The Story of Our Quest to Conquer the Red Planet
From theories of red vegetation and canal systems to Elon Musk’s ambitions in the race to Mars, Andrew May looks at our fascination with the red planet and the practicalities of getting there, covering topics including the development of rocket science and 50 years of robots and rovers on Mars.
The Inside Story
An astrophysicist, science journalist and former BBC Science editor, David Whitehouse tells the dramatic ‘inside story’ of the race to the Moon, drawing on his own archive of notes, tapes and extensive interviews with astronauts, as well as his familiarity with the science and, not least, a vivid memory of watching television, transfixed, as Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Moon on 20 July 1969.
Escape from Earth
A Secret History of the Space Rocket
After happening upon an old – and still restricted – Cold War rocket testing site in the Outer Hebrides, Fraser MacDonald began to research the technology being tested, the ‘Corporal’ guided missile, and the mystery of the designer Frank J Malina. This book tells the long-buried story of this pioneering rocket scientist, his work at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the birth of the space rocket – and how its inventor was written out of history during the McCarthy witch-hunts.
The Search for Life Elsewhere in the Universe
Venturing into the emerging field of astrobiology and the search for extraterrestrial life, Andrew May gives an expert overview of the current state of astrobiological knowledge, deals with the techno-signatures we might expect from advanced alien civilizations and the bio-signatures of simpler life forms; and also examines the wider, speculative aspects of the search for life beyond Earth.
The Equations of Life
The Hidden Rules Shaping Evolution
Professor Charles Cockell argues that evolution and natural selection have always been constrained by basic physical laws, from an atomic level to the animal realm. For instance, there are sound scientific reasons why creatures can’t evolve with wheels instead of legs, and why carbon-based cells are ideal for trapping energy, so life on Earth is far more understandable and predictable than we might imagine.
Reinventing the Wheel
Milk, Microbes and the Fight for Real Cheese
This insight into contemporary artisan cheese-making explains what has been lost through homogenized factory production and how small local producers are rediscovering the methods of their forbears. The importance of microbes for flavour and health benefit is investigated as well as the influence of cattle breeds and farming methods on the production of cheese.
How to Code a Human
With easily accessible text and hundreds of photographs and diagrams, geneticist and journalist Kat Arney presents the story of our genes. Following an insight into how traces of Neanderthal DNA still exist in modern humans, she explains in simple terms how genetics determine our appearance, health and personality, and the benefits offered by scientific progress in the field.
How Do You Get an Egg Into a Bottle
Scientific Puzzles to Baffle and Bemuse Your Brain
The egg problem is one of the 60 weird and wonderful science puzzles in this set of question and answer cards. You can challenge yourself or friends to work out why boomerangs come back or how to drive on ice: the solution of each problem is explained on the reverse of the card.
Up-to-the-Minute Discoveries, Facts and Inventions
Exploring some of the most remarkable recent innovations in science and understanding of the natural world. Colin Barras explains them in simple terms and offers insights into the impact they could have. Covering fields including space, technology and human behaviour, he reaches some surprising conclusions, showing for example how farming may have been humankind’s biggest mistake, or how nasal cells can improve spinal injuries.
This is Planet Earth
Your Ultimate Guide to the World We Call Home
This chronological account of the Earth begins with its formation from a swirling cloud of dust before explaining its structure, the changes brought about by plate tectonics, and the various layers of gases that have made it inhabitable. It explores the impact that humans have had on its geology, atmosphere and ecosystems, using black and white diagrams and the clear language that makes the New Scientist Instant Expert series accessible.
The Periodic Table
A Visual Guide to the Elements
Tom Jackson describes the periodic table as ‘the ultimate infographic’ presenting the fabric of the Universe as 118 chemical elements, each one with a unique collection of subatomic particles whose arrangement dictates its characteristics. This book provides an overview of the structure of the periodic table and highly visual accounts of how atoms work and basic chemistry, followed by a detailed directory of the elements, arranged by atomic weight, from Hydrogen to Fermium. Age 12+
How Einstein's Spacetime Ripples Reveal the Secrets of the Universe
Although predicted by Einstein’s general relativity, it was not until 2015 that gravitational waves – ripples in space and time – were first detected. This accessible introduction to their discovery explains how the technology required to record movements 100 times smaller than the nucleus of an atom was developed, and how, with their ability to travel through barriers that stop light, the waves offer a new way to investigate the universe.
