How it Shaped Our World
In this companion guide to the Science Museum’s Winton Gallery, curator David Rooney considers the everyday practical applications of mathematics, both past and present, including mathematics in design, economics, geography, medicine, travel and war. This generously illustrated volume features many of the objects and diagrams from the gallery’s collection, like Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine and Le Corbusier’s Le Modulor infographic, while four essays by prominent academics include two on women’s place in the history of mathematics.
The Ultimate Guide to The Building Blocks of Our Universe
From hydrogen to ununoctium, this stylish and accessible guide explores the properties of each element in the periodic table, explaining their chemical behaviours – how their atoms interact with atoms of other elements – and their worldly uses: from light bulbs and mobile phones to dental fillings and space suits. The introduction, which explains the chemistry and physics of nuclei, electrons and chemical bonds, provides the groundwork for understanding the entries and their data.
15 Million Degrees
A Journey to the Centre of the Sun
At the heart of the Sun, a vast nuclear furnace casts out the warmth, light and magnetism which nurtures life on Earth. Supported by data from laboratories, telescopes, probes and thousands of years of naked-eye observations, Lucie Green’s authoritative guide to the science of the Sun provides answers to questions posed since the dawn of history: Why does the Sun shine? What is the source of its heat? How long will it shine for?
How Britain Has Been Forged by the Wind
The menacing low-pressure system (dubbed Low Z by the meteorological community), gale-force winds and resulting storm surge of 31 January 1953 took 307 lives around the coast of Britain, inundating Canvey Island and its 10,000 inhabitants and sinking the Princess Victoria car ferry off Stranraer, along with 105 souls. Beattie’s account draws on meteorology, literature and social history to describe how the wind, with its storms and prevailing breezes, has affected Britain’s landscapes and people.
Evolution in a Man-Made World
‘The Pekingese is a tinkered wolf, not redesigned wholesale from its wolf ancestors.’ This impressive study examines recent developments in evolutionary biology through the lens of domestication. The rapid physical and behavioural changes which, through centuries of breeding, have been wrought on pets and farm animals, allow us to see evolutionary processes accelerated, and therefore, Francis argues, to understand them better; particularly their conservative nature, a notion espoused by the fields of genomics and evolutionary developmental biology, which feature prominently here. Slightly off-mint.
The Mice Who Sing For Sex
And Other Weird Tales From the World of Science
This humorous scientific miscellany is curated by the presenters of the podcast Geek Chic’s Weird Science and imparts the rationale behind all manner of inventions and phenomena, including solar-powered flight, self-lacing shoes, super-memory and addiction to healthy food (which can replace an addiction to fat and sugar). With frequent ‘chic fact’ boxes and cartoons, it also delves into outer space, wildlife and sex: are sound waves the new Viagra?
People and the Sky
Our Ancestors and the Cosmos
Since the late 19th century, when electric lights first illuminated city streets, urban populations have lost sight of the night sky. Our ancestors, on the other hand, were highly attuned to the stars, their constellations and diurnal rhythms enabling them to entertain, farm, hunt, navigate and organise. This engaging book looks at how ancient societies as far flung as Polynesia, China, the Americas and Europe relied upon the stars for their survival and happiness. Off-mint.
What a Fish Knows
The Inner Lives of Our Underwater Cousins
Do goldfish really have a three-second memory? How does an archerfish hone its hunting skills? Can fish recognize human faces, appreciate music or feel pain? By presenting the fascinating findings of scientific research into their cognitive and sensory worlds, their sex lives and social structures, Balcombe prompts us to reconsider the intellectual abilities of our aquatic cousins so that we can more easily feel compassion towards them.
This beautifully illustrated guide to the universe takes an epic journey across the cosmos, from Planet Earth and the solar system, out through interstellar space across the Milky Way, and beyond the little-known regions of intergalactic space to the edge of the universe, where the mysteries of time, dark matter and the Big Bang lie. Every stage is accompanied by explanations and visualizations of key cosmic events, from the formation of planets and stars to the destruction of entire galaxies.
Setting Up a Weather Station and Understanding the Weather
A Guide for the Amateur Meteorologist
This comprehensive beginner’s guide explains how and where to measure the weather – from rainfall and air pressure to sunshine and humidity – using instruments as simple as rain gauges and barometers, as well as the more sophisticated automatic weather station, which can log and store observations wirelessly. There is advice on how to observe phenomena including the wind, visibility and clouds without instruments, how to interpret data meteorologically, and how to share results with meteorological organizations.
How to Build a Universe
The numerous archival images, cartoons, quotes and programme excerpts in this companion book to the BBC Radio 4 series The Infinite Monkey Cage pay homage to the 1970s Look and Learn annuals, which thrilled children with their miscellany of science. Here, Cox and Ince inspire adult scientific wonder through jokes, jibes and nostalgic digressions, anchored by serious explorations of thermodynamics, particle physics, big bang theory, space travel, extra-terrestrial life and, of course, infinity.
