Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4,000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft, and become a YouTube sensation with his performance of David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' in space. The secret to Chris Hadfield's success - and survival - is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst - and enjoy every moment of it.
In his book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, Chris Hadfield takes readers deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. Through eye-opening, entertaining stories filled with the adrenaline of launch, the mesmerizing wonder of spacewalks and the measured, calm responses mandated by crises, he explains how conventional wisdom can get in the way of achievement - and happiness. His own extraordinary education in space has taught him some counterintuitive lessons: don't visualize success, do care what others think, and always sweat the small stuff.
You might never be able to build a robot, pilot a spacecraft, make a music video or perform basic surgery in zero gravity like Colonel Hadfield. But his vivid and refreshing insights in this book will teach you how to think like an astronaut, and will change, completely, the way you view life on Earth - especially your own.
'The smoke got thicker and darker and then it seemed to be coming from everywhere, swirling around until it blanketed the entire town...'
On 9 February 2014 a fire took hold in Victoria's Hazelwood coal mine next to Morwell and burned for one and a half months. As the air filled with toxic smoke and ash, residents of the Latrobe Valley became ill, afraid - and angry. Up against an unresponsive corporation and an indifferent government, the community banded together, turning tragedy into a political fight. Tom Doig reveals the decades of decisions that led to the fire, and gives an intimate account of the first moments of the blaze and the dark weeks that followed.
The Coal Face is a gripping and immediate report of one of the worst environmental and public health disasters in Australian history.
In To Explain the World, pre-eminent theoretical physicist Steven Weinberg offers a rich and irreverent history of science from a unique perspective - that of a scientist. Moving from ancient Miletus to medieval Baghdad to Oxford, and from the Museum of Alexandria to the Royal Society of London, he shows that the scientists of the past not only did not understand what we understand about the world - they did not understand what there is to understand. Yet eventually, through the struggle to solve such mysteries as the backward movement of the planets and the rise and fall of tides, the modern discipline of science emerged.
Nineteenth-century writer and journalist Louisa Atkinson was a remarkable woman. She was the author, at the age of 23, of the first novel penned by a native-born woman to be published in Australia. She was also a keen naturalist, whose close observations and detailed knowledge of the natural world found expression in the articles she wrote for Sydney newspapers. Yet Louisa Atkinson also created many artworks of the flora and fauna around her home in the Blue Mountains, most of which went unpublished during her lifetime. Presented in the style of a sketchbook, and organised by season, Louisa Atkinson's Nature Notes teams Louisa's beautiful drawings and paintings of Australian plants, animals and birds with short extracts from her nature writings. The book includes an essay about Louisa Atkinson's life and milieu by nature and science writer Penny Olsen.
Almost, but not quite human, the yeti and its counterparts from wild regions of the world, still exert a powerful atavistic influence on us. Is the yeti just a phantasm of our imagination, or is it a real creature? A survivor from our own savage ancestry? This is the mystery that Bryan Sykes set out to unlock.
Three hair samples from the remote Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan are the cause of the investigation. The hair samples were from the miogi, the Bhutanese yeti, that legendary creature of the high snows that has haunted the imagination of travellers for centuries. Professor Sykes was asked to identify the hairs using DNA analysis. The miogi hairs did not surrender their secrets easily, but eventually two were identified as known species of bear. The third remained a mystery.
Ten years later two scientific developments caused the migoi to enter Professor Sykes' thoughts again. The first, a purely technical improvement, meant that it was now possible to get a very good DNA signal from a single hair. The second development came from the surprising conclusion of an article published in 2010. This paper contained the details of the DNA sequence from another human species, Homo neanderthalensis, the Neanderthals, widely thought to be extinct. One of the many theories to account for the yeti legend is that there were small groups of Neanderthals that had managed to survive until recent times, or maybe even until the present day. If so, would it be possible to detect recent interbreeding between our own species and Neanderthals in the genomes of indigenous people living in remote regions. Locations where the yeti legends are strongest and the sightings most numerous?
