The Universe in Bite-Sized Chunks
Colin Stuart rejects mathematical jargon in favour of concise explanations of the cosmos’s most fascinating astronomical features. Beginning with early astronomers, including Ptolemy and Newton, this accessible guide moves from the Earth, Sun and Moon ever further from home, covering the Solar System, stars and galaxies, eventually reaching the mysteries at the edge of the universe – the Big Bang, inflation and dark energy.
World's Worst Inventions
The Craziest Gadgets and Machines Ever Made
Along with the gadgets that went straight to landfill – the pneumatic attachment for trousers, illuminated ice cubes, glow-in-the-dark sunglasses or the ‘:Cuecat’ barcode scanner that failed to solve a problem that never existed – this compendium of wrong-headedness includes weird weapons of war, transport disasters and some inventions, such as the dreaded automated pay toilet, that are with us still.
A Guide to the Cosmos
Explaining how non-physicists can do science, this guide aims to show that questions about Earth, the solar system and the universe beyond can be answered by observing, measuring and thinking. Following the work of scientists such as Hubble and Einstein, and asking questions about the age and weight of things, what things are made of and how far away they are, the authors lead us from looking at the stars to thinking about the origin of the universe. Off-mint with a felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
Ask an Astronaut
What does it feel like to sit on top of a 300-tonne rocket? Does food taste different in space? How can I become an astronaut? When he returned from his 186-day mission on the International Space Station, Tim Peake was bombarded with questions. This book presents some of those questions and Tim’s careful, candid and detailed answers about astronaut training, the launch, life and work in space, space walking and returning to earth. Slightly off-mint with a Felt-tip mark on the upper trimmed edge.
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’.
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.
30-Second Forensic Science
The 50 Key Topics Revealing Criminal Investigation from Behind the Scenes, Each Explained in Half a Minute
How do forensic specialists identify and piece together clues to present a convincing case in court? This guide to scientific techniques explains the analysis of evidence ranging from drugs to digital devices, dental records to DNA. Foreword by Val McDermid.
The Flame of Miletus
The Birth of Science in Ancient Greece (and How it Changed The World)
Ancient Greek science and philosophy began in the sixth century BCE in the wealthy city of Miletus in Asia Minor, where Thales and Anaximander proposed theories about the nature of the universe. This sweeping history of the Greek scientific tradition follows the chain of knowledge from these early physicists, through such thinkers as Aristotle and Archimedes, to the twilight of the classical age, the transmission of Greek ideas to the Islamic world and their revival in Europe during the Renaissance.
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.
A Mind at Play
The Brilliant Life of Claude Shannon, Inventor of the Information Age
One of the key thinkers of the computer age, Claude Shannon worked as a cryptanalyst during the Second World War and his contributions to digital circuit design and information theory in the 1930s and 1940s made modern computing possible. This biography explores his life, academic achievements and influential personal projects, such as a maze-solving mouse (one of the first experiments in artificial intelligence) and the first design for a chess-playing computer.
1971–1972 (Apollo 15–17; LRV1–3 & 1G Trainer) Owners' Workshop Manual
The Apollo 15 Commander David R Scott, who drove the Lunar Rover on the Moon, has written the foreword to this Haynes Owner’s Workshop Manual. The manual gives insights into the technology, history and development of NASA’s Lunar Roving Vehicle, with chapters on its structure, mobility, electrical and thermal control, navigation and communications, all illustrated with diagrams, cutaway views and photographs of the Rover on the Moon’s surface.
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.
How the World Became Obsessed with Time
‘Technology is making everything faster, and because we know that things will become faster in the future, it follows that nothing is fast enough now.’ Surveying how, over the last 250 years, time has come to dominate our lives, Simon Garfield considers its practical applications rather than theoretical physics: the subjects of his ‘illuminating stories’ include – definitely not in chronological order – football, Beethoven’s Ninth, railway timetables, Roger Bannister, Swiss watchmakers, The Clock (Christian Marclay’s film) and the British Museum.
The Moon Landings
One Giant Leap
The photographs that astronauts took during the Apollo missions provided a previously unseen picture of the moon but also transformed our perception of the Earth, viewed for the first time from space. This pictorial celebration, containing hundreds of photographs of the American space programme of the 1960s and 1970s, traces its success from its origins in the Cold War to the final triumph of Apollo 11, and considers its legacy to science and history.
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.
