A hilarious, enlightening romp through the world of numbers with one of Australia's best-loved broadcasters.
Why do people get freaked out by Friday the 13th? Where does a dozen come from? Who was Erno Rubik? And how do you become a master at Sudoku?In 100 bite-sized chapters, mathematician, broadcaster and comedian Adam Spencer unlocks more of the secrets of the world of numbers.
If you've ever wondered about the fourth dimension, why spider monkeys have so many bones in their hands, which numbers are truly narcissistic, or how on earth you play Buckyball, Adam Spencers Big Book of Numbers will set you straight.
Goldacre is a doctor, writer, broadcaster and academic who specialises in unpicking dodgy scientific claims made by drug companies, newspapers, governments, PR people... in short anyone who tries to mislead the general public in medical and scientific areas. This is a selection of his writings - witty, indignant, reasoned, rational and enormously enjoyable. From the author of the bestselling Bad Science and Bad Pharma. In Bad Science, Goldacre hilariously exposed the tricks that quacks and journalists use to distort science. In Bad Pharma, he put the $600 billion global pharmaceutical industry under the microscope. Now the pick of the journalism by one of our wittiiest, most indignant and fearless commentators on the worlds of medicine and science is collected in one volume.
We are doomed to repeat history if we fail to learn from it, but how are we affected by the forces that are invisible to us?
What role does Neanderthal DNA play in our genetic makeup? How did the theory of eugenics embraced by Nazi Germany first develop? How is trust passed down in Africa, and silence inherited in Tasmania? How are private companies like Ancestry.com uncovering, preserving and potentially editing the past?
In The Invisible History of the Human Race, Christine Kenneally reveals that, remarkably, it is not only our biological history that is coded in our DNA, but also our social history. She breaks down myths of determinism and draws on cutting-edge research to explore how both historical artefacts and our DNA tell us where we have come from and where we may be going.
“The word “brilliant” gets thrown around a lot, but it should be saved for Christine Kenneally and her book The Invisible History of the Human Race. Transcending the nature-nurture dichotomy, Kenneally shows us how our societies and our selves got to be the way they are. Don’t read this book looking for neat answers—gaze instead through a glorious kaleidoscope of science, psychology, history and first-class storytelling.” —Susan Cain, New York Times bestselling author of QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.
“Christine Kenneally vividly traces the astonishing 21st century progress in the science of who we are. And she never loses sight of the human stories we tell about our heredity and history, which constitute us just as much as bits and genes do.” —Jordan Ellenberg, professor of mathematics at the University of Wisconsin, author of How Not To Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking
Evolution is one of the most powerful and important ideas ever developed in the history of science. Every question it raises leads to new answers, new discoveries, and new smarter questions. The science of evolution is as expansive as nature itself. It is also the most meaningful creation story that humans have ever found. Bill Nye Sparked by a controversial debate in February 2014, Bill Nye has set off on an energetic campaign to spread awareness of evolution and the powerful way it shapes our lives. In Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation, he explains why race does not really exist; evaluates the true promise and peril of genetically modified food; reveals how new species are born, in a dog kennel and in a London subway; takes a stroll through 4.5 billion years of time; and explores the new search for alien life, including aliens right here on Earth. With infectious enthusiasm, Bill Nye shows that evolution is much more than a rebuttal to creationism; it is an essential way to understand how nature works - and to change the world. It might also help you get a date on a Saturday night.
Though the concept of the universe suggests the containment of everything, the latest ideas in cosmology hint that our universe may be just one of a multitude of others - a single slice of an infinity of parallel realities.
In The Copernicus Complex, the renowned astrophysicist and author Caleb Scharf takes us on a cosmic adventure like no other, from tiny microbes within the Earth to distant exoplanets and beyond, asserting that the age-old Copernican principle is in need of updating. As Scharf argues, when Copernicus proposed that the Earth was not the fixed point at the center of the known universe (and therefore we are not unique), he set in motion a colossal scientific juggernaut, forever changing our vision of nature. But the principle has never been entirely true-we do live at a particular time, in a particular location, under particular circumstances. To solve this conundrum we must put aside our Copernican worldview and embrace the possibility that we are in a delicate balance between mediocrity and significance, order and chaos.
Weaving together cutting-edge science and classic storytelling, historical accounts and speculations on what the future holds, The Copernicus Complex presents a compelling argument for what our true cosmic status is, and proposes a way forward for the ultimate quest: to determine life's abundance not just across this universe but across all realities.
A unique approach to the philosophy of science that focuses on the liveliest and most important controversies surrounding science. Is science more rational or objective than any other intellectual endeavor? Are scientific theories accurate depictions of reality or just useful devices for manipulating the environment?
These core questions are the focus of this unique approach to the philosophy of science. Unlike standard textbooks, this book does not attempt a comprehensive review of the entire field, but makes a selection of the most vibrant debates and issues. The author tackles such stimulating questions as: Can science meet the challenges of skeptics? Should science address questions traditionally reserved for philosophy and religion? Further, does science leave room for human values, free will, and moral responsibility? Written in an accessible, jargon-free style, the text succinctly presents complex ideas in an easily understandable fashion. By using numerous examples taken from diverse areas such as evolutionary theory, paleontology and astronomy, the author piques our curiosity in current scientific controversies.
Concise bibliographic essays at the end of each chapter invite readers to sample ideas different from the ones offered in the text and to explore the range of opinions on each topic. Rigorous yet highly readable, this excellent invitation to the philosophy of science makes a convincing case that understanding the nature of science is essential for understanding life itself.
Now in its 4th year, this annual collection celebrates the finest Australian science writing of the year.
Why are Sydney's golden orb weaver spiders getting fatter and fitter? Could sociology explain the recent upsurge in diagnoses of prostate cancer? Why were Darwinites craving a good storm during The Angry Summer? Is it true that tuberculosis has become deadlier over time? And are jellyfish really taking over the world?
