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.
The Intimate Universe
How the Stars Are Closer than You Think
In this far-reaching guide to the ways the universe affects our daily lives, Dr Marek Kukula explains the myriad ways in which we are connected to the stars, how everything on Earth – from the ground beneath our feet to the technology in our pockets – has its origins in space, and how the strangest of astronomical phenomena can offer a clearer understanding of our own world.
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?
Dataclysm: Who We Are*
*When We Think No One's Looking
OkCupid founder Christian Rudder mines the big data of social media to reveal how age, beauty, gender, race and numerous other ‘tick-box’ signifiers influence our decision-making during the myriad of interactions that shape our lives online and beyond.
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.
Diabetes is a familiar disease and many perceive it now as almost mundane - an easily manageable condition since the discovery of insulin. In this volume from the Biographies of Disease series, Robert Tattersall traces the history of diabetes from ancient Egypt to the discovery of insulin, he shows how pernicious the condition can be, and gives a detailed account of the efforts to understand and manage it over the centuries, and across the world.
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.
Innovator, Scientist, Geologist and Clockmaker
Although he is remembered as a clockmaker, John Whitehurst (1713–88) was a polymath with diverse scientific interests in areas such as geology, hydraulics and barometric pressure. This biography focuses on his interactions with a wide circle of acquaintances not only in Derby, where he worked for more than 40 years, but also among the members of Birmingham’s Lunar Society. The author highlights Midlanders’ influential role in the British Enlightenment and reveals how Whitehurst’s ideas contributed to the development of scientific thought.
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.
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 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 Story of Chemistry
From the Periodic Table to Nanotechnology
Early civilizations created chemical transformations by mixing materials and heating them to make metal and pottery, but chemistry only emerged as a science in the 17th century when a more rigorous scientific approach began to be applied to the ancient art of alchemy. This illustrated introduction discusses the key discoveries and principal actors in the history of chemistry from the observations of Aristotle to modern chemical industries.
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.
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?’
Fundamentals of Medical Imaging
From X-rays, first discovered in 1895, to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), being able to see inside the human body has transformed diagnosis and treatment in modern medicine. This detailed academic survey of the field gives a technical introduction to each technique, including radiography, CT scanning, MRI, nuclear medicine and ultrasound, explaining the mathematical and physical principles of each technology and considering image analysis and interpretation.
Computing with Quantum Cats
From Colossus to Qubits
Quantum computers, which rely on entities existing in two states simultaneously, operate faster than conventional computers and can crack otherwise unbreakable codes. As he traces the developments that have led to the exploration of this new technological frontier, Gribbin outlines the theoretical physics on which such machines are based, explains how they differ from the computers we use every day and explores both their exciting practical applications and their limitations. Felt-tip mark on lower edge.
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.
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.
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.
The Secret Life of Space
Stonehenge was built to observe sunset on Midwinter’s Day, not sunrise on Midsummer’s Day; and Galileo did not invent the telescope. These are just two of the surprising facts discussed in this unconventional history of astronomy. Focusing on the stories of breakthroughs that overturned accepted wisdom, two leading science communicators celebrate the important work of maverick scientists, enthusiastic amateurs and those unsung heroes and heroines who helped to promote the ideas and discoveries of others.
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 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.
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.
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, meticulously researched 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.
My Beloved Brontosaurus
On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs
Brian Switek, a National Geographic columnist and lifelong dinosaur enthusiast, has woven memories from his own fossil-quest with explanations of the latest palaeontological research into such intriguing topics as dinosaurs’ sex lives, their ability to hear and the prevalence of feathers on their bodies. He also considers why we still yearn for the titular Brontosaurus despite its second ‘extinction’ when it became the Apatosaurus through taxonomic reclassification.
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 Science of Shakespeare
A New Look at the Playwright's Universe
A highly regarded science writer, Dan Falk is also a fan of Shakespeare, and in this book he examines the science of the Elizabethan era and how its discoveries are reflected in Shakespeare's work. Beginning with astronomical knowledge and ranging across Renaissance Europe, Falk examines the other physical sciences emerging – and the astrology, alchemy and magic still bound up with them – and shows how new discoveries influenced the playwright and changed the worldview of his contemporaries.
Great Inventors and Their Creations
The technology of the mysterious Antikythera mechanism, attributed by many to Archimedes, is an astonishing tribute to the genius of its creator, working two thousand years ago. With extensive illustrations, this book explores 28 inventors and their world-changing innovations, from antiquity to the present day, and contains 10 removable facsimile documents including the design drawing for Babbage's Analytical Engine and the original patent document for Karl Benz's motor car. Published in association with the Science Museum, London.
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.
The Divided Life of Bruno Pontecorvo, Physicist or Spy
In September 1950 Bruno Pontecorvo, one of Britain’s most brilliant nuclear physicists, disappeared with his family; when he resurfaced five years later he was on the other side of the Iron Curtain. Professor Close, who has worked with some of the defector’s former colleagues, assesses the importance of Pontecorvo’s research and pieces together the evidence for and against claims that he had been a Soviet spy while he was employed on the Anglo-Canadian arm of the Manhattan Project.
As the climate continues to change, we need more than ever to understand how weather affects the world around us. This practical, user-friendly guide explains basic phenomena such as wind, clouds and precipitation, along with extreme events such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Packed with full-colour photographs and easy-to-follow diagrams, it also explains forecasting techniques – and their limitations – and examines global warming and our influence on the weather. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
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 ground-breaking 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. Felt-tip mark on lower trimmed edge.
The Neutrino Hunters
The Chase for the Ghost Particle and the Secrets of the Universe
First detected in 1956, the neutrino holds the key to unravelling many cosmic mysteries - the structure of the universe, the pyrotechnics of exploding stars and the nature of matter itself. In this book a leading astrophysicist tells the stories of the early theorists and modern experimenters who have worked to understand neutrinos and explains why, despite decades of revolutionary research, they remain the most elusive particles of the subatomic world.
Featuring over 100 specially produced star maps and recent space photography, this 'field guide to the night sky' charts the 88 constellations of the celestial sphere, the movement of the planets, and the changing aspect of the skies from month to month in both northern and southern hemispheres. The digitally produced maps are particularly clear, with stars precisely sized according to their brightness and symbols representing deep-sky objects such as nebulae and galaxies.
The Universe in Your Hand
A Journey Through Space, Time and Beyond
From the Big Bang to the end of our world billions of years later, one of Stephen Hawking's former graduate students takes the reader on a journey through the cosmos as it is currently understood by scientists. With humour and imaginative storytelling he brings to life the beauty of the universe and explains such mysteries as quantum mechanics and black holes without equations or graphs, in the belief that 'we can all understand this stuff'.
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.
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.
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.