behind his ground-breaking experiments, and the wonders of day-to-day life on board the International Space Station.
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.
Films – what do they know about science, what have they got right and what they have got wrong? (all that clunky computer equipment in Alien for a start). Can we teleport, grow a dinosaur or shapeshift, Doctor Michael Brooks explains it all to us and to colleague Rick Edwards. Taken from their Twitter pages they discuss science shown in films that have often delved into the science. This is the quintessential Christmas gift for lovers of science and movies based on the hit podcast, Science(ish), stylishly designed and illustrated throughout. Like for Like Reading The Physics of Star Trek by Lawrence Krauss The Haynes Zombie Survival Manual by Sean T Page
Having made way too many impulsive purchases of kitchen equipment in my time, this would be a most welcome guide to the now huge range of “stuff” available to modern cooks. It goes from the simple for the back to basics type of cook and the eco-conscious right up to the bells and whistles type of high end equipment that would probably take your coat off for you if you asked it. A symbol to the amount of washing up involved would have been useful, as remembering my juicer it was soon back to the wooden reamer! ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading: Consider the Fork by Bee Wilson You might also like to consider the following but they are both out of print: Kitchen Things: An Album of Vintage Utensils, Richard Snodgrass (9781626360365) In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed, Carl Honore (9780752864143)
Life, the Universe & Everything
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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