From 4.5 Billion Years Ago to the Present, Owners' Workshop Manual
Zircon crystals found in Western Australia have been dated to 4.4 billion years ago, the oldest things found so far on Earth and remnants of the original formation of the planet. This highly illustrated manual explains the processes that have shaped our world from the Big Bang to the evolution of life-supporting conditions and the physics of our current environment. Hundreds of diagrams, illustrations and infographics explain the natural forces at work.
An Introductory Field Guide
With clear, informative text and over 200 colour photographs, this guide introduces the three main rock groups – igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary – and the forces acting upon them – folds and folding, faults and faulting, and unconformities or breaks in the geological sequence. Plus a geological time scale and glossary.
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.
Science in the Soul
Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist
Spanning more than three decades, these 41 essays reflect Richard Dawkins’ commitment to communicating the values and history of science, through his writings on evolution and the wonders of nature, his polemical attacks on faulty logic and his articles connecting scientific discourse to public debates. As well as providing new annotations to individual pieces, he uses the volume’s introduction to reiterate the importance of adhering to reason and objective values in an age of demagoguery and prejudice.
A Space Traveller's Guide to the Solar System
Here the astronomer and broadcaster Mark Thompson describes what a journey through the solar system might be like, from the preparations for take-off on Earth to arrival at the edge of interstellar space many years later. On the way he discusses what we know about the origins of the planets and their moons, describes physical features that would be visible and reflects on the challenges of navigation, weightlessness and living in a confined spaceship.
When the Earth was Flat
All the Bits of Science We Got Wrong
Alchemists in search of gold; palaeontologists in search of a specious ‘missing link’ in the evolutionary chain; troops breaking step on bridges: Graeme Donald delves into the history of these and many other instances of scientific wrong-headedness, tracing the perpetrators and explaining how they got it wrong. He also debunks a plethora of popular beliefs, from opera singers breaking glass to suicidal lemmings.
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.
Guide to Urban Engineering
Infrastructure and Technology in the Modern Landscape
How does drinking water get to your tap, clean and under pressure? How does a pumpjack get oil out of the ground? What lies beneath a manhole cover? In sections on the six main areas of infrastructure – raw materials, water, power, transport (by road, rail, canal and air), communication and waste – this very accessible, illustrated guide provides an introduction to the technology that underpins modern life.
1969 to 1979 (all modules) Owners' Workshop Manual
Developed from 1969, Skylab was launched in May 1973 and hosted three manned missions over the following year. With hundreds of diagrams and photographs, this analysis of the project gives a detailed breakdown of the design and construction of the space station as well as a report of the three periods of occupation, describing the challenges that the crews faced in repairing and maintaining Skylab and carrying out their research.
Einstein's Greatest Mistake
The Life of a Flawed Genius
David Bodanis, the bestselling author of E=mc², presents a life of the great physicist and reveals how much we owe Einstein today – and how much more he might have achieved without his all-too-human flaws. A former Sunday Times Science Book of the Year.
They Got it Wrong: Science
All the Facts that Turned Out to Be Science Fiction
Is the Earth hollow? Can lead be turned into gold? Could tobacco smoke resurrect the dead? Of course not – but some of history's greatest minds accepted these and many other scientific theories that have since been proven to be completely ridiculous. But we must not feel too superior: as well as showing why these ideas seemed so convincing, Donald also highlights other myths that persist today.
The Glass Universe
The Hidden History of the Women Who Took the Measure of the Stars
Before women could vote, Harvard Observatory was employing them to interpret astronomical observations. This book tells the stories of a Cambridge student, a young deaf woman, a pregnant Scottish housemaid and several others who between them helped to unravel the principles governing the universe.
How We Got to Now
Six Innovations That Made the Modern World
Published to accompany a US TV series, this history of human progress identifies six key inventions – refrigeration, clocks, lenses, water purification, sound recording and artificial light – and describes the development and far-reaching consequences of each breakthrough. Felt-tip mark on the lower trimmed edge.
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.
An Astronaut's Unlikely Journey to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe
‘Nothing you do on this planet can ever truly prepare you for what it means to leave it.’ Mike Massimino has left it twice – aboard the space shuttles Columbia and Atlantis, on servicing missions to the Hubble Space Telescope. Massimino’s entertaining, warts-and-all account describes life as an astronaut, from the first week of training to seven-hour-long space walks.