This popular and acclaimed anthology steps inside the nation's laboratories and its finest scientific and literary minds. Featuring prominent authors such as Tim Flannery, Jo Chandler, Frank Bowden and Iain McCalman, as well as many new voices, it covers topics as diverse and wondrous as our 'lumpy' universe, the creation of dragons and the frontiers of climate science.
From the big bang to black holes, from dark matter to dark energy, from the origins of the universe to its ultimate destiny, The Edge of the Sky tells the story of the most important discoveries and mysteries in modern cosmology--with a twist.
The book's lexicon is limited to the thousand most common words in the English language, excluding physics, energy, galaxy, or even universe. Through the eyes of a fictional scientist (Student-People) hunting for dark matter with one of the biggest telescopes (Big-Seers) on Earth (Home-World), cosmologist Roberto Trotta explores the most important ideas about our universe (All-there-is) in language simple enough for anyone to understand.
A unique blend of literary experimentation and science popularisation, this delightful book is a perfect gift for any aspiring astronomer. The Edge of the Sky tells the story of the universe on a human scale, and the result is out of this world.
Did you know that having a messy room will make you racist? Or that human beings possess the ability to postpone death until after important ceremonial occasions? Or that people live three to five years longer if they have positive initials, like ACE? All of these 'facts' have been argued with a straight face by researchers and backed up with reams of data and convincing statistics.
As Nobel Prize-winning economist Ronald Coase once cynically observed, 'If you torture data long enough, it will confess.' Lying with statistics is a time-honoured con. In Standard Deviations, economics professor Gary Smith walks us through the various tricks and traps that people use to back up their own crackpot theories. Sometimes, the unscrupulous deliberately try to mislead us. Other times, the well-intentioned are blissfully unaware of the mischief they are committing. Today, data are so plentiful that researchers spend precious little time distinguishing between good, meaningful deductions and total rubbish. Not only do others use data to fool us, we fool ourselves.
Drawing on breakthrough research in behavioural economics by luminaries like Daniel Kahneman and Dan Ariely, and taking to task some of the conclusions of Freakonomics author Steven D. Levitt, Standard Deviations demystifies the science behind statistics and brings into stark relief the fraud that surrounds us all.
We are all fascinated by phobias and the weird and wonderful things that people are afraid of. Some phobias are those many of us can identify with - fear of needles, spiders or snakes, for example - but others are harder to explain, such as the fear of string, or the fear of paper, fear of the colour red. And some are truly strange and unusual: fear of being tickled with feathers, fear or things to the left side of the body, fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth and, of course, fear that a duck is watching you ...
With an introduction on the biological origins of fear and anxiety by science broadcaster Bernie Hobbs, this book takes a light-hearted look at phobias. So what are you afraid of? Take a look inside and discover the things that make our hearts race and our stomachs clench: the big, the small and the sticky.
In the ruthless pursuit of scientific fact, there is no candidate more formidable than Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. Power hungry for experimentation, data manipulation and outlandish science propaganda, Dr Karl is Australia's incumbent President of Science. In House of Karls, he addresses a range of issues and questions: how Politics and Greed are dirtying the purity of Science and why the world's most expensive book costs more than $23 million dollars, but only $4 to post. How real is the Five Second Rule with food? Why does a frog in milk stop it from souring? Why did the Nazis steal the only Space Buddha? Gold may bring power, but how did it get from an exploding star to a gum tree? Why are children smarter than their parents? Why is bank robbery a terrible economic decision, and what are the surprising origins of the 'selfie'? Did you know that the Government knows of a cancer cure and it has 75,000 pieces of Big Data on you ...Vote #1 @doctorkarl. Knowledge is Power.
Time travel, parallel worlds, random behaviour: the language and the imagery of quantum mechanics are ubiquitous, yet the science - and its journey into everyday language - still confounds us. Robert P. Crease and Alfred Scharff Goldhaber tell how a controversial idea from an obscure branch of optics grew in complexity and authority, eventually dominating the scientific community and commanding the attention of the culture at large. Recounting fiery disputes between figures including Einstein, Schrodinger and Pauli, the authors trace popular images back to their scientific roots and uncover modern manifestations in everything from architecture and sculpture to the prose of John Updike. The Quantum Moment combines an exhilarating history of the quantum with shrewd insight into our experience of the everyday.
Award-winning nature photographers Stanley and Kaisa Breeden explore Australia's small animal life to reveal the wonder and beauty of looking closely into nature.
Their specially developed digital photography techniques make it possible to see intriguing details you may never have suspected were there. Stanley is recognised as one of Australia's pioneering nature photographers and writers. He is the author of some 20 natural history books and has been published in the world's leading natural history magazines. He is a double Emmy-Award winning documentary film-maker and writer, having worked in both Australia and India for National Geographic. After retiring from film photography, he embraced the digital realm with gusto, winning additional awards for photography and writing with his wife Kaisa.
Together Stan and Kaisa produce fantastically clear and detailed views of nature's realms, using their pioneering new techniques involving focus stacking, combined with HDR and macro panorama photography. As a result, many of the subjects they depict are composed of 5 or more - and up to 25 - photographs.
More infoThis annual gem (produced each year since 1991) continues to take the Australian stargazer on a wondrous journey of the night sky.
This critically acclaimed work, produced by three well known experts in the field, takes a unique approach to explaining and identifying the Sun, Moon, planets and constellations; it is simply the best publication of its type in the world.
In Cosmigraphics, Michael Benson, author of ground-breaking books of space photography, turns his attention to the history of the visual description and mapping of the universe. This is a story that begins in myth and ends with science. Selecting the most artful and profound examples of cosmic imagery, Benson chronicles successive cosmological models that capture our growing awareness of humanity's place in nature, from terracentric to heliocentric to galactocentric to our current disaggregated decenteredness; shows how the invention and perfection of the telescope forced wondrous visions of unimaginable places; and explains why today photography alone cannot reveal the deeper truths about time and space in images. As much a work of art as it is of science, it includes hundreds of brilliant illustrations. Cosmigraphics is the first book to explore the visual side of our greatest imaginative achievement as a species: the unveiling of a vast universe that is largely invisible to our senses. It will be appeal to the many space-struck Earthlings who are Benson's loyal readers, art lovers and readers interested in the history of science, the visualisation of information, graphic design and mapping.