Professor Sykes set a goal to locate and analyse as many hair samples as possible, with links the yeti. In doing so Professor Sykes found himself entering a strange world of mystery and sensationalism, fraud and obsession and even the supernatural. Protected by the ruthless vigour of genetic analysis he was able to listen to the stories of the yeti without having to form an opinion. The only opinion that mattered was the DNA. Two years on the project is almost complete, and there have been some surprising and significant discoveries. The yeti remains an enigma. There is something out there. But what?
There's more to being human than you think. In this groundbreaking book Alanna Collen explores the extraordinary world of the powerful microbes that make up 90% of the human body.
You are just 10% human. For every one of the cells that make your body, there are nine impostor cells. You are not just flesh and blood, muscle and bone, brain and skin, but bacteria and fungi. You are not an individual, but a colony of microbes. Far from being passive, the trillions of microbes that live on and in you are intimately involved in running your body. Even aspects that you think of entirely as 'you' turn out to be run by 'them' - like your immune system.
In this riveting, shocking and beautifully-written book Alanna Collen explores the modern epidemics of 'Western' diseases - obesity, autism, mental health problems, gut disorders, allergies, auto-immunity, and even cancer - and argues that most have their root in our failure to cherish our most fundamental and enduring relationship: that with our personal colony of microbes. Antibiotics, antibacterial cleaners, rapidly changing diets and our obsession with hygiene alter the microbe community we carry.
Unlike our human cells, though, we can change our microbes for the better. '10% Human' provides a revelatory guide to the role of your body's microbes in health and happiness. This is popular science at its most relevant: life - and your body - will never seem the same again.
Why can't we tickle ourselves? Why do footballers who hug score more goals? Why does holding a hot coffee make us feel more positively about people?
Touch is the sense that make us human. It defines our experiences, shapes our sense of self, and bonds us together.
This riveting book from acclaimed neuroscientist David J. Linden is full of revelations about the biology and psychology of touch. It will make you see the world differently - and feel the world differently, too.
In Our Mathematical Universe, Max Tegmark, one of the most original physicists at work today, leads us on an astonishing journey to explore the mysteries uncovered by cosmology and to discover the nature of reality. Part-history of the cosmos, part-intellectual adventure, Our Mathematical Universe travels from the Big Bang to the distant future via parallel worlds, across every possible scale - from the sub-atomic to the intergalactic - showing how mathematics provides the answers to our questions about the world.
Where do we come from? What makes the universe the way it is? In essence, why are we here? With dazzling clarity, Max Tegmark ponders these deep mysteries and allows us to grasp the most cutting-edge and mind-boggling theories of physics. What he proposes is an elegant and fascinating idea: that our physical world not only is described by mathematics, but that it is mathematics. Our Mathematical Universe is nothing if not impressive.
All the winning and shortlisted images from the 2014 Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, which is organized by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich. The images are submitted in one of the following categories: * Earth and Space * Our Solar System * Deep Space * Young Astronomy Photographer of the Year And can also be entered for one of the special prizes: * Best Newcomer * People and Space * Robotic Scope Each image is accompanied by caption, photographer, location and technical details. Exhibition Every year the Royal Observatory, Greenwich hosts a free exhibition of the winners of the Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition, showcasing some incredible images of the sky.
Newly available in paperback, Dan Fagin's Pulitzer Prize-winning tale of a small town ravaged by industrial pollution is environmental reporting at its best. The true story of a small town ravaged by industrial pollution, Toms River won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction and has been hailed by The New York Times as a new classic of science reporting. Now available in paperback with a new afterword by acclaimed author Dan Fagin, the book masterfully blends hard-hitting investigative journalism, scientific discovery, and unforgettable characters. Rooted in a centuries-old scientific quest, Toms River is an epic of dumpers at midnight and deceptions in broad daylight, of corporate avarice and government neglect, and of a few brave individuals who refused to keep silent until the truth was exposed.