The Birth of Modern Science in Medieval Europe
Histories of Western science often begin their narrative with Galileo’s battle to gain acceptance for Copernicus’ heliocentric model. But physicist John Freely sets out ‘to right this historical injustice’ by showing how a succession of European scholars as far back as the Dark Ages paved the way for the exciting discoveries of later centuries. Discussing the influential work of such figures as the Venerable Bede and Albertus Magnus, he identifies those ‘giants’ on whose shoulders Newton said he was standing.
Pigeon Guided Missiles
And 49 Other Ideas That Never Took Off
The pioneering behaviourist BF Skinner was able to demonstrate in the 1940s that conditioning pigeons, housed in the nose of a missile, to peck repeatedly at an image of a target, could be an effective weapons guidance system. As with all the apparently hare-brained schemes in this book, including Thomas Edison's concrete furniture, Wilhelm Reich's cloud-busting machine and British Rail's flying saucer, the system was never adopted.
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.
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.
Nine Strange Ways the World Could End
Scientists are actively searching for objects in space that pose a threat to Earth, but recently discovered 'dark asteroids' are worryingly difficult to spot; and the potential dangers of self-replicating nanoparticles and gamma ray blasts are an equally frightening prospect. Leaving aside the well-documented risks of climate change and global conflict, this entertainingly written investigation presents less familiar, but scientifically plausible, possibilities that could end or seriously damage life on Earth.
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.
The Zoomable Universe
A Step-by-Step Tour Through Cosmic Scale, from the Infinite to the Infinitesimal
From the gargantuan distance of 1026 metres, the radius of the observable universe, down to the unimaginably small Planck scale of 10-35 metres, used for measurements inside a proton, this illustrated guide to the cosmos zooms in on matter one order of magnitude (power of ten) at a time, depicting and explaining a curated selection of entities, including galaxies, planets, the solar system, Earth, flora and fauna, cells, viruses, atoms and subatomic particles.
The Visible Spectrum and Beyond
The light penetrating our eyes, an incoming call on a mobile phone, or an X-ray at the dentist: all are different kinds of light, or electromagnetic radiation. This illustrated guide to the electromagnetic spectrum explores the nature of light wavelength by wavelength – radio waves, microwaves, infrared, visible light, ultraviolet, X-rays and gamma-rays – revealing the properties, characteristics and practical applications of each type of radiation with incisive explanations, diagrams and hundreds of full-colour photographs.
Michael Faraday and the Electrical Century
This unconventional biography of Michael Faraday, among whose numerous inventions was the electric motor, explores episodes in his career, including his discovery of electromagnetic induction, in order to understand why he flourished in a complex and hierarchical Victorian scientific community.
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.
The Ends of the World
Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans And Our Quest to Understand Earth's Past Mass Extinctions
At five moments in our planet’s history, catastrophic events caused mass extinctions, when more than half of its species were lost. New technologies now enable scientists both to study these ancient disasters and to predict what lies ahead in a new phase of habitat destruction and climate change. Ranging across half a billion years, from the fossil record’s extraordinary creatures to today’s coral reefs, this book explains these new, urgent insights into Earth’s fragile ecosystems.
Philip's Essential Guide to Space
The Definitive Guide to Exploring and Understanding Our Solar System and The Universe Beyond
This highly illustrated guide focuses on space exploration – past, present and future – including the Apollo missions, the Space Shuttle years, the International Space Station and the future of commercial spaceflight. The book also explores the solar system, dedicating chapters to the Sun, the Moon, the planets and the asteroid belt, and concluding with a discussion of astronomy’s powerful telescopes, such as Hubble’s successor the James Webb Space Telescope, which facilitate a deeper understanding of the universe.
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.
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 more sophisticated automatic weather stations that 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.
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 that nurture life on Earth. Supported by data from laboratories, telescopes, probes and thousands of years of naked-eye observations, solar physicist 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?
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?
Ever since our ancestors first contemplated the majesty of the heavens, people have felt a profound curiosity about realms beyond the Earth. This authoritative, fully illustrated book provides an accessible introduction to the science of the universe. Starting with our own planet, it explores our neighbours in the solar system, before moving out into the vastness of intergalactic space. It also charts the history of astronomy. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
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.
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.
The Quantum World
The Disturbing Theory at the Heart of Reality
The laws of quantum physics result in strange paradoxes: not only can a particle exist in two places at once, but it will change its behaviour while being observed. This accessible guide introduces the puzzling world of quantum theory, the scientists who uncovered its mysteries, and its influence on computing, biology, cosmology and human ethics. The book also assesses what the science means for reality, and our ability to define, measure and live in it. Off-mint.