In You Are Here, bestselling author and celebrated astronaut Chris Hadfield creates a virtual orbit of Earth, giving us the really big picture: this is our home, from space. The millions of us who followed Hadfield's news-making Twitter feed from the ISS thought we knew what we were looking at when we first saw his photos. But we may have caught the beauty and missed the full meaning. Now, in this book of photographs from the International Space Station - many of which have never been shared - Hadfield unveils a fresh and insightful look at our planet. He sees astonishing detail and importance in these images, not just because he's spent months in space but because his in-depth knowledge of geology, geography, and meteorology allows him to reveal the photos' mysteries. Featuring Hadfield's favourite images, You Are Here is divided by continent and represents one (idealized) orbit of the ISS. This planetary photo tour - surprising, playful, thought-provoking, and visually delightful - provides a breathtakingly beautiful perspective on the wonders of the world. You Are Here opens a singular window on our planet, using remarkable photographs to illuminate the history and consequences of human settlement, the magnificence of newly uncovered landscapes, and the power of the natural forces shaping our world and the future of our species.
The Hubble Space Telescope is now at the apex of its imaging capabilities, yet until the publication of Hubble's Universe no other popular book had presented the latest pictures taken by the new Wide Field Camera 3. For his most recent book, Terence Dickinson selected a breathtaking portfolio of Hubble pictures from a library of more than 700,000 images. Thanks to Dickinson's familiarity with Hubble's history and discoveries and his access to top Hubble scientists for insight and accuracy, the text includes facts and titbits not found in any other book. Combined with more than 300 brilliant images, the clear, succinct and illuminating narrative brings to life the fascinating forces at work in the universe.
Seeking to reenergize Americans' passion for the space program, the value of further exploration of the Moon, and the importance of human beings on the final frontier, Claude A. Piantadosi presents a rich history of American space exploration and its major achievements. He emphasizes the importance of reclaiming national command of our manned program and continuing our unmanned space missions, and he stresses the many adventures that still await us in the unfolding universe. Acknowledging space exploration's practical and financial obstacles, Piantadosi challenges us to revitalize American leadership in space exploration in order to reap its scientific bounty. Piantadosi explains why space exploration, a captivating story of ambition, invention, and discovery, is also increasingly difficult and why space experts always seem to disagree. He argues that the future of the space program requires merging the practicalities of exploration with the constraints of human biology. Space science deals with the unknown, and the margin (and budget) for error is small. Lethal near-vacuum conditions, deadly cosmic radiation, microgravity, vast distances, and highly scattered resources remain immense physical problems. To forge ahead, America needs to develop affordable space transportation and flexible exploration strategies based in sound science. Piantadosi closes with suggestions for accomplishing these goals, combining his healthy skepticism as a scientist with an unshakable belief in space's untapped -- and wholly worthwhile -- potential.
Since humans first gazed upward, the moon has hung in the sky virtually unchanged, entrancing generations of poets, artists and scientists. Once worshipped as a deity, often thought to cause madness, now known to manipulate our tides and much else besides, humanity's relationship with the moon has been ever-changing; the one constant has been our continued fascination with it. Moon gives a comprehensive account of our lunar companion's significance, tracing its origins out of a collision with Earth and following its rich cultural resonance in the worlds of literature, art, religion and politics. The moon's story is also humanity's own story: it gave humans the ability to organize time, dividing the year into months and ordaining the dates of festivals such as Easter, Ramadan and the Chinese New Year. Its moderating effect on the earth's spin could mean that without the moon life may never have been able to evolve. Edgar Williams shows how the interdependence of moon and Earth also finds its unwitting parallel in the realm of culture, where the moon has constantly found it itself embedded in our preoccupations, whether in the worship of Elizabeth i as Diana, moon goddess, or in the long-lived dream that humans will one day populate its surface. Moon tells a succinct, witty and informative tale of everything lunar, filled with entertaining anecdotes about what the moon has meant to us. For sky-gazers everywhere, Moon is not to be missed.
Our true origins are not just human, or even terrestrial, but in fact cosmic. Drawing on recent scientific breakthroughs and the current cross-pollination among geology, biology, astrophysics, and cosmology, Origins explains the soul-stirring leaps in our understanding of the cosmos. From the first image of a galaxy birth to Spirit Rover's exploration of Mars, to the discovery of water on one of Jupiter's moons, co-authors Neil deGrasse Tyson and Donald Goldsmith conduct a galvanising tour of the cosmos with clarity and exuberance.
In August 2006, the International Astronomical Union voted Pluto out of planethood. It is a wonder Pluto has any fans, yet during the mounting debate over Pluto's status, people rallied behind the extraterrestrial underdog. Pluto is entrenched in the American cultural, patriotic view of the cosmos and Neil deGrasse Tyson is on a quest to discover why. Only Tyson can tell this story: he was involved in the first exhibition to demote Pluto and consequently, Pluto lovers have freely shared their opinions with him. In his typically witty way, Tyson explores the history of planet classification and America's obsession with the planet that has recently been judged a dwarf.
Neil deGrasse Tyson is a rare breed of astrophysicist, one who can speak as easily and brilliantly with popular audiences as with professional scientists. Now that NASA has put human space flight effectively on hold, Tyson's views on the future of space travel and America's role in that future are especially timely and urgent.
Air has always been essential to life, from the atmospheric composition that gave life to the forests and gigantic insects of the Carboniferous age some 300 million years ago to the air that fuels the most important technologies today. We are immersed in a great ocean of air; from internal combustion and jet engines to modern cities with artificial climates, air is remarkable because it is so widespread and at the same time so intimate. But by managing and manipulating air as a natural resource, humans have been taken to the limits of their survival at the extreme situations of high-altitude mountain peaks and the lows of subterranean worlds. Yet rarely are we aware of air and its incredible properties. Air is an innovative cultural and scientific history that focuses on our attempts to understand air, to engineer and grapple with it, to make sense of it and find meaning in it. For as essential as air has been to our philosophical, scientific and technological pursuits, Peter Adey shows that it is through air that the artistic and literary imagination has been lifted. Exploring the work of established figures such as Marie Curie, Joseph Priestley and John Scott Haldane, as well as lesser-known pioneers, and including perspectives from painting, literature and poetry, this richly illustrated book will appeal to anyone interested in the science as well as the culture of this pervasive, often unregarded yet vital substance.