Emotion, Reason and The Human Brain
This groundbreaking book by a leading neurologist concerns ‘the brain science of emotion’ and ‘its implications for decision-making in general and social behaviour in particular’. Published in 1994, it continues to attract the attention of neuro-scientists, philosophers and the general public with its proposal that reasoning evolved as an extension of the automatic emotional system, and emotion plays multiple roles in the reasoning process.
The Cosmic Serpent
DNA and The Origins of Knowledge
While undertaking anthropological fieldwork in the Pichis Valley of the Peruvian Amazon, Narby became intrigued by the local community’s claim that they received their phenomenal biochemical knowledge under the influence of hallucinogens. Here he reports how further investigation dispelled his scepticism and led him to conclude both that such transmission is possible and that indigenous peoples have known for millennia about the double helix structure of DNA.
The Extraordinary Form & Function of Bones
Evolving from fish scales 500 million years ago, bone is a remarkable material that is capable of strength, lightness and flexibility; in a range of skeletal arrangements it can support the weight of an elephant or a bird in flight and provide the dexterity of a human hand. Through a series of line drawings and extended captions, this accessible introduction examines the different forms and structures that have evolved across the animal kingdom.
The Secret Life of the Mind
How our Brain Thinks, Feels and Decides
Mariano Sigman’s bestselling examination of human thought begins by asking how babies communicate, and goes on to explore how we relate to our unconscious mind, what happens when we dream and why the brain is constantly changing. This concise, approachable guide to neuroscience questions how we perceive, reason, feel and communicate, with the aim of better comprehending the inner workings of the human brain and understanding ourselves and others more deeply.
Blueprint for a Battlestar
Serious Scientific Explanations Behind Sci-Fi's Greatest Inventions
Modern digital technology has seen gadgets predicted by early science fiction – such as videophones – become reality, and a host of ideas proposed in more recent productions, such as the Star Trek series, offer intriguing possibilities for the future. From the Terminator to the Death Star, this book investigates some of the most celebrated concepts of recent science fiction and explores the potential technology behind them, revealing that some are closer to reality than we might think.
World in the Balance
The Historic Quest for an Absolute System of Measurement
Every day we need reliable ways of measuring length, weight and time. For most of human history these were based on creatively improvised local standards, such as the ancient Chinese connection between length and musical pitch. This book, by the philosopher who writes a regular Physics World column, tells little-known stories behind the world’s diverse measures and shows how they were gradually consolidated into a universal system, and how scientists are creating the first absolute system based on physical constants.
Journey to the Centre of the Earth
The Remarkable Voyage of Scientific Discovery into the Heart of Our World
Inspired by the 150th anniversary of Jules Verne’s adventure novel, astronomer David Whitehouse turns his attention from the stars to what lies beneath our own planet’s surface. He describes how the science of seismology developed, explains its most significant discoveries and takes the reader to laboratories where scientists work to reproduce the conditions of intense pressure found deep inside the Earth, and to the site in Russia where years of drilling created a hole that descends more than 12,000 metres.
Driven to Extinction
The Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity
Denial of climate change seems obtuse in the light of scientific evidence but Richard Pearson points out that the media and lobby groups have sometimes sensationalized the predictions, undermining confidence in the science. This measured summary of the issues explores how plants and animals have reacted to temperature changes in the past and how we might expect them to react to the current threat, highlighting also how nature sometimes finds its own unexpected solutions. Slightly off-mint.
Written in Stone
The Hidden Secrets of Fossils and the Story of Life on Earth
Recently uncovered ‘transitional’ fossils, analysed by the growing discipline of paleobiology, have inspired Brian Switek to reassess the simplistic notion of the ‘missing link’ which has confounded evolutionists since Darwin.
The Ancestor's Tale
A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Life
In a pilgrimage back through four billion years of evolution, Dawkins and Wong follow the history of our genes in search of the microbial beginnings of life. As they encounter other species – from chimpanzees to fungi and bacteria – they listen to each evolutionary ‘tale’, shedding light on such topics as speciation and extinction, and reveal how intimately humans are connected with all life on Earth. This revised and expanded edition takes into account a decade of new research.
A Journey Through the Dark Matter of the Genome
Only 2 per cent of our DNA contains the codes to produce proteins, so for many years scientists assumed that the rest of the genome was simply 'junk'. However, modern research is finally identifying the many vital functions performed by these 'dark' regions. In this book Carey introduces the most significant insights, with clear explanations for the general reader, and looks forward to the opportunities they provide for revolutionary developments in the treatment of a range of medical conditions.
