Waters of the World
The Story of the Scientists Who Unravelled the Mysteries of Our Seas, Glaciers, and Atmosphere
Sarah Dry traces the pioneering work that has unravelled the mysteries of our seas, glaciers and atmosphere and shaped our understanding of our planet. She begins with John Tyndall (1820-1893), whose work on water, and particularly the absorption of heat by water vapour and carbon dioxide, is now regarded as a cornerstone of the new, multi-faceted discipline of climate science, before looking at the contributions of scientists including Charles Piazzi Smyth, Gilbert Walker and Willi Dansgaard.
The Story of Science and the Royal Society
‘The most venerable learned society in the world’, the Royal Society was founded in 1660 and has continued its work promoting and supporting education and research across the vast range of science. In this celebratory volume, Bill Bryson introduces 20 contributions from distinguished writers and Fellows of the Society illustrating the diversity of its work, including Richard Dawkins on Darwin and natural selection, Ian Stewart on ‘the hidden mathematics that rules the world’, and Henry Petroski on 19th-century engineers.
Britain's DNA Journey
Our Remarkable Genetic Story
Since the retreat of the glaciers at the end of the last ice age, Britain has been repopulated entirely by immigrants. The stories of the earliest settlers were lost in millennia of prehistory, but geneticists are now able to uncover these ancient ancestors' geographical origins by analysing modern Britons' DNA. With genetic insights complementing archaeological evidence, this book forms a new people's history of the British which tracks the epic journeys of the pioneering migrants.
18 Tiny Deaths
The Untold Story of Frances Glessner Lee and the Invention of Modern Forensics
Frances Glessner Lee, a leading pioneer of forensic science, established Harvard’s department of legal medicine in 1936. This biography explores her fascination with the intricate details of murder investigations, and how she crafted the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, a collection of dollhouse-sized murder scenes containing macabre clues to train scientists and detectives.
A Scheme of Heaven
Astrology and the Birth of Science
Data scientist Alexander Boxer is fascinated by astrology, which he calls ‘the ancient world’s most ambitious applied mathematics problem’. Tracing its history from the age of the pharaohs to the modern newspaper horoscope, he introduces exponents including Ptolemy, Kepler and al-Kindi; explains and tests astrological techniques; and shows how ‘the arch-pseudoscience’ still appeals to our tendency to seek patterns in random events and objects and our desire to predict the future.
His Lives and the Legacy of a Rational Universe
The eponymous theorem was just one of many mathematical interests of the 6th-century BCE thinker Pythagoras of Samos, who believed that numbers were the key to understanding the cosmos. Piecing together the scant evidence left by his obsessively secretive followers, Ferguson reconstructs Pythagoras’ life and doctrines, then traces his profound influence on Western thought, from Plato to Russell.
The History of Science
From the control of fire and the smelting of metals to antibiotics and artificial intelligence, this history of technology identifies the most important scientific milestones in the development of civilization. Explaining theories including those of Newton and Einstein and describing pivotal discoveries such as penicillin, the book uses diagrams, illustrations, photographs and fact boxes to bring the material to life.
Scientists Who Changed History
This visual guide to the life and work of more than 85 of the greatest scientists, such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Marie Curie and Stephen Hawking, takes the reader from Ancient Greece, Egypt and China through to the modern era. Alongside key moments, quotes and diagrams, it succinctly explains the breakthroughs and significance of figures from fields including mathematics, meteorology, geology and genetics.
Knowledge in a Nutshell
Historically, dual interpretations of physical phenomena as waves or particles became unified in quantum theory, which revolutionized views of the universe. However, topics such as Schrödinger’s (imaginary) cat and the double-slit experiment are notorious for being misinterpreted or badly explained. This illustrated guide by a NASA scientist aims to dispel confusion, while introducing key players such as Planck, Bohr and Feynman.
Spanning 13.8 billion years, Big History brings together science and humanities to trace the progress of the universe across eight thresholds: the Big Bang, the birth of stars, forging of elements, planet formation, the emergence of life, human evolution, the development of civilizations and, finally, the rise of industry. Each topic within this vast sweep is explained in over 150 concise, richly illustrated double-page spreads, and the book ends with timelines of world history.
Stalin and the Scientists
A History of Triumph and Tragedy 1905–1953
With a firm belief that science was the key to Russia’s future Stalin invested heavily in many disciplines. This survey of Soviet research from the Revolution onwards explores the consequences of political interference in technology and research, including the devastating failures to improve crop yields as well as breakthroughs in more independent sectors such as nuclear physics.
