The Tangled Tree
A Radical New History of Life
Recent research has fundamentally challenged the view that genes are passed down vertically, from generation to generation, evolving slowly over time. This account describes the lives and discoveries of scientists including Carl Woese, Lynn Margulis and Tsutomu Watanabe, who have demonstrated that genes can move horizontally across species by viral infection, with significant implications for genetics, public health and our understanding of how the human race has evolved.
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.
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.
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.
Exploring the Weather
Brian Clegg's engaging illustrated guide explains both the complex systems which cause different weather conditions and the problems we still face in developing models to make more accurate long- and short-term predictions. From the terror of lightning and tornadoes to the calm beauty of sunsets and rainbows, he urges us to look anew at the wonders of the planet's atmosphere; but also considers the threats posed by solar flares, extreme weather and climate change.
A Beautiful Question
Finding Nature's Deep Design
In this 'long meditation on a single question', Nobel Prize-winning physicist Wilczek considers how ideas about beauty and art have always been intertwined with our scientific understanding of the cosmos. Taking as his starting-point Pythagoras' credo that 'all things are number', he follows the quest of figures such as Newton and Einstein who contributed to our present-day understanding of the equations and symmetries that reveal the fundamental purity, order and harmony of the entire universe.
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.
Field Guide to Snowflakes
One of nature's most beautiful mysteries, snowflakes have long been a source of profound fascination for scientists and nature-lovers alike. Accompanied by micro-photography, Kenneth Libbrecht’s guide chronicles the extraordinary creation process of the snow crystal, noting that even today the mystery of its astonishing construction remains unsolved.
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.