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.

Zoom! How Everything Moves, from Atoms and Galaxies to Blizzards and Bees

Zoom! How Everything Moves, from Atoms and Galaxies to Blizzards and Bees

Author: Bob Berman Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/10/2014

Sitting still in a quiet room, you might just be able to convince yourself that nothing is moving. But air currents swirl about you. Blood rushes through your veins. The atoms in your chair jiggle furiously. And the planet you are on is whizzing through space 35 times faster than the speed of sound. In Zoom, Bob Berman takes a thrilling tour around the wondrous and myriad motions that shape every aspect of the universe. Spanning astronomy, geology, biology, meteorology and history, he explains how clouds stay aloft, how the earth's rotation curves a ball's flight, how a mosquito's familiar whine is tuned to a perfect A sharp, how the day gets longer every century, and much more.

eBooks of the Month
Your Mental Health Workout

Your Mental Health Workout

Author: Zoë Aston Format: Ebook Release Date: 13/05/2021

Your Mental Health Workout focuses on giving your mind some attention, in the same way you might change your eating or exercise habits to get physically fitter. Think of it as the mental health equivalent of a five-week gym membership, focusing on your thoughts and feelings and how you respond to them. The book was very easy to navigate, with weekly checklists and planners at the beginning to keep me on track (printable copies are available from the author’s website). Everything in the book is very practical and explained in simple terms and a friendly tone. I loved the way Zoe Aston, a psychotherapist, approaches a mental health workout in the same way we would approach a physical one – setting goals, warming up, weekly workouts and daily workouts – with easy exercises to build ‘mental muscle’. There’s even an additional chapter on ‘Physio for your feelings’. A fun and informative way to look after my mental health and keep stress and anxiety at bay. 

eBooks of the Month
Your Inner Fish: The Amazing Discovery of Our 375-Million-Year-Old Ancestor

Your Inner Fish: The Amazing Discovery of Our 375-Million-Year-Old Ancestor

Author: Neil Shubin Format: Paperback Release Date: 29/01/2009

Shortlisted for the 2009 Royal Society Prize for Science Books. For anyone wanting to understand evolution – Your Inner Fish is a revelation showing we may be closely related to the apes but further back, fish, anemones, sea-worms – they’re all our very distant relations. Puzzling perhaps, we can see the similarities between apes and ourselves but fish? But that’s where Neil Shubin shines - with a text that explains and enlightens; his wonder at the intricacy and beauty of the evolutionary process positively infectious.   Comparison: The Ancestor’s Tale by Richard Dawkin

eBooks of the Month
You Are Here Around the World in 92 Minutes

You Are Here Around the World in 92 Minutes

Author: Chris Hadfield Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/10/2014

In You Are Here, bestselling author and celebrated astronaut Chris Hadfield creates a virtual orbit of Earth, giving us the really big picture: this is our home, from space. The millions of us who followed Hadfield's news-making Twitter feed from the ISS thought we knew what we were looking at when we first saw his photos. But we may have caught the beauty and missed the full meaning. Now, through photographs - many of which have never been shared - Hadfield unveils a fresh and insightful look at our planet. He sees astonishing detail and importance in these images, not just because he's spent months in space but because his in-depth knowledge of geology, geography, and meteorology allows him to reveal the photos' mysteries. Featuring Hadfield's favourite images, You Are Here is divided by continent and represents one (idealized) orbit of the ISS. This planetary photo tour - surprising, playful, thought-provoking, and visually delightful - provides a breathtakingly beautiful perspective on the wonders of the world. You Are Here opens a singular window on our planet, using remarkable photographs to illuminate the history and consequences of human settlement, the magnificence of newly uncovered landscapes, and the power of the natural forces shaping our world and the future of our species.

Wonders of the Universe

Wonders of the Universe

Author: Brian Cox, Andrew Cohen Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/03/2011

Shortlisted for the Galaxy Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award 2011.   Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts at the Hay Festival on 29 May 2011. Professor Brian Cox is back with another insightful and mind-blowing exploration of space. This time he shows us our universe as we've never seen it before.

eBooks of the Month
Wonderland A Year of Britain's Wildlife, Day by Day

Wonderland A Year of Britain's Wildlife, Day by Day

Author: Brett Westwood, Stephen Moss Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/04/2017

From blackbirds, beavers and beetles to tawny owls, natterjack toads and lemon slugs. Every day of the year, winter or summer, in every corner of the British Isles, there's plenty to see if you know where - and how - to look. From encounters with the curious black redstart, which winters on our rocky coasts, to the tiny green snowdrop shoots that are the first sign that spring might be round the corner. And from the blossom-time and dawn choruses of April and May into the abundant noisiness of summer, where days start with hawker dragonflies and drowsy bumblebees and end with glow-worms and ghost moths; to autumn when in the early morning mist of London's Richmond Park male red deer lock horns in competition for a mate. Nature is always full of surprises - whether it's the strange behaviour of clothes moths or the gruesome larder of the strike.