Oceans make up most of the surface of our blue planet. They may form just a sliver on the outside of the Earth, but they are very important, not only in hosting life, including the fish and other animals on which many humans depend, but in terms of their role in the Earth system, in regulating climate, and cycling nutrients. As climate change, pollution, and over-exploitation by humans puts this precious resource at risk, it is more important than ever that we understand and appreciate the nature and history of oceans. There is much we still do not know about the story of the Earth's oceans, and we are only just beginning to find indications of oceans on other planets. In this book, geologists Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams consider the deep history of oceans, how and when they may have formed on the young Earth - topics of intense current research - how they became salty, and how they evolved through Earth history. We learn how oceans have formed and disappeared over millions of years, how the sea nurtured life, and what may become of our oceans in the future. We encounter some of the scientists and adventurers whose efforts led to our present understanding of oceans. And we look at clues to possible seas that may once have covered parts of Mars and Venus, that may still exist, below the surface, on moons such as Europa and Callisto, and the possibility of watery planets in other star systems.
Discover the inner-workings of electronics through innovative hands-on experiments Are you fascinated by the power of even the smallest electronic device? Electronics from the Ground Up guides you through step-by-step experiments that reveal how electronic circuits function so you can advance your skills and design custom circuits. You'll work with a range of circuits and signals related to optical emitters and receivers, audio, oscillators, and video. This practical resource explains components, construction techniques, basic test equipment, circuit analysis, and troubleshooting. Photographs, schematics, equations, and graphs are included throughout. By the end of the book, you'll be able to hack and modify existing circuits to create your own unique designs. Do-it-yourself experiments cover: Batteries, lamps, and flashlights Light emitters and receivers Diodes, rectifiers, and associated circuits Transistors, FETs, and vacuum tubes Amplifiers and feedback Audio signals and circuits Oscillators AM and FM signals and circuits Video basics, including video signals Video circuits and systems
War of the Whales is the gripping tale of a crusading attorney who stumbles on one of the US Navy's best-kept secrets: a submarine detection system that floods entire ocean basins with high-intensity sound-and drives whales onto beaches. As Joel Reynolds launches a legal fight to expose and challenge the Navy program, marine biologist Ken Balcomb witnesses a mysterious mass stranding of whales near his research station in the Bahamas. Investigating this calamity, Balcomb is forced to choose between his conscience and an oath of secrecy he swore to the Navy in his youth. When Balcomb and Reynolds team up to expose the truth behind an epidemic of mass strandings, the stage is set for an epic battle that pits admirals against activists, rogue submarines against weaponized dolphins, and national security against the need to safeguard the ocean environment. Waged in secret military labs and the nation's highest court, War of the Whales is a real-life thriller that combines the best of legal drama, natural history, and military intrigue.
The public is more interested in agricultural and food issues than ever before, as is evident in the many agricultural controversies debated in the media. Why is it that some people embrace new agricultural technologies while others steadfastly defend traditional farming methods? Why do some prefer to buy food grown around the world while others patronize small, local farmers? In the debates about organic food, genetically modified organisms, and farm animal welfare, it is not always clear what the scientific literature actually says. To understand these controversies, the authors encourage readers to develop first an appreciation for why two equally intelligent and well-intentioned people can form radically different notions about food. Sometimes the disputes are scientific in nature, and sometimes they arise from conflicting ethical views. This book confronts the most controversial issues in agriculture by first explaining the principles of both sides of the debate, and then guiding readers through the scientific literature so that they may form their own educated opinions. Is food safe if the farm used pesticides, or are organic foods truly better for your health? Are chemical fertilizers sustainable, or are we producing cheap food today at the expense of future generations? What foods should we eat to have a smaller carbon footprint? Is genetically-modified food the key to global food security, and does it give corporations too much market power? Is the prevalence of corn throughout the food system the result of farm subsidies? Does buying local food stimulate the local economy? Why are so many farm animals raised indoors, and should antibiotics be given to livestock? These are the issues addressed in Agricultural and Food Controversies: What Everyone Needs to Know. While it doesn't claim to have all the answers, it provides a synthesis of research and popular opinions on both sides of these important issues, allowing readers to decide what they value and believe for themselves.
In Carbon Shock, veteran journalist Mark Schapiro takes readers on a journey into a world where the same chaotic forces reshaping our natural world are also transforming the economy, playing havoc with corporate calculations, shifting economic and political power, and upending our understanding of the real risks, costs, and possibilities of what lies ahead. In this ever-changing world, carbon the stand-in for all greenhouse gases rules, and disrupts, and calls upon us to seek new ways to reduce it while factoring it into nearly every long-term financial plan we have. But how? From the jungles of the Amazon to the farms in California s Central Valley, from greening cities like Pittsburgh to rising powerhouses like China, from the oil-splattered beaches of Spain to carbon-trading desks in London, Schapiro deftly explores the key axis points of change. For almost two decades, global climate talks have focused on how to make polluters pay for the carbon they emit. It remains an unfolding financial mystery: What are the costs? Who will pay for them? Who do you pay? How do you pay? And what are the potential impacts? The answers to these questions, and more, are crucial to understanding, if not shaping, the coming decade. Carbon Shock evokes a world in which the parameters of our understanding are shifting on a scale even more monumental than how the digital revolution transformed financial decision-making toward a slow but steady acknowledgement of the costs and consequences of climate change. It also offers a critical new perspective as global leaders gear up for the next round of climate talks in 2015.