Native temperate grasslands are Australia's most threatened ecosystems. Grasslands have been eliminated from across much of their former extent and continue to be threatened by urban expansion, agricultural intensification, weed invasion and the uncertain impacts of climate change. Research, however, is showing us new ways to manage grasslands, and techniques for restoration are advancing. The importance of ongoing stewardship also means it is vital to develop new strategies to encourage a broader cross-section of society to understand and appreciate native grasslands and their ecology.
Land of Sweeping Plains synthesises the scientific literature in a readily accessible manner and includes a wealth of practical experience held by policy makers, farmers, community activists and on-ground grassland managers. It aims to provide all involved in grassland management and restoration with the technical information necessary to conserve and enhance native grasslands.
For readers without the responsibility of management, such as students and those interested in biodiversity conservation, it provides a detailed understanding of native grassland ecology, management challenges and solutions and, importantly, inspiration to engage with this critically endangered ecosystem.
Practical, easy to read and richly illustrated, this book brings together the grassland knowledge of experts in ethnobotany, ecology, monitoring, planning, environmental psychology, community engagement, flora and fauna management, environmental restoration, agronomy, landscape architecture and urban design.
How would you go about rebuilding a technological society from scratch? If our technological society collapsed tomorrow, perhaps from a viral pandemic or catastrophic asteroid impact, what would be the one book you would want to press into the hands of the postapocalyptic survivors? What crucial knowledge would they need to survive in the immediate aftermath and to rebuild civilization as quickly as possible - a guide for rebooting the world?
Human knowledge is collective, distributed across the population. It has built on itself for centuries, becoming vast and increasingly specialized. Most of us are ignorant about the fundamental principles of the civilization that supports us, happily utilizing the latest - or even the most basic - technology without having the slightest idea of why it works or how it came to be. If you had to go back to absolute basics, like some sort of postcataclysmic Robinson Crusoe, would you know how to re-create an internal combustion engine, put together a microscope, get metals out of rock, accurately tell time, weave fibers into clothing, or even how to produce food for yourself?
Regarded as one of the brightest young scientists of his generation, Lewis Dartnell proposes that the key to preserving civilization in an apocalyptic scenario is to provide a quickstart guide, adapted to cataclysmic circumstances.
The Knowledge describes many of the modern technologies we employ, but first it explains the fundamentals upon which they are built. Every piece of technology rests on an enormous support network of other technologies, all interlinked and mutually dependent. You can't hope to build a radio, for example, without understanding how to acquire the raw materials it requires, as well as generate the electricity needed to run it. But Dartnell doesn't just provide specific information for starting over; he also reveals the greatest invention of them all - the phenomenal knowledge-generating machine that is the scientific method itself. This would allow survivors to learn technological advances not explicitly explored in The Knowledge as well as things we have yet to discover.
The Knowledge is a brilliantly original guide to the fundamentals of science and how it built our modern world as well as a thought experiment about the very idea of scientific knowledge itself.
Get ready for a shocking account of one of the world's most notable inventors...Nikola Tesla was one of the greatest electrical inventors who ever lived. Though for years the Serbian-born engineering genius was relegated to relative obscurity (his contributions concealed by a number of nineteenth-century inventors and industrialists who took credit for his work or stole his patents outright), the historical record has been corrected. In fact, esteem for Tesla and his inventions now surpass many of the historical luminaries like Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and more. A majority of existing literature repeats the familiar account of Tesla's life, including his invention of alternating current power, his falling out with Edison, how he lost billions in patent royalties to Westinghouse, and his fight to prove that Marconi stole 13 of his patents while inventing the radio. But newly uncovered information is proving that this popular account of Nikola Tesla's life is itself very flawed. In The Truth About Tesla, Christopher Cooper sets out to prove that the conventional story not only oversimplifies history, it denies credit to some of the true inventors behind many of the groundbreaking technologies now attributed to Tesla. The Truth About Tesla is one of the first books to set the record straight, tracing the origin of Tesla's genius to scientists and ideas that far predated him.