Woman An Intimate Geography

Woman An Intimate Geography

Author: Natalie Angier Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/08/2014

WOMAN explores the essence of what it means to be female. In mapping the inner woman - from organs to orgasms - Natalie Angier presents an extraordinary new vision of the female body as an evolutionary masterpiece. 'Anyone living in or near a female body should read this book' - Gloria Steinem 'Women have long been regarded as slaves to biology and evolution, prisoners in a hormonal swamp. But now, some of the sacred tenets of evolutionary psychology...have come under fresh challenge. As the century turns, it could be Goodbye women's lib; hello female liberation!...WOMAN is a delicious cocktail of estrogen and amphetamine designed to pump up the ovaries as well as the cerebral cortex' - Barbara Ehrenreich, TIME MAGAZINE 'Drawing on science, literature and history, Angier provides valuable insight into the power of hormones, breast milk and the all-important clitoris. A must for every woman's bookshelf' - WOMAN'S JOURNAL

eBooks of the Month
Will We Ever Speak Dolphin?

Will We Ever Speak Dolphin?

Author: New Scientist Format: Paperback Release Date: 04/10/2012

October 2012 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. The seventh in the phenomenally brilliant and best selling series. Complied from the ‘Last Word’ section of the New Scientist magazine, where readers write in with interesting and obscure questions - which are then answered by other (v clever) readers. Perfect for someone who thinks they know everything or for everyone else who loves dipping in and out of fascinating scientific trivia.

eBooks of the Month
Wild Nights Out

Wild Nights Out

Author: Chris Salisbury Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/06/2021

Calling all outdoor adventurers who want to walk on the wild side by the light of the moon! While there’s no shortage of brilliant books to inspire and guide nature exploration in young adventurers, Chris Salisbury’s Wild Nights Out is the first nature guide to focus on night-time activities, which gives both the book and its activities a distinct and decidedly magical edge.   With a foreword by Chris Packham, this is a brilliant book for grown-ups to use with 7+-year-olds who share their passion for the great outdoors. The text addresses adults, as opposed to chattily speaking to children direct, but with a background in theatre and environmental education, and currently working as professional storyteller alongside directing the Call of the Wild Foundation programme for educators-in-training, the author is well-placed to advise on how to engage young explorers.   As for the activities, the book covers a blend of games, walks and sensory experiences, the latter of which form an excellent foundation from which to explore the world at night, with exercises designed to focus and enhance one’s sensory perceptions. Then there are practical activities covering the likes of learning to call for owls, detect bats and understand the night sky alongside immersive theatrical activities, such as hosting nocturnal animal performances and fireside storytelling. With black-and-white illustrations throughout and activities to last the entire summer holidays, this certainly shines an inspiring and informative light on night-time nature.     You can find more recommended adventure reads in our curation for the London Mountain Film Festival Bookfest 2021.    

Why The F*ck Can't I Change

Why The F*ck Can't I Change

Author: Dr Gabija Toleikyte Format: Ebook Release Date: 21/01/2021

Why the F*ck Can’t I Change? is a scientific look at our emotions and why it can be difficult for us to change our mindset, long-standing habits and productivity. While the title is a sweary one, the book’s contents aren’t sweary at all. This is a fairly academic book on behavioural change, focusing on the biology and anatomy of the human brain. It has been well-researched by its neuroscientist author, using scientific studies and reference books. There are some case studies, self-help advice and practical tips, but it’s not a quick read. The book features some medical jargon so it may not work for everyone, but each chapter has a useful summary at the end. If you’re looking for a book that gives you more than the usual self-help ‘change your life’ advice, because you want to understand the root cause of why you feel, think and behave the way you do, then this book may be the answer. Purchase Why the F*ck Can't I Change from: Amazon Apple Kobo Google

Why Can't Elephants Jump? And 101 Other Tantalising Science Questions

Why Can't Elephants Jump? And 101 Other Tantalising Science Questions

Author: New Scientist Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/10/2010

Now well-established in the Christmas market, the latest in the New Scientist series of Science puzzles and trivia. As a concept it never seems to stale, due to the fact that these are readers’ queries and readers’ answers – and a genuinely questing readership it is – concerned as much with rats catching bubonic plague as horses getting travel sick.Like for Like ReadingHow to Fossilise Your Hamster & Other Amazing Experiments for the Armchair Scientist, Mick O’HareDoes Anything Eat Wasps?: And 101 Other Questions, New Scientist

Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man

Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man

Author: Lewis Wolpert Format: Hardback Release Date: 18/09/2014

Why are there two sexes? How different are they and why? Why can't a woman be more like a man? Or should the question be: why can't a man be more like a woman? Controversy rages around sex and gender, but just what are the differences and how are they determined? Lewis Wolpert, distinguished scientist, broadcaster and author, has tackled depression, religion and old age from a developmental biologist's perspective. Now he enters the gender debate, starting with his argument that men are fundamentally modified females - if the genes present at fertilisation did not do their job properly, we would all be women - and journeying through MRI techniques, the nature of sexual attraction, 'neurosexism' and whether men are really better at maths. With fresh and persuasive research and with his customary intelligence and curiosity, Lewis Wolpert sets out to make his mark on this controversial topic - and makes some surprising discoveries along the way.

eBooks of the Month