Poison is the ultimate guide to surviving in the natural world. Poison offers a unique look at how and where poisons and venoms naturally occur in reptiles, insects, and other creatures. From the plains of the Outback to the jungles of Madagascar, Dr. Mark Siddall arms you with the in-depth and valuable knowledge he has gleaned from his scientific jaunts around the world. In addition to his witty and lyrical take on these deadly creatures and curious occurrences, Siddall also discusses the various purposes poison has served throughout history. Seventy-five clever entries are organised in the following categories for the curious and concerned: things that sting, bite, one shouldn't touch, and one shouldn't eat. Each entry also features black-and-white illustrations hand drawn by Megan Gavin.
Climate change is still, arguably, the most critical and controversial issue facing the world in the twenty-first century. Previously published as Global Warming: A Very Short Introduction, the new edition is now Climate Change: A Very Short introduction, reflecting an important change in the terminology of the last decade. In the third edition, Mark Maslin includes crucial updates from the last few years, including the results of the 2013 IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, the effects of ocean acidification, and the impact of changes to global population and health. Exploring all of the key topics in the debate, Maslin makes sense of the complexities climate change involves, from political and social issues to environmental and scientific. Looking at its predicated impacts, he explores all of the controversies, and also explains the various proposed solutions. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
The study of materials is a major field of research that supports and drives innovation in technology. Using modern scientific techniques, materials scientists and engineers explore and manipulate materials, and create new ones with remarkable strength and extraordinary optical and electrical properties. In this Very Short Introduction, Christopher Hall looks at a wide range of materials, from steel, wood, and rubber, to gold, silicon, and graphene, describing how materials are used, how their properties arise from their internal structure, and how useful and novel things are made from them. He concludes by looking at how the global scale of materials consumption now threatens the goal of sustainability. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
In the winter of 1950, Margaret Sanger, then seventy-one, and who had campaigned for women's right to control their own fertility for five decades, arrived at a Park Avenue apartment building. She had come to meet a visionary scientist with a dubious reputation more than twenty years her junior. His name was Gregory Pincus. In The Birth of the Pill, Jonathan Eig tells the extraordinary story of how, prompted by Sanger, and then funded by the wealthy widow and philanthropist Katharine McCormick, Pincus invented a drug that would stop women ovulating. With the support of John Rock, a charismatic and, crucially, Catholic doctor from Boston, who battled his own church in the effort to win public approval for the controversial new drug, he succeeded. Together, these four determined men and women changed the world. Spanning the years from Sanger's heady Greenwich Village days in the early twentieth century to trial tests in Puerto Rico in the 1950s to the cusp of the sexual revolution in the 1960s, this is a grand story of radical feminism, scientific ingenuity, establishment opposition, and, ultimately, a sea change in social attitudes. Brilliantly researched and vividly written, The Birth of the Pill is a gripping account of a remarkable cultural, social and scientific journey.
A mesmerizing biography of the brilliant and eccentric medical innovator who revolutionized American surgery and founded the country's most famous museum of medical oddities Imagine undergoing an operation without anesthesia performed by a surgeon who refuses to sterilize his tools--or even wash his hands. This was the world of medicine when Thomas Dent Mutter began his trailblazing career as a plastic surgeon in Philadelphia during the middle of the nineteenth century. Although he died at just forty-eight, Mutter was an audacious medical innovator who pioneered the use of ether as anesthesia, the sterilization of surgical tools, and a compassion-based vision for helping the severely deformed, which clashed spectacularly with the sentiments of his time. Brilliant, outspoken, and brazenly handsome, Mutter was flamboyant in every aspect of his life. He wore pink silk suits to perform surgery, added an umlaut to his last name just because he could, and amassed an immense collection of medical oddities that would later form the basis of Philadelphia's Mutter Museum. Award-winning writer Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz vividly chronicles how Mutter's efforts helped establish Philadelphia as a global mecca for medical innovation--despite intense resistance from his numerous rivals. (Foremost among them: Charles D. Meigs, an influential obstetrician who loathed Mutter's overly modern medical opinions.) In the narrative spirit of The D evil in the White City, Dr. Mutter's Marvels interweaves an eye-opening portrait of nineteenth-century medicine with the riveting biography of a man once described as the P. T. Barnum of the surgery room.
The Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century has often been called a decisive turning point in human history. It represents, for good or ill, the birth of modern science and modern ways of viewing the world. In What Galileo Saw, Lawrence Lipking offers a new perspective on how to understand what happened then, arguing that artistic imagination and creativity as much as rational thought played a critical role in creating new visions of science and in shaping stories about eye-opening discoveries in cosmology, natural history, engineering, and the life sciences. When Galileo saw the face of the Moon and the moons of Jupiter, Lipking writes, he had to picture a cosmos that could account for them. Kepler thought his geometry could open a window into the mind of God. Francis Bacon's natural history envisioned an order of things that would replace the illusions of language with solid evidence and transform notions of life and death. Descartes designed a hypothetical Book of Nature to explain how everything in the universe was constructed. Thomas Browne reconceived the boundaries of truth and error. Robert Hooke, like Leonardo, was both researcher and artist; his schemes illuminate the microscopic and the macrocosmic. And when Isaac Newton imagined nature as a coherent and comprehensive mathematical system, he redefined the goals of science and the meaning of genius. What Galileo Saw bridges the divide between science and art; it brings together Galileo and Milton, Bacon and Shakespeare. Lipking enters the minds and the workshops where the Scientific Revolution was fashioned, drawing on art, literature, and the history of science to reimagine how perceptions about the world and human life could change so drastically, and change forever.
