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.
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 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?
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?’
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 Telomerase Revolution
The Enzyme That Holds the Key to Human Aging... and Will Soon Lead to Longer, Healthier Lives
Why does growing old lead to so many forms of illness? Recent advances in the study of human cells have revealed that the key to answering this question lies in the telomeres – the tips of chromosomes – which shorten every time a cell reproduces. As he explains these insights, Fossel highlights the ability of the enzyme telomerase to re-lengthen the telomeres and discusses its potential as a means of treating age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
The Birth of the Pill
How Four Pioneers Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution
In the winter of 1950, 71-year-old Margaret Sanger met the scientist Gregory Pincus in New York City. Their meeting would change the world. This gripping account tells how Pincus and Sanger, a lifelong campaigner for women’s right to control their fertility, developed the contraceptive pill, funded by the philanthropist Katharine McCormick and supported by a charismatic Catholic doctor, John Rock, who battled his own church to win public approval for the controversial new drug.
The Weather Experiment
The Pioneers Who Sought to See the Future
Modern weather forecasts owe their existence to the eclectic group of 19th-century mavericks who created meteorological science; they included such figures as Sir Francis Beaufort, who quantified winds, the pharmacist Luke Howard, who classified clouds, and Admiral Robert FitzRoy, who issued Britain’s first storm warning in 1861. This book describes how they developed their radical theories, devised new instruments and attempted to convince governments of the moral duty to give the public advance warning of storms.
The Universe in Your Hand
A Journey Through Space, Time and Beyond
As he sets off to conduct a journey through the universe, the astrophysicist Christophe Galfard aims to ‘not leave any readers behind’ and promises to use only one equation (E=mc²). In a widely acclaimed, non-scientists’ introduction to modern physics and cosmology, Galfard uses humour, storytelling and thought experiments to make concepts such as electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, general relativity and black holes intelligible to all of us.
How Do You Get an Egg into a Bottle?
Bizarre, Weird and Wonderful Puzzles with Science
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.
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.
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 Physics of Everyday Things
The Extraordinary Science Behind an Ordinary Day
The physics professor James Kakalios reveals the complex science behind the basic things that keep our everyday lives running – from how refrigerators keep things cool to how aeroplanes stay in the air. Each explanation is coupled with a story that demonstrates the interplay of the invisible forces that surround us, demonstrating that while sophisticated scientific concepts may seem abstract, they are also eminently practical. Felt-tip mark on lower 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 remarkable 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’.
Plato's Alarm Clock
And Other Amazing Ancient Inventions
From underwater breathing equipment (as described by Aristotle) to star charts (drawn on the walls of the Lescaux caves, 33,000–10,000 years ago), James Russell describes the inventions of ancient times. There are chapters on everyday life, with items as diverse as alarm clocks, make-up, games and chewing gum; mechanical and industrial technology, including the spoked wheel and movable type; military inventions; medical breakthroughs; scientific advances; and mysterious lost inventions such as Greek fire, Maya blue and the Baghdad battery.