The Ingenious Mr Pyke
Inventor, Fugitive, Spy
Geoffrey Pyke first came to prominence when he escaped from a German prison camp in 1915. His ingenuity and energy subsequently produced experiments in various fields from stock-market speculation to educational theory and, during the Second World War, both Churchill and Mountbatten championed his extraordinary military inventions. Drawing on recently declassified files, this biography analyses his gift for innovation and considers whether he may have been spying for the Russians, as the files suggest. Slightly off-mint.
The Origin of (Almost) Everything
In six parts, on the universe, Earth, life, civilization, knowledge and inventions, this book is a compilation of modern origin stories, giving science’s answers and explanations to questions such as "What is matter made of?" "How did eyes evolve?" and "Why do we need so much stuff?" The book is an engaging introduction to a vast range of topics – from the QWERTY keyboard to black holes – introduced by Stephen Hawking and his big question: ‘Existence: Where did we come from?’
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.
How Bubble-Blowing Black Holes Rule Galaxies, Stars, and Life in the Cosmos
Black holes – destructive, time-warping chasms in space-time – have fascinated scientists and the general public for decades. But research has recently revealed that they are also the most efficient energy generators in the cosmos, ejecting huge beams and clouds of matter. Gravity’s Engines introduces the theoretical background to the study of these phenomena, describes the development of techniques to observe them and explains how the latest discoveries can help us understand our galaxy. Felt-tip mark on upper edge.
The Story of the Remarkable Woman Who Mapped the Ocean Floor
In 1952 Marie Tharp started a revolution that changed our ideas about how the continents were created – yet few people today have heard of her. This beautifully written, detailed biography sets the record straight, telling how this unconventional woman marched into the new geophysical lab at Columbia University and demanded a job, and how she and her partner Bruce Heezen spent the next 20 years painstakingly interpreting sonar data to create the first comprehensive map of the ocean floor.
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.
The End of Discovery
The last few centuries have seen a huge expansion in our understanding of the world around us, but are we approaching the limits of what it is possible to discover? In this summary of the challenges facing modern science, Russell Stannard argues that there are questions, such as the nature of time, the size of the universe or what constitutes consciousness, which we may never be able to fully explain.
Edison and the Rise of Innovation
Drawing on documents and photographs in the vast collections of the Thomas Edison National Historical Park, this book offers a richly illustrated study of the life and achievements of Thomas Edison (1847–1931), describing the groundbreaking innovations and inventions – particularly the phonograph and commercial electric light and power systems – that changed the world, but also focusing on his laboratories, his approach to business and how he revolutionized the way we develop new technologies. Foreword by Bill Gates.
About Time: From Sun Dials to Quantum Clocks
How the Cosmos Shapes our Lives – and We Shape the Cosmos
Our understanding and experience of time have developed with new mythological or scientific cosmologies and increasingly accurate methods of measurement. About Time traces the human concept of time from the earliest evidence for our recording of lunar cycles in the palaeolithic age, through the Ptolemaic and Copernican models of the universe, to cutting-edge physics and the implications of quantum clocks, string theory and multiverses.
What does it mean to say that we share 99 per cent of our genes with chimpanzees, or that languages can 'evolve'? What is a genome? How have ideas about human evolution changed the way we view the world and our fellow creatures? This book offers a straightforward explanation of the basic principles of evolutionary theory, its role in the history of science and the controversies it has caused from Darwin to the present day.
Life on the Edge
The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology
Why have humans never successfully created new life entirely from non-living material? How do birds detect Earth’s magnetic field, and how can dogs distinguish so many different smells? In this book a physicist and a biologist introduce the emerging field of quantum biology, which promises to help scientists understand the most puzzling biological phenomena by considering how the behaviour of matter at the quantum scale could affect processes important to life – and could even provide the key to its origins. Slightly off-mint and felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
The Upright Thinkers
The Human Journey From Living in Trees to Understanding the Cosmos
Leonard Mlodinow, bestselling author (with Stephen Hawking) of The Grand Design, traces the human 'odyssey of discovery', from starting to walk upright to space travel. Emphasizing the unity of knowledge and the creative impulse, he deals first with the evolution of the human brain and the urge to understand; then describes the development of the hard sciences up to the early 20th century; and finally surveys the exponential progress of science and technology since the discovery of quantum physics.