From John Bradshaw, one of the world's leading experts on animal behaviour, and the author of the Sunday Times Bestseller, In Defence of Dogs, Cat Sense shows us the true, surprising nature of cats. Cats are the most popular pet in the world. They outnumber the dog, man's 'best friend', by three to one. Yet today, they face unprecedented challenges in their life with humans: from conservationists who cast them as a threat to wildlife; from other cats who they compete for territory with; and from good-intentioned owners and vets with misconceptions of what they require. Cats need not so much our sympathy, but our understanding. Cat Sense offers us for the first time a truly scientific, yet deeply affectionate, picture of one of humanity's closest and most enigmatic companions. A mind-altering book ...delightful . (Lynne Truss, The Times). Exceptionally thorough ...Bradshaw's concern and love for cats shines through ...You could buy a dozen books by the many cat whisperers, cat gurus and cat therapists that exist in our feline-obsessed modern world, but their accumulated wisdom would probably not help you understand your cats as well as Cat Sense . (Tom Cox, Observer). An entertaining book, written in a relaxed style . (James McConnachie, Sunday Times). Witty, surprising writing ...There is his delight in detail, a talent for dismantling myths, but most importantly an ability to build a coherent and entertaining theory from an apparent contradiction that all cat-lovers will recognise: we seek to understand cats even though it is our lack of understanding that makes us love them . (Herald John Bradshaw is a biologist who founded and directs the world-renowned Anthrozoology Institute, based at the University of Bristol). He has been studying the behaviour of domestic cats and their owners for over 25 years, and is the author of many scientific articles, research papers and reviews.
Life on Planet Earth is not weirder than we imagine. It's weirder than we are capable of imagining. And we're all in it together: humans, blue whales, rats, birds of paradise, ridiculous numbers of beetles, molluscs the size of a bus, the sexual gladiators of slugs, bdelloid rotifers who haven't had sex for millions of years and creatures called water bears: you can boil them, freeze them and fire them off into space without killing them. We're all part of the animal kingdom, appearing in what Darwin called endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful . In this breathtakingly audacious book, Simon Barnes has brought us all together, seeking not what separates us but what unites us. He takes us white-water rafting through the entire animal kingdom in a book that brings in deep layers of arcane knowledge, the works of Darwin and James Joyce, Barnes's own don't-try-this-at-home adventures in the wild, David Attenborough and Sherlock Holmes. Ten Million Aliens opens your eyes to the real marvels of the planet we live on.
Why are there two sexes? How different are they and why? Why can't a woman be more like a man? Or should the question be: why can't a man be more like a woman? Controversy rages around sex and gender, but just what are the differences and how are they determined? Lewis Wolpert, distinguished scientist, broadcaster and author, has tackled depression, religion and old age from a developmental biologist's perspective. Now he enters the gender debate, starting with his argument that men are fundamentally modified females - if the genes present at fertilisation did not do their job properly, we would all be women - and journeying through MRI techniques, the nature of sexual attraction, 'neurosexism' and whether men are really better at maths. With fresh and persuasive research and with his customary intelligence and curiosity, Lewis Wolpert sets out to make his mark on this controversial topic - and makes some surprising discoveries along the way.
A passionate and informative celebration of trees and of man's ingenuity in exploiting their resources: the perfect gift for anyone who cares about the natural world. Trees are marvels of nature, still-standing giants of extraordinary longevity. In a beautifully written sequence of essays, anecdotes and profiles of Britain's best-loved species (from yew to scots pine), Max Adams explores both the amazing biology of trees and humanity's relationship with wood and forest across the centuries. Embellished with images from John Evelyn's classic SYLVA (1664), THE WISDOM OF TREES is a gift book that will delight anyone who cares about the natural world and our interaction with it.
1,000 million years ago, a sexual revolution occurred on Earth. Sex happened for the first time; from this moment the world became ever more colourful and bizarre, ringing with elaborate songs and dances, epic battles, and rallying cries as the desires of males and females collided, generation after generation. All of your ancestors took part and succeeded - an unbroken chain of sex right back to the dawn of complex life on Earth. Well done you. Well done everything. The world in which we live rings, bleeds, and howls with sex. It's everywhere. Right now warring hordes are locking horns, preening feathers, rampaging lustfully across the savanna, questioning the fidelity of the ones they love. Birds are singing, flowers bloom. A million females choose; a billion penises ejaculate (or snap off); a trillion sperm battle, block and tackle. Sex made planet Earth sexy. Written in a brilliantly engaging style by biologist Jules Howard, this fascinating and highly readable work covers the how and why of sex on Earth, in all its diversity. From sperm wars to cuckoldry, hermaphrodites and virgin births, spent males, racy harems, clitoral births, hips, breasts and birdsong, penis-percussion, and those riskiest and most elusive of all traits, monogamy and true love, all this and more is discussed in Sex on Earth, as Jules takes us on a voyage of discovery of the ins and outs of animal reproduction.
This title was short-listed for the Society of Biology Book Award 2014, and, Long-listed for the Royal Society Winton prize for science books 2014. In The Compatibility Gene, leading scientist Daniel M Davis tells the story of the crucial genes that define our relationships, our health and our individuality. We each possess a similar set of around 25,000 human genes. Yet a tiny, distinctive cluster of these genes plays a disproportionately large part in how our bodies work. These few genes, argues Davis, hold the key to who we are as individuals and our relationship to the world: how we combat disease, how our brains are wired, how attractive we are, even how likely we are to reproduce. The Compatibility Gene follows the remarkable history of these genes' discovery. From the British scientific pioneers who struggled to understand the mysteries of transplants to the Swiss zoologist who devised a new method of assessing potential couples' compatibility based on the smell of worn T-shirts, Davis traces a true scientific revolution in our understanding of the human body: a global adventure spanning some sixty years. Unusual results, astonishing implications and ethical dilemmas . (The Times). Packed with an insider's knowledge . (New York Times). He makes immunology as fascinating to popular science readers as cosmology, consciousness, and evolution . (Steven Pinker). An elegantly written, unexpectedly gripping account . (Bill Bryson Guardian, Books of the Year). Daniel M Davis is director of research at the University of Manchester's Collaborative Centre for Inflammation Research and a visiting professor at Imperial College, London. He has published over 100 academic articles, including papers in Nature and Science, and Scientific American. He has won the Oxford University Press Science Writing Prize and given numerous interviews for national and international media. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2011.