How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World
‘Precision is an integral, unchallenged, and seemingly essential component of our modern social, mercantile, scientific, mechanical, and intellectual landscapes’ – yet most people are not entirely sure what precision is. From John ‘Iron-Mad’ Wilkinson’s work on steam engines in late 18th-century Britain to Seiko’s factory in Morioka, Japan and its quartz watches that proved too precise for some people, Simon Winchester’s history of precision describes inventors and inventions as diverse as guns, jet engines and Leica lenses.
A Panorama of Our Glitches, from Pointless Bones to Broken Genes
This exploration of the human body explains how layer upon layer of adaptation has resulted in a host of oddities, redundancies and shortcomings that illuminate our evolutionary history. Examples include our backwards retinas (photoreceptors face away from the light) and the fact that we must find nutrients and vitamins in our diets that other animals make for themselves.
A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found
'A severed head can be many things: a loved one, a trophy, scientific data, criminal evidence, an educational prop, a religious relic, an artistic muse, a practical joke.' Larson surveys all these fates of human heads in a strange and often gruesome history that ranges from primitive tribes' shrunken heads to bizarre experiments in bringing guillotined heads back to life, and discusses issues such as the spectacle of public execution, the human face and the act of decapitation.
The Angry Chef
Bad Science and the Truth About Healthy Eating
Popular blogger and professional chef Anthony Warner is angry about the increasing prevalence of unscientific food and health experts making misleading claims about superfoods and miracle health regimes. Investigating these claims with academic rigour as well as humour, this well-reviewed book is an exposé of the pseudoscience sometimes presented by food bloggers, self-styled nutritionalists and diet gurus.
Symphony in C
Carbon and the Evolution of (Almost) Everything
Carbon provides the most important chemical link across time and space, from the Big Bang to the evolution of life on earth. This celebration and exploration of the element for the general reader is divided into four sections, Earth, Air, Fire and Water. It explains the central role carbon played in the formation of the universe and its importance to the ecology of the planet today, and gives an overview of current research in carbon science.
Our Quest to Solve the Great Mysteries of the Sun
Although huge telescopes and space probes have helped us to understand our nearest star, we still know surprisingly little about it. Stuart explains how astronomers have investigated the Sun’s inner workings and asks why we remain unable to predict solar storms that could be large enough to cripple technology on Earth.
The Magic of a Name: The Rolls-Royce Story
Part Three: A Family of Engines 1987–2002
This third part of Rolls-Royce’s company history picks up the story in 1987 when privatization began a new era for the firm. Both the aeronautical and car businesses struggled in the 1990s, after the recession, and the rights to make Rolls-Royce cars were subsequently sold, but the introduction of the Trent family of turbofan engines restored the company’s fortunes in the aero engine market. Off-mint.
1915 and the General Theory of Relativity
In 1915 Albert Einstein produced his masterwork, the ‘General Theory of Relativity’, which describes the evolution of the Universe, black holes, the behaviour of orbiting neutron stars, and why clocks run slower on the Earth than in space. Here, Gribbin explains the basics of the General Theory and places its genesis in the context of Einstein’s life and work.
Your Daily Maths
366 Number Puzzles and Problems to Keep you Sharp
With one exercise for each day of the year, this ‘cognitive workout’ poses mathematical problems that can be solved by creative thinking, even if you have not studied any maths since school. They fall into seven categories, including algebra, logic and number sense, and many relate to real-life scenarios. Laing explains the process for solving each problem, but emphasizes that ‘the goal is not to find the right answer. The goal is to think.’
The Spinning Magnet
The Force That Created the Modern World – and Could Destroy It
The science journalist Alanna Mitchell explores an aspect of our planet that we take for granted as unchanging, yet Earth’s electromagnetic field is critical and the poles that seem so fixed can switch places; the last time they did so was 780,000 years ago. Beginning with the discoveries of the Victorian scientists who pioneered the modern understanding of magnetism, Mitchell investigates the science of this powerful phenomenon and what it could mean for the future of Earth.