Einstein's Unfinished Symphony
The Story of a Gamble, Two Black Holes, and a New Age of Astronomy
MIT professor Bartusiak explains how the LIGO Scientific Collaboration in Italy first observed the gravitational waves from the merger of two black holes, which in spite of Einstein’s doubts provided proof of the last measurable prediction of the general theory of relativity.
Chasing the Moon
An Epic Rivalry, a Monumental Challenge, the Race to Be the First
The story of the moon landings begins with the wartime work of German rocket scientists including Wernher von Braun, nascent computer technology and the imagination of post-war science fiction writers such as Arthur C Clarke. Using eyewitness reports and NASA archive material this account of the achievement describes how it all came together, accelerated by the pressure of the technological race with Soviet Russia.
How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science
As he challenges the persistent myth that the Middle Ages brought little scientific progress, Hannam shows that the Church did not hold back ‘natural philosophy’, and that even astrology and alchemy were important in the development of modern science. He discusses the period’s sophisticated technological achievements, which include lenses, mechanical clocks and the blast furnace, and highlights the debts owed by Copernicus and Galileo to their medieval forebears’ pioneering ideas. Off-mint.
Moving Heaven and Earth
Copernicus and the Solar System
John Henry discusses how the 16th-century astronomer Copernicus not only disproved the ‘common-sense’ view that the Earth was stationary but also showed what mathematics can reveal about the material world, setting in motion the development of a completely new physics.
And Other Bizarre Experiments
In this sequel to Elephants on Acid Alex Boese delves once more into the world of mad scientists and weird experimentation, whether a 1950s project to nuke the moon or self-experimenters getting stung by 78 species of Hymenoptera for the sake of science.
Exploring Collections from the Endeavour Voyage 1768–1771
Young, wealthy and passionate about plants, Joseph Banks sailed with Captain Cook on Endeavour’s 1768 voyage in search of a southern landmass predicted by geographers. They visited Tahiti, New Zealand and Australia, with Banks collecting and recording plants, wildlife, landscape and artefacts. This volume brings together some of the riches brought home on Endeavour, including maps, drawings and paintings, landscapes and Maori and Aboriginal objects, along with portraits of Banks himself. Foreword by Sir David Attenborough.
The Quantum Astrologer's Handbook
‘Astrology and quantum physics rattling around in one Renaissance skull – who’d have thought?’ The skull belongs to Jerome Cardano (1501–76), physician, astrologer, gambler, inventor of probability theory and the creator of what is now known as the imaginary number. In this remarkable combination of biography, history of science and explanation of quantum theory, Brooks ‘talks’ with Cardano and reveals the 16th-century scientist as the unacknowledged discoverer of the mathematical foundations of quantum physics.
The Mysterious Science of the Sea
Natascha Adamowsky presents a study of the ‘wondrous science of the sea’, arguing that – contrary to popular belief – post-Enlightenment discourse on the sea was still subject to mystery and wonder, and not wholly rationalized by science. From the History and Philosophy of Technoscience series.
Professor Hunter, the leading expert on Robert Boyle (1627–1691), presents a collection of papers exploring aspects of Boyle’s life and thought, including his early intellectual evolution, his attitude to secrecy, his interest in supernatural phenomena, and the Anglo-Irish intellectual scene in the late 17th century.
100 Clever Ways to Help You Understand and Remember the Most Important Theories
Each volume in this series uses a three-part approach to explain complex ideas. First the ‘helicopter overview’ introduces the concept, then the ‘shortcut’ gives more detail on core elements and the pithy ‘hack’ offers a memorable summary. In this guide to key scientific concepts theories in evolution, genetics and human origins are discussed, as are topics including thermodynamics and Newton’s laws, and hypotheses relating to space and astrophysics.
Driven to Innovate
A Century of Jewish Mathematicians and Physicists
Celebrating the remarkable Jewish accomplishment in mathematics and physics, Ioan James profiles 20 mathematicians and 15 physicists born after 1800. He tells the life stories of each man or woman, setting them in historical context, from the German mathematician Carl Jacobi (1804–1851), born in the ‘years of opportunity’ following the legal emancipation of Jews in Europe, to the Polish mathematical logician Alfred Tarski (1901–1983). Off-mint.
Through Two Doors at Once
The Elegant Experiment that Captures the Enigma of Our Quantum Reality
A science writer with a gift for making the complicated comprehensible, Anil Ananthaswamy tells the story of quantum mechanics from the perspective of the seemingly simple, but utterly confounding double-slit experiment. He traces the various attempts to explain the enigma, from Thomas Young in 1793 to Richard Feynman, who described ‘the experiment with two holes’ as containing ‘all the mystery of quantum mechanics‘.