Cataloging the World
Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age
Working in an era when 'the closest thing anyone had ever seen to a database was a drawer full of index cards', the visionary Belgian information theorist Paul Otlet (1868–1944) aimed to create a global information network, the 'Mundaneum'. He had amassed some 15 million entries in a 'Universal Bibliography' and over 70,000 boxes of documentary material by 1940, when it was destroyed by the Nazis. Alex Wright introduces this extraordinary figure, his achievements and the legacy that survived.
Inventors & Impostors
How History Forgot the True Heroes of Invention and Discovery
It is fairly well known that there are rival candidates to Alexander Graham Bell for the invention of the telephone, but attributing the idea of a moving assembly line to Henry Ford is not usually disputed. This book tells the story of 14 key inventions or discoveries, from Edison and the light bulb to Watson and Crick's research into DNA, and highlights the involvement of less famous pioneers whom history has overlooked.
The Quest to Find the True Age of the Universe and the Theory of Everything
The two great theories of modern physics – the general theory of relativity and quantum theory – were developed independently, yet they agree precisely. But how might these theories of the very large and very small be unified in a 'Theory of Everything'? John Gribbin describes the quest for the Holy Grail of physics, from the 'prehistory' of cosmology and astrophysics in the 19th century to the latest estimate of the age of the universe (13.8 billion years), released in 2015.
Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer
Effective global response to climate change requires the development and transfer of environmentally sound technologies between countries. This special report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gives an overview of how to achieve and enhance that transfer.
Six Networks that Changed our World
The first transatlantic telegraph cable failed after a few weeks in 1858 but a successful link was established by 1866, transforming the speed of contact and commerce between Britain and America. With well-chosen illustrations and contributions from commentators including David Attenborough, this Science Museum book explores the innovations in information processing and communications that have revolutionized the world, including broadcasting, the telephone, satellites, cellular phones and the internet, thanks to such pioneers as Babbage, Bell, Berners-Lee, Marconi, Morse and Turing.
How Everything Moves, from Atoms and Galaxies to Blizzards and Bees
Why does it take so long for thick ice to form? How slowly do stalactites grow? How much lower is a bee's buzz than a mosquito's? Why can we see the flicker in old silent movies? The answers to such questions are revealed as astronomer Bob Berman explains the myriad movements that shape the universe, from the Sombrero Galaxy, which speeds away from us at 562 miles per second, to the oscillations of water molecules. Off-mint.
The Dangerous Allure of the Unseen
How would you achieve invisibility? If you could become invisible, what would you do? What challenges would you face? These are perennially fascinating questions, raising moral dilemmas and prompting scientific investigations as well as inspiring many myths and legends about magic rings and cloaks of invisibility. This wide-ranging cultural history of the concept of invisibility embraces Plato and HG Wells, medieval occultism and quantum theory, zebras' stripes and the optical camouflage used on military ships.
A Russian Life in Science
Born to a family of priests in provincial Russia, Ivan Pavlov (1849–1936) made his home and professional life in imperial St Petersburg, suffered the destruction of his world during the Bolshevik Revolution, and successfully rebuilt his career in the 1930s. In this definitive biography, Todes reinterprets the physiologist's famous research on conditional reflexes and weaves his life, values and science into the tumultuous period of Russian history between the reigns of Tsar Nicholas I and Stalin.
At The Edge of Uncertainty
11 Discoveries Taking Science by Surprise
While investigating the universe, scientists also discover the broad horizon of their ignorance. As Brooks demonstrates, this uncertainty creates fertile ground for radical theories, such as the Big Bang and natural selection, which are often dismissed out of hand when first proposed. The new perspectives collected here illustrate how this process continues in such thrilling and dangerous ideas as the merging of human and non-human species and the application of quantum physics to biology.
Science and Theology since Copernicus
The Search for Understanding
In this survey of scientific development and theological response over the past 450 years, Barrett covers three major shifts in Western science – the Scientific Revolution (16th and 17th centuries), Darwin's theory of evolution, and New Physics in the 20th century. He describes how the work of leading figures such as Copernicus, Boyle, Newton, Linnaeus and Darwin impacted on Christian belief and concludes with a discussion of the discourse between science and theology in recent decades.
We Need to Talk about Kelvin
What Everyday Things Tell Us about the Universe
Taking a cue from William Blake, Marcus Chown, cosmology consultant for New Scientist, shows how we can 'see a world in a grain of sand'. In this book he chooses familiar features of the mundane world - your reflection in a window, the heat of the sun on your face, how a cause always precedes an effect - and draws on cutting-edge science to explain how they reveal profound truths about the ultimate nature of reality. Short-listed for the 2010 Royal Society Science Book Prize. Slightly off-mint.