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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.
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)
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | A book to make you think and feel, this is an important, beautiful, spellbinding treasure. Words from nature are disappearing, being removed, left to one side to be forgotten. Some words are in real danger of being lost forever, this book reveals those words, sings them, shows them, reminds us how to love them. Spell-weavers Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris have created a bewitching ode to nature, reminding us of the danger of absence, highlighting beauty, whispering to our soul. It feels as though the words, the poems, and vividly beautiful pictures are as one, the essence of the word, of the being, escapes the page to wrap itself around you. ‘The Lost Words’ is suitable for all ages, and should find a special place in all homes, all libraries, all schools, all hearts. Do read the spell-poems out loud, listen, look, feel, touch, allow your awareness to open and receive these gifts. I found myself entranced, I fell completely under the spell of ‘The Lost Words’, I simply can’t recommend it highly enough. ~ Liz Robinson
A continent by continent journey around Earth's most beautiful, spectacular, and captivating landscapes. Discover which of Earth's wonders should definitely make it onto your bucket list with this unparalleled survey of the world's incredible natural treasures. With a foreword by Chris Packham, Natural Wonders of the World is the most in-depth look at Earth's greatest wonders.
From the hosts of the legendary BBC Radio 4 programme comes this irreverent celebration of scientific marvels - a hectic leap through the grand and bizarre ideas conjured up by human imagination, from dark matter to consciousness via neutrinos and earthworms.
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
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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