The Reality Frame
Relativity and Our Place in the Universe
By building and populating a virtual universe, Clegg demonstrates that reality is not a system of immovable absolutes; instead, the ever-shifting world of relativity is what provides the frame of reference that allows us to understand both the universe and humanity’s place within it.
How Hormones Drive Desire, Shape Relationships, and Make Us Wiser
Marie Haselton offers a detailed study of hormonal intelligence, exposing its powerful influence on every aspect of women's lives from puberty to menopause. She also explores topical issues such as giving birth in middle age and taking hormone supplements in later life.
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.
The Creeping Garden
Irrational Encounters with Plasmodial Slime Moulds
Long overlooked by both natural historians and the public, slime moulds are among the strangest life-forms on the planet. Composed of single-celled organisms, they can move around forests and grasslands in a manner that some consider intelligent. This extensively illustrated companion to the documentary The Creeping Garden explains their structure and life cycle, the body of research into them, and the making of the film itself.
Breakfast with Einstein
The Exotic Physics of Everyday Objects
Making complex theories intelligible for the general reader, this guide to quantum mechanics and the history of modern physics uses the everyday experiences of getting up, making breakfast and checking email to demonstrate how quantum effects govern the world around us.
The Curious Science of Our Bodies
Can the power of thought outwit ageing? What’s it like to be struck by lightning? Could 3D printers make body parts? These are among the intriguing questions discussed in stories that explore the stranger aspects of the human body. These 17 articles were originally published on mosaicscience.com, an online magazine created by Wellcome.
The 50 Most Elemental Concepts in Chemistry, Each Explained in Half a Minute
Matter is broken down into its fundamentals in these 50 articles on subjects relating to the nature of atoms and molecules, the structure and uses of natural and synthetic materials, and the properties and behaviour of solids, liquids and gases.
Breakfast with the Centenarians
The Art of Ageing Well
The renowned gerontologist Daniela Mari draws on her extensive experience of elderly care to reveal the art and science behind a healthy, happy old age, explains the concept of 'active ageing', and looks at how our sleeping habits and diet contribute to longevity.
It All Adds Up
The Story of People and Mathematics
Mickaël Launay believes that, just as non-musicians can love music, anyone can understand and marvel at the numbers and geometry that surround us every day. In this book he guides the reader on a journey through the history of mathematics, revealing how curiosity and serendipity have led to new discoveries, from ancient Mesopotamian frieze designs and the earliest written number symbols to the Mandelbrot set, which can be drawn only with the aid of computers.
In this life of Darwin, AN Wilson identifies two sides to the scientist and the man: the patient, observant naturalist of the Beagle voyage, and the theorist who, like Marx, sought to explain the entire world. Examining both contemporary responses to Darwin’s ideas and recent scientific research, he comes to a startling conclusion: the theory of evolution, while it validated Victorian middle-class aspirations, was fundamentally wrong. Slightly off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer
Why doesn’t the immune system fight cancer the way it does other diseases? Told through the experiences of patients, doctors and immunotherapy researchers, this is the story of the game-changing scientific discoveries that unleash our natural ability to recognize and defeat cancer.
Infinity in the Palm of Your Hand
Fifty Wonders That Reveal an Extraordinary Universe
Basing each of his short chapters on one of the fifty ‘most mind-blowing scientific facts I have discovered over the years’, the former radio astronomer and award-winning science writer Marcus Chown explains the science behind statements such as ‘today’s sunlight is 30,000 years old’. Ranging from biological things (‘you are a third mushroom’) to cosmology, and written in layman’s language, the book makes light work of profound scientific ideas.
The Hidden Wonders of Our Oceans and How We Can Protect Them
Alex Rogers has spent the past 30 years studying marine life, and is a consultant on the BBC series Blue Planet. Here, he shares his discoveries – underwater mountains, coral reefs and strange creatures – and explains the workings of this complex ecosystem, which contains 90 percent of the Earth’s life-forms. He goes on to warn of the threat it faces from overfishing, pollution and climate change, and suggests ways in which we can protect it.