Between 1608 and 1610 the canopy of the night sky changed forever, ripped open by an object created almost by accident: a cylinder with lenses at both ends. Galileo's Telescope tells the story of how an ingenious optical device evolved from a toy-like curiosity into a precision scientific instrument, all in a few years. In transcending the limits of human vision, the telescope transformed humanity's view of itself and knowledge of the cosmos.
Galileo plays a leading but by no means solo part in this riveting tale. He shares the stage with mathematicians, astronomers, and theologians from Paolo Sarpi to Johannes Kepler and Cardinal Bellarmine, sovereigns such as Rudolph II and James I, as well as craftsmen, courtiers, poets, and painters. Starting in the Netherlands, where a spectacle-maker created a spyglass with the modest magnifying power of three, the telescope spread like technological wildfire to Venice, Rome, Prague, Paris, London, and ultimately India and China. Galileo's celestial discoveries hundreds of stars previously invisible to the naked eye, lunar mountains, and moons orbiting Jupiter were announced to the world in his revolutionary treatise Sidereus Nuncius.
Combining science, politics, religion, and the arts, Galileo's Telescope rewrites the early history of a world-shattering innovation whose visual power ultimately came to embody meanings far beyond the science of the stars.
Everything we think, do, and refrain from doing is determined by our brain. It shapes our potential, our limitations, and our characters. In other words, we don't just have brains; we are our brains. This forceful conclusion is at the heart of pre-eminent brain researcher DF Swaab's international bestseller. It reveals how nearly everything about us - from our sexual orientation to our religious proclivities - is present in our neuronal circuits before we are even born. In short, engaging chapters that combine fascinating and often bizarre case studies and historical examples, Swaab explains what is going on in our brains at every stage of life, from the womb to the radical changes that take place during adolescence to what happens when we fall in love or get Alzheimer's. Provocative, opinionated and utterly convincing, We Are Our Brains illuminates this complex organ's role in shaping every aspect of human existence.
Formed of dramatic volcanic scenery and home to marvellous beasts, it is little wonder that the first name for the Galapagos archipelago was Las Encantadas: the enchanted islands. In this captivating natural history, Henry Nicholls builds up the ecology of these famous islands, from their explosive origins to the arrival of the archipelago's celebrated reptiles and ultimately humans. It's a story of change, as the islands are transformed from lava-strewn wilderness into a vital scientific resource and a sought-after destination for eco-enthusiasts. Charles Darwin's five-week visit to the Galapagos in 1835 played a pivotal role in this transformation. At the time, he was more interested in rocks than finches, took the opportunity to ride on the backs of tortoises and fling iguanas into the sea. Yet the Galapagos experience can be an inspiration and it certainly was for Darwin, pointing him towards one of the most important and influential ideas in the history of humankind: evolution by natural selection. And with the Darwin connection, the Galapagos found itself propelled onto a global stage. But worldwide fame has brought with it nearly 200,000 tourists a year and a human population now estimated at around 30,000. If Darwin learned from the Galapagos, so we must too. For what happens here in years to come foreshadows the fate of threatened ecosystems everywhere on earth.
Science tells us that life elsewhere in the Universe is increasingly likely to be discovered. But in fact the Earth may be a very unusual planet - perhaps the only one like it in the entire visible Universe. In Lucky Planet David Waltham asks why, and comes up with some surprising and unconventional answers. Recent geological, biological, and astronomical discoveries are bringing us closer to understanding whether we might be alone in the Universe, and this book uses these to question the conventional wisdom and suggest, instead, that the Earth may have had 'four billion years of good weather' purely by chance. If Earth-like worlds don't have natural stabilising mechanisms, then intelligent observers such as ourselves will only ever look out onto those rare planets where, like the Earth, all the bad things that could have happened to the climate have fortunately cancelled each other out. So before you prepare to meet the aliens, consider that we are probably alone ...