A Rum Affair
A True Story of Botanical Fraud
In 1954 Professor John Heslop Harrison published his discovery of several plants on the island of Rum that were found nowhere else in Britain – they had, he claimed, survived the Ice Age. John Raven, a gifted amateur botanist, went to investigate and revealed Harrison’s claim as untrue, but academic botanists closed ranks and Raven’s report was never published. Karl Sabbagh tells the story of the two men and this strange episode of botanical fraud.
A Cultural History
Jim Endersby explores ‘the curious and unexpected variety of significances that people have ascribed to orchids’ in western cultures, from Theophrastus’ herbals in ancient Greece to Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep, deadly species in science-fiction and ongoing research into Spider Orchids on the South Downs. The book looks at our relationship with orchids in terms of science, sex and death, and examines the theme of empire, describing how European imperial expansion and wealth stimulated the search for ever rarer orchids.
Out of the Shadow of a Giant
How Newton Stood on the Shoulders of Hooke and Halley
Arguing that British science would not have developed very differently without Newton, the authors demonstrate his indebtedness to the achievements of his contemporaries, in particular Hooke, from whom he ‘borrowed’ many ideas, and Halley, who encouraged and paid for the publication of the Principia.
Why It's Not All Rocket Science
Scientific Theories and Experiments Explained
In 1983 Justin Schmidt recorded the degree of pain he felt when stung by different venomous insects, resulting in the ‘Schmidt Pain Index’. With chapters on medicine, psychology, society, and the universe, this book examines 100 experiments, ranging from the peculiar (like Schmidt’s) to the groundbreaking (the creation of Dolly the sheep), and appraises their significance for practical science.
Knowledge is Power
How Magic, the Government and an Apocalyptic Vision Helped Francis Bacon to Create Modern Science
John Henry assesses Francis Bacon’s ineluctable influence on the methodology, content and organization of science both in his own time and now, revealing how Bacon’s fascination with bureaucracy, magic and religion inspired his best-known works, including The New Organon.
And Soon I Heard A Roaring Wind
A Natural History of Moving Air
Before the advent of weather forecasting, ships were wrecked with alarming frequency, and even today’s mathematical modelling of cyclones fails to be completely reliable. Bill Streever sets sail aboard his own yacht to discover the power of the wind first hand, while narrating an engaging history of our understanding of this force of nature, and its impact on commerce, politics and war. The book features lively portraits of meteorological pioneers including Robert Fitzroy, creator of the first published weather forecast. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
Aldous Huxley's Hands
His Quest for Perception and the Origin and Return of Psychedelic Science
On learning that her father, Howard Thrasher, once photographed Aldous Huxley’s hands, Symons set out to discover how the two men’s paths had crossed. Here she reveals what she learned from conversations with her father and from a cache of letters: how Huxley’s eclectic circle undertook pioneering experiments into the healing potential of psychedelic drugs, because of their belief in the importance of visionary, mystical experience and their hope that this research would benefit humankind.
Superstition and Science
Mystics, Sceptics, Truth-Seekers and Charlatans
The period between the European Renaissance and Enlightenment brought monumental scientific discoveries about gravity, the structure of the solar system and the circulation of the blood, but these coexisted with an almost universal belief in horoscopes and magic. In this book a Tudor historian explores how the great thinkers of the age responded to the entanglement of superstition and science, and shows how their work contributed to debate about the relationship between belief and knowledge.
Great Victorian Discoveries
Astounding Revelations and Misguided Assumptions
The 19th century saw great breakthroughs in every field of enquiry. Discoveries were eagerly described in the popular press of the day but limited understanding sometimes led to wild and colourful theories. This book, drawn from editions of Cassell's Family Magazine, explores the innovations and advances reported between 1875 and 1895 in subjects ranging from microscopic organisms and the fossil record to the meaning of the apparent canals on Mars.
Prisoners, Lovers, and Spies
The Story of Invisible Ink from Herodotus to Al-Qaeda
Kristie Macrakis begins by describing how she unearthed a formula for invisible ink in the Stasi archives, which inspired her to pen this history of secret writing, from the simple but ingenious techniques used in ancient Greece and Rome to the newest opportunities for concealment provided by computer files and DNA microdots. In an appendix she offers a selection of recipes for invisible inks derived from such everyday ingredients as porridge and tonic water.