A User's Guide
Our heads contain the most complex information-processing device in the known universe, but even a biological supercomputer has its bugs and weaknesses, from déjà vu to our propensity to make stupid decisions. This guide to the brain’s workings explains what neuroscience has revealed about our conscious and unconscious minds, our memories, intelligence and creativity. It also contains experiments that you can do yourself to demonstrate glitches in perception, and offers tips on using your 86 billion neurons more effectively.
The Science of Power Generation
As we move away from fossil fuels and work towards a technology that can provide abundant, cheap, safe and clean electricity in any environment, a range of power generation systems are competing to fill the gap. Explaining how the various technologies work, their environmental impact and potential for future development, this overview of the subject devotes chapters to coal, oil, natural gas, hydro, nuclear, solar and wind.
Science and the Hunt for Reality
For Joe Rosen, the much sought-after Theory of Everything ‘is but a mirage’. In this book he explores the boundaries between science and metaphysics and argues that science, despite its phenomenal progress and insights, can only go so far in comprehending nature.
A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived
The Stories in Our Genes
Since the first complete human genome was sequenced in 2003, our understanding of who we are and where we come from has grown exponentially. In this introduction to human genetics, Adam Rutherford draws on recent discoveries – including the identification of Richard III’s remains – to show how the genomes of every one of us record the history of our species: war, famine, disease, migration and lineage.
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.
Goldilocks and the Water Bears
The Search for Life in the Universe
Venus is too hot, Mars too cold, but Earth’s distance from the Sun makes it ‘just right’ for a thriving biosphere. As we search for other planets perfectly positioned to support living organisms, an astrobiologist explains what scientists can learn from research into the origins and evolution of life, as well as the study of ‘extremophile’ water bears, tiny aquatic creatures able to survive the harshest conditions on Earth.
The Disordered Mind
What Unusual Brains Tell Us About Ourselves
Eric R Kandel, recipient of a Nobel Prize for his pioneering research, demonstrates how studies of brain disorders, including autism, schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease, have improved our understanding of the close connections between neurological and psychiatric illnesses. He discusses the ways in which these findings are not only contributing to the development of effective treatments but are also helping to explain the mysterious origins of consciousness and creativity in the intricate interactions of brain cells.
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‘.
What Colour is the Sun?
Mind-Bending Science Facts in the Solar System's Brightest Quiz
Brian Clegg’s quiz book-cum-science compendium explores surprising facts about physics, biology, chemistry, mathematics, technology and the history of science in over 100 questions ranging from ‘Why do hands and feet go wrinkly in the bath?’ to ‘What is Sagittarius A*?’ Related facts and anecdotes accompany each question and, on the following page, the answer is explained and discussed.
Dark Matter and Dark Energy
The Hidden 95% of the Universe
During the 20th century it became clear that our traditional understanding of cosmology was too simplistic, since there must be not only some invisible material holding together galaxies but also an unknown phenomenon that is driving the universe’s accelerating expansion. Brian Clegg describes how the existence of this ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’ was discovered and explains the different theories and experiments that researchers have been employing as they seek knowledge about this challenging aspect of modern science.
Eye of the Shoal
A Fishwatcher's Guide to Life, the Ocean and Everything
Dipping below the surface of oceans – and seas, rivers, lagoons and lakes – Helen Scales explores the lives of fish and their underwater world, describing how they move, find food, avoid predators, sing to each other, and use light and colour to send messages. The book reveals the spectacular diversity of species, including ‘ichthyo-curiosities’, and, by letting the wonders of fish capture our attention and respect, aims to convince us to better protect them and their aquatic environment.
The Strange Physics of Nothing
What do we mean by ‘empty space’? Was Newton wrong to think of it as a kind of theatre in which physics could unfold? In this book a philosopher of science explains how the very process of adapting intuitive ideas to scientific theories causes radical changes to our conception of reality. He also describes physicists’ efforts to reconcile different meanings of ‘nothing’ in general relativity and quantum theory.