The Quality of Numbers One to Thirty-one
In these essays – one for each day of the month – Held demonstrates the fascinating qualities and associations, both cultural and scientific, of the first 31 integers. His ‘excursions into the realm of number’ visit such varied calling-points as the eleven-year sunspot cycle, humans’ 23 pairs of chromosomes, Snow White’s seven dwarves and Judas’ 30 pieces of silver.
Goethe on Science
An Anthology of Goethe's Scientific Writings
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) is best known as Germany’s foremost poet and playwright, but he was also an accomplished all-round scientist, studying anatomy, geology, botany, zoology and colour theory. The extracts from his scientific writings reproduced in this book illustrate his belief that we should study our world as people at home in it rather than remotely, and are essential reading for anyone who feels we have lost our spiritual connection to nature.
The Birth of the Pill
How Four Pioneers Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution
In the winter of 1950, 71-year-old Margaret Sanger met the scientist Gregory Pincus in New York City. Their meeting would change the world. This gripping account tells how Pincus and Sanger, a lifelong campaigner for women’s right to control their fertility, developed the contraceptive pill, funded by the philanthropist Katharine McCormick and supported by a charismatic Catholic doctor, John Rock, who battled his own church to win public approval for the controversial new drug.
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.
The Long and the Short of It
How We Came to Measure Our World
In the seventh century a yard was as much a reckoning of the worth of some land as a set measure of its dimensions and, although the term came to mean a unit of distance, the 36-inch standard was not settled until 1855. This light-hearted compendium explores the origins of our weighing, measuring and timing systems from the Babylonian calendar to the metric system.
The Puzzler's Dilemma
From the Lighthouse of Alexandria to Monty Hall, a Fresh Look at Classic Conundrums of Logic, Mathematics, and Life
‘A man is found hanging in a locked room with no furniture and a puddle of water under his feet. What happened?’ From ancient Greek paradoxes to the role of probability in television game shows (via the Rubik’s Cube, chess problems and crosswords) this entertaining book illustrates eleven classic types of logic puzzle, tells the stories behind their creation and shows how to go about solving them.
The Edge of Physics
Dispatches from the Frontiers of Cosmology
Why is the universe’s expansion speeding up? What is ‘dark matter’? Are there other universes besides our own? This book follows the author’s travels in search of experiments taking place in the planet’s most inhospitable locations to answer such cosmological questions. It explains not only the theory, aims and practicalities of each cutting-edge project but also the challenges facing researchers, whether they are working deep inside an abandoned iron mine or at the top of Hawaii’s highest mountain.
Build Your Own Time Machine
The Real Science of Time Travel
Although HG Wells’s Victorian time machine would not have worked, there is no law of physics that prevents travel through the fourth dimension. Brian Clegg combines his enthusiasm for science fiction with his insights as a writer on real science to explore ways in which time travel could theoretically be achieved. He also traces the development of our modern understanding of time, from Einstein’s first daydreams about the speed of light to neutrino experiments and the latest theories about wormholes.
The Physics of War
From Arrows to Atoms
Throughout history, military leaders have searched for a ‘wonder weapon’ to give them an advantage over enemies, and very often, it was science that supplied the new armament, from the ballista to the atom bomb. The science writer Barry Parker narrates the history of warfare and the contribution of physics, telling the story of battles from Megiddo to the Second World War, while discussing major breakthroughs in physics and topics such as gunpowder, submarines, and radar.
As Easy as Pi
Stuff about Numbers that isn't (just) Maths
Numbers are all-pervasive in our world; Pythagoras even said they rule the universe. This guide to the numbers of everyday life explains how they influence our religion, myth, fiction and linguistic idioms, why some numbers are considered lucky or unlucky, how they are exploited in games and scams, and their vital role in the realms of mathematics and science.
The Art of Flight
In the two tales that make up this volume, the bestselling author of The Fly Trap continues his exploration of the pleasures and trials of the people who study the smallest details of the natural world. In his characteristic blend of memoir and nature writing, he recalls his childhood and his career as a hoverfly collector, traces the lives of forgotten entomologists who left Sweden for the United States, and reflects on ambition, fear, romance and the richness of life.
Cultural History of the Human Body
Aristotle coined the phrase ‘more than the sum of its parts’ to describe the human body. But are we right to think of the body as a collection of parts? And why do some cultures place the seat of our passions in the heart, others in the liver? Anatomies blends science and history in a tour of our organs, as the author compares different cultural attitudes to the body and drops in on a life-drawing class and a dissection room.
The Search for Life That Is Very, Very Different from Our Own
During the 1980s scientists began discovering life in places where no one thought it would be possible – rock-eating fungi, bacteria living in boiling water at volcanic hydrothermal vents, or in hot sulphur springs. How far the limits of life extend became the subject of research; here, Toomey explains the complex science of this biological avant-garde in lively, layman’s language and covers topics ranging from the sulphur-loving ‘extremophiles’ to the possibility of intelligent weird life.