The leopard is the ultimate cat. It makes the lion and the tiger appear overblown and all the other members of the cat family look puny. Whereas lions hunt in the open and then share their kill, the leopard is solitary, stealthy and selfish. This cat ambushes its prey and then carries it high into a tree where it can dine alone. The leopard has commanded respect and awe in mankind for centuries, and is called the 'perfect predator', capable of frustrating the most dedicated big game hunter. Leopards are known to attack humans, and the book contains some compelling images of this amazing animal in action. In Leopard, renowned zoologist Desmond Morris shows all sides of the animal's character: its athletic elegance, its predatory skill, its wary shyness, its cunning intelligence, its parental devotion and its preference for solitary living, even its capacity to seek revenge. Morris traces the evolution of leopards, their role in circuses, and how we are now making strides in their conservation. He also describes their rich symbolism, and looks at the leopard print in fashion, both haute couture and downmarket, as well as the leopard in art, literature, film and popular culture.
Take a close-up look into a world you've never noticed. Bugs are usually so small that we hardly notice them, let alone think of them as living beings. But call upon the magnifying glass, and a shapeless jumble of legs, wings, and antennae suddenly start staring back at us. About 80 percent of the Earth's animals are insects. While there are millions of different species, we rarely see many of them ...until now. Thanks to the photography of John Hallmen, who took a camera and magnified these magnificent creatures one hundred times, we can see what we've never been able to see before. Bugs Up Close takes readers on a journey into a world rarely seen, with incredible photographs of such insects as: Crane flies Yellow meadow ants Black fungus beetles Treehoppers And many more! The diversity of this insect civilization is striking and unknown to most. An insect we may never have thought twice about now looks like a creature from outer space. Fascinating and somewhat monstrous details such as compound eyes, antennae, and sharp mouth parts are visible, and with text by Lars-Ake Janzon, Bugs Up Close is an amazing close look into the strange and beautiful world of insects.
The Australian continent provides a unique perspective on the evolution and ecology of carnivorous animals. Since European settlement, Australia has seen the extinction of one large marsupial predator (the thylacine), another (the Tasmanian devil) is in danger of imminent extinction, and still others have suffered dramatic declines. By contrast, two recently-introduced predators, the fox and cat, have been spectacularly successful, with devastating impacts on the Australian fauna. Carnivores of Australia: Past, Present and Future explores Australia's unique predator communities from pre-historic, historic and current perspectives. It covers mammalian, reptilian and avian carnivores, both native and introduced to Australia. It also examines the debate surrounding how best to manage predators to protect livestock and native biodiversity. By emphasising Australian carnivores as exemplars of flesh-eaters in other parts of the world, this book will be an important reference for researchers, wildlife managers and students worldwide.
The hedgehog has long had a close connection with people. It has been an animal of fascination, endearment and cultural significance since the ancient Egyptians. The Romans regarded it as a weather prophet, and modern gardeners depend on the creature to keep their gardens free of pests. This book explores how this and other characteristics of the small creature have propelled it to the top of a number of polls of people's favorite animals. People react with passion and enthusiasm for the hedgehog, as it is, quite unusually, a wild animal that one can connect with. When scared the hedgehog stays still, allowing a closer look. It remains one of the few creatures that people can get close to without the fear of an attack, or it running away at the slightest movement. The hedgehog has spread through Europe and Asia to the foot of Africa, and is a prickly pet in the USA. The hedgehog's appeal and public accessibility has lead to it to be found on numerous products, from advertising to films and children's books. Instantly recognizable, benign in reputation, Hedgehog demonstrates that there is much to admire about this beautiful, and now threatened, icon of wildlife.
Microbiology is the study of life itself, down to the smallest particle Microbiology is a fascinating field that explores life down to the tiniest level. Did you know that your body contains more bacteria cells than human cells? It's true. Microbes are essential to our everyday lives, from the food we eat to the very internal systems that keep us alive. These microbes include bacteria, algae, fungi, viruses, and nematodes. Without microbes, life on Earth would not survive. It's amazing to think that all life is so dependent on these microscopic creatures, but their impact on our future is even more astonishing. Microbes are the tools that allow us to engineer hardier crops, create better medicines, and fuel our technology in sustainable ways. Microbes may just help us save the world. Microbiology For Dummies is your guide to understanding the fundamentals of this enormously-encompassing field. Whether your career plans include microbiology or another science or health specialty, you need to understand life at the cellular level before you can understand anything on the macro scale. Explore the difference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells Understand the basics of cell function and metabolism Discover the differences between pathogenic and symbiotic relationships Study the mechanisms that keep different organisms active and alive You need to know how cells work, how they get nutrients, and how they die. You need to know the effects different microbes have on different systems, and how certain microbes are integral to ecosystem health. Microbes are literally the foundation of all life, and they are everywhere. Microbiology For Dummies will help you understand them, appreciate them, and use them.
From Lewis Carroll's poem The Walrus and the Carpenter to the Beatles's I am the Walrus, walruses have played an enigmatic role in popular culture. With their prominent tusks and distinctive whiskers, these odd-looking but charismatic animals have long held a crucial place in the lives and folklore of Arctic indigenous cultures, both as a vital food source and as a part of traditional oral literature. However, commercial trade of walrus products has caused the creatures to be hunted to the brink of extinction, with disastrous effects on human populations in the Arctic. Combining natural, cultural, and environmental history, Walrus explores the intriguing story of an animal that today is on the front lines of conservation debates. John Miller and Louise Miller describe the problems facing walruses even after the twentieth-century bans on nonindigenous walrus hunting--shrinking pack-ice caused by global warming and the exploitation of Arctic oil and gas resources are destroying the animal's habitat. Wonderfully illustrated with images of walruses in the wild and from art and popular culture, Walrus offers a refreshing account of these large-flippered mammals while also illustrating the ethical dilemmas they embody, from the intensifying conflict between the developed world and indigenous interests to the impact of global warming on arctic animals.