The Reality Frame
Relativity and Our Place in the Universe
By building and populating a virtual universe Clegg demonstrates that reality is not a system of immovable absolutes; instead, the ever-shifting world of relativity is what provides the frame of reference that allows us to understand both the universe and humanity’s place within it.
The Graphene Revolution
The Weird Science of the Ultrathin
The strongest substance ever discovered, a better conductor than any metal and able to act as a molecular sieve to purify water, graphene is set to revolutionize technology. This guide explores the properties and potential uses of this remarkable new material.
The Beginning and the End of Everything
From the Big Bang to the End of the Universe
In this overview of our current knowledge about the universe a theoretical cosmologist discusses questions that have puzzled thinkers throughout history and the ways in which modern scientists have tried to answer them. He explains how astronomical observations and deductions have allowed us not only to look back 13.8 billion years to the origins of the universe but also to develop competing theories about its ultimate fate, either in a calamitous ‘Big Crunch’ or a gentler ‘Heat Death’.
How Your Body Defends and Protects You
Without an immune system, we could not survive the battle between our microscopic enemies and ourselves. Drawing on sources from ancient Egyptian medical texts to cutting-edge medical science, the academic Catherine Carver explores the many facets of our natural defence system – including how it knows what to attack and what to defend, how diseases try to evade it, and how researchers are designing new drugs to harness its power.
The Physics of Animal Life
An intriguing and amusing insight into the animal world, this Popular Science title explains how 30 species have evolved to exploit the laws of physics, from how wet dogs shake themselves dry to how peacocks generate inaudible (to the human ear) sounds to attract a mate.
Your Superstar Brain
Unlocking the Secrets of the Human Mind
Combining insights from groundbreaking research with anecdotes from her own life, a neuroscientist here provides an accessible introduction to the evolution and functioning of the human brain. She explains how our personalities, memories and emotions are created, considers the foods, music and activities that can supposedly benefit or harm our intellectual abilities, and examines why our big brains still make bad decisions and reward addictive behaviours.
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.
An A–Z Adventure through the Plant Kingdom
From the Alcoholic Agave, remarkable for its nine-metre high flower as well as its intoxicating sap, to Zoophilous plants and their cunning ways of attracting animal pollinators, this is an A–Z of botanical heroes, villains and eccentrics. The heroes are explorers and botanists such as Charles Darwin and EH Wilson; the villains include the deadly castor oil plant, described under U for Umbrella Assassinations.
13 Journeys Through Space and Time
Christmas Lectures from the Royal Institution
With a foreword by the British astronaut Tim Peake, this collection of Christmas Lectures by world-class scientists and astronomers includes Bernard Lovell and Martin Ryle on the exploration of the universe, Carl Sagan on the planets, and Kevin Fong on how to survive in space.
How to Live in Space
Everything You Need to Know for the Not-So-Distant Future
The challenges of living in space are multiple: without the Earth’s atmosphere, gravity and rotation, essential activities including breathing, exercising and sleeping require technology. This illustrated ‘space travel manual’ describes all aspects of space travel, from blast-off to the future colonization of Mars, and explores how the development of new technology including graphene is paving the way for space tourism.
At the Edge of Infinity and Beyond
Aleph-null is the cardinality, or size, of the set of natural numbers, and is a ‘countably infinite cardinal’. Remarkably, whereas 1 + 1 = 2, 1 + aleph-null = aleph-null. The authors of this advanced maths explainer utilize plain English in an attempt to convey difficult mathematical concepts, including large numbers, higher dimensions, computation and primes, fusing historical, philosophical and anecdotal aspects of each concept with the decidedly technical. Slightly off-mint.
From Myths to Knowledge
This book is a history of humanity’s long struggle towards the answers to two questions: how old is Earth and how does it move within the solar system? But the author also uses that story to delineate a philosophy of science. As he explains the bold innovations of thinkers such as Copernicus, Galileo, Halley and Darwin, he emphasizes the importance of Enlightenment values in facing the threat from modern fundamentalist movements of East and West. Foreword by Tariq Ali.