In his previous bestsellers, Masson has showed us that animals can teach us much about our own emotions-love (dogs), contentment (cats), and grief (elephants), among others. In Beasts, he demonstrates that the violence we perceive in the wild is a matter of projection. Animals predators kill to survive, but animal aggression is not even remotely equivalent to the violence of mankind. Humans are the most violent animals to our own kind in existence. We lack what all other animals have: a check on the aggression that would destroy the species rather than serve it. In Beasts, Masson brings to life the richness of the animal world and strips away our misconceptions of the creatures we fear, offering a powerful and compelling look at our uniquely human propensity toward aggression.
What does science say about race? In this book a distinguished research geneticist presents abundant evidence showing that traditional notions about distinct racial differences have little scientific foundation. In short, racism is not just morally wrong; it has no basis in fact. The author lucidly describes in detail the factors that have led to the current scientific consensus about race. Both geneticists and anthropologists now generally agree that the human species originated in sub-Saharan Africa and darkly pigmented skin was the ancestral state of humanity. Moreover, worldwide human diversity is so complex that discrete races cannot be genetically defined. And for individuals, ancestry is more scientifically meaningful than race. Separate chapters are devoted to controversial topics: skin color and the scientific reasons for the differences; why ancestry is more important to individual health than race; intelligence and human diversity; and evolutionary perspectives on the persistence of racism. This is an enlightening book that goes a long way toward dispelling the irrational notions at the heart of racism.
From the author of the acclaimed The Epigenetics Revolution ('A book that would have had Darwin swooning' - Guardian) comes another thrilling exploration of the cutting edge of human science. For decades after the structure of DNA was identified, scientists focused purely on genes, the regions of the genome that contain codes for the production of proteins. Other regions - 98% of the human genome - were dismissed as 'junk'. But in recent years researchers have discovered that variations in this 'junk' DNA underlie many previously intractable diseases, and they can now generate new approaches to tackling them. Nessa Carey explores, for the first time for a general audience, the incredible story behind a controversy that has generated unusually vituperative public exchanges between scientists. She shows how junk DNA plays an important role in areas as diverse as genetic diseases, viral infections, sex determination in mammals, human biological complexity, disease treatments, even evolution itself - and reveals how we are only now truly unlocking its secrets, more than half a century after Crick and Watson won their Nobel prize for the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1962.
Biophilia means love of nature. The word was invented by evolutionary biologist E. O. Wilson, who believes that biophilia is a deep human instinct. Christopher Marley is a biophiliac, and his art expresses his passionate engagement with the beautiful forms of nature. Beginning with insects, and moving on to aquatic life, reptiles, birds, plants, and minerals, Marley has used his skills as a designer, conservator, taxidermist, and environmentally responsible collector to make images that produce strong, positive emotional responses in viewers. Marley has a brilliant eye for colour and pattern in animals, plants, and minerals, and he captures deep relationships between different natural objects. Marley's book will have strong appeal not only to nature lovers, but to designers, artists, craftspeople, and anyone looking for visual inspiration in the arts.
Beloved as the herald of spring, cuckoos have held a place in our affections for centuries. The oldest song in English celebrates the cuckoo's arrival, telling us that 'Sumer is icumen in'. But for many other birds the cuckoo is a signal of doom, for it is Nature's most notorious cheat. Cuckoos across the world have evolved extraordinary tricks to manipulate other species into raising their young. How do they get away with it? In this enormously engaging book, naturalist and scientist Nick Davies reveals how cuckoos trick their hosts. Using shrewd detective skills and field experiments, he uncovers an evolutionary arms race, in which hosts evolve better defences against cuckoos and cuckoos, in turn, evolve novel forms of trickery. This is a fascinating corner of Darwin's 'entangled bank', where creatures are continually evolving to keep up with changes in their rivals. Lively field drawings by James McCallum, and remarkable photographs, show cuckoos in action: from the female cuckoo laying her beautifully disguised egg, to the cuckoo chick ejecting the host's eggs