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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gunpowder and Geometry
From his humble beginning as a Newcastle pit boy in the 1740s Charles Hutton rose to become a Fellow of the Royal Society by the time he was 40. This biography follows his meteoric ascent and describes his contributions to mathematics, including work on the force of gunpowder and calculating the mass of the Earth.
The Mysterious Science of the Sea
Natascha Adamowsky presents a study of the ‘wondrous science of the sea’, arguing that – contrary to popular belief – post-Enlightenment discourse on the sea was still subject to mystery and wonder, and not wholly rationalized by science. From the History and Philosophy of Technoscience series.
Professor Maxwell's Duplicitous Demon
The Life and Science of James Clerk Maxwell
James Clerk Maxwell’s famously challenging thought experiment in which a Demon controls a door between hot and cold gases, suggests that the second law of thermodynamics can be broken. In this very accessible biography, the Demon as a narrator helps Brian Clegg argue that Maxwell’s work in fields such as electricity and magnetism not only laid the groundwork for much modern physics, but put him on a par with Newton and Einstein.
A Life in Science
After the runaway success of A Brief History of Time (1988), Stephen Hawking (1942–2018) became a household name; but long before taking cosmology to the general public, he was famous within scientific circles for his work at the cutting edge of theoretical physics. In this portrait, written during Hawking’s lifetime, two of our finest science writers present the story of his personal life as well as his scientific achievement.