Like its wildly popular predecessors Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities and Hoard of Mathematical Treasures, Professor Stewart's brand-new book is a miscellany of over 150 mathematical curios and conundrums, packed with trademark humour and numerous illustrations. In addition to the fascinating formulae and thrilling theorems familiar to Professor Stewart's fans, the Casebook follows the adventures of the not-so-great detective Hemlock Soames and his sidekick Dr John Watsup (immortalised in the phrase 'Watsup, Doc?'). By a remarkable coincidence they live at 222B Baker Street, just across the road from their more illustrious neighbour who, for reasons known only to Dr Watsup, is never mentioned by name. A typical item is 'The Case of the Face-Down Aces', a mathematical magic trick of quite devilish cunning...Ranging from one-liners to four-page investigations from the frontiers of mathematical research, the Casebook reveals Professor Stewart at his challenging and entertaining best.
Numericon tells the stories of the numbers, mathematical discoveries, oddities and personalities that have shaped the way we understand the world around us. Funny, bizarre, tragic and dramatic, these stories reveal the power, passion and beauty of mathematics. Each chapter is an intriguing story about a number, including why 3 is strong, e is natural and Graham's number is too big to write. Packed with quirky, informative facts and bound in a beautiful foil-blocked cover, this book will do for maths what The Etymologicon did for the English language.
From tying your shoes to the fourth dimension, this is the complete guide to exploring the fascinating world of maths you were never told about at school. Stand-up comedian and mathematician Matt Parker uses bizarre Klein Bottles, unimaginably small pizza slices, knots no one can untie and computers built from dominoes to reveal some of the most exotic and fascinating ideas in mathematics. Starting with simple numbers and algebra, this book is soon dealing with inconceivably big numbers in more dimensions than you ever knew existed. And always with something for you to make or do along the way.
Prepare for calculus the smart way, with customizable pre-calculus practice<p>1,001 Pre-Calculus Practice Problems For Dummies offers 1,001 opportunities to gain confidence in your math skills. Much more than a workbook, this study aid provides pre-calculus problems ranked from easy to advanced, with detailed explanations and step-by-step solutions for each one. The companion website gives you free online access to all 1,001 practice problems and solutions, and you can track your progress and ID where you should focus your study time. Accessible on the go by smart phone, tablet, or computer, the online component works in conjunction with the book to polish your skills and confidence in preparation for calculus.<p>Calculus-level math proficiency is required for college STEM majors. Pre-calculus introduces you to the concepts you'll learn in calculus, and provides you with a solid foundation of methods and skills that are essential to calculus success. 1,001 Pre-Calculus Practice Problems For Dummies gives you the practice you need to master the skills and conquer pre-calculus. Companion website includes: * All 1,001 practice problems in multiple choice format * Customizable practice sets for self-directed study * Problems ranked as easy, medium, and hard * Free one-year access to the online question bank<p>Math is notorious for giving students trouble, and calculus is the #1 offender. Fear not! Pre-calculus is the perfect calculus prep, and 1,001 Pre-Calculus Practice Problems For Dummies gives you 1,001 opportunities to get it right.
Many people think that animal liberation would require a fundamental transformation of basic beliefs. We would have to give up speciesism and start viewing animals as our equals, with rights and moral status. And we would have to apply these beliefs in an all-or-nothing way. But in Ethics and the Beast, Tzachi Zamir makes the radical argument that animal liberation doesn't require such radical arguments--and that liberation could be accomplished in a flexible and pragmatic way. By making a case for liberation that is based primarily on common moral intuitions and beliefs, and that therefore could attract wide understanding and support, Zamir attempts to change the terms of the liberation debate. Without defending it, Ethics and the Beast claims that speciesism is fully compatible with liberation. Even if we believe that we should favor humans when there is a pressing human need at stake, Zamir argues, that does not mean that we should allow marginal human interests to trump the life-or-death interests of animals. As minimalist as it sounds, this position generates a robust liberation program, including commitments not to eat animals, subject them to factory farming, or use them in medical research. Zamir also applies his arguments to some questions that tend to be overlooked in the liberation debate, such as whether using animals can be distinguished from exploiting them, whether liberationists should be moral vegetarians or vegans, and whether using animals for therapeutic purposes is morally blameless.
Hans Thewissen, a leading researcher in the field of whale paleontology and anatomy, gives a sweeping first-person account of the discoveries that brought to light the early fossil record of whales. As evidenced in the record, whales evolved from herbivorous forest-dwelling ancestors that resembled tiny deer to carnivorous monsters stalking lakes and rivers and to serpentlike denizens of the coast. Thewissen reports on his discoveries in the wilds of India and Pakistan, weaving a narrative that reveals the day-to-day adventures of fossil collection, enriching it with local flavors from South Asian culture and society. The reader senses the excitement of the digs as well as the rigors faced by scientific researchers, for whom each new insight gives rise to even more questions, and for whom at times the logistics of just staying alive may trump all science. In his search for an understanding of how modern whales live their lives, Thewissen also journeys to Japan and Alaska to study whales and wild dolphins. He finds answers to his questions about fossils by studying the anatomy of otters and porpoises and examining whale embryos under the microscope. In the book's final chapter, Thewissen argues for approaching whale evolution with the most powerful tools we have and for combining all the fields of science in pursuit of knowledge.
Hadrosaurs - also known as duck-billed dinosaurs - are abundant in the fossil record. With their unique complex jaws and teeth perfectly suited to shred and chew plants, they flourished on Earth in remarkable diversity during the Late Cretaceous. So ubiquitous are their remains that we have learned more about dinosaurian paleobiology and paleoecology from hadrosaurs than we have from any other group. In recent years, hadrosaurs have been in the spotlight. Researchers around the world have been studying new specimens and new taxa seeking to expand and clarify our knowledge of these marvelous beasts. This volume presents the results of an international symposium on hadrosaurs, sponsored by the Royal Tyrrell Museum and the Royal Ontario Museum, where scientists and students gathered to share their research and their passion for duck-billed dinosaurs. A uniquely comprehensive treatment of hadrosaurs, the book encompasses not only the well-known hadrosaurids proper, but also Hadrosaouroidea, allowing the former group to be evaluated in a broader perspective. The 36 chapters are divided into six sections - an overview, new insights into hadrosaur origins, hadrosaurid anatomy and variation, biogeography and biostratigraphy, function and growth, and preservation, tracks, and traces - followed by an afterword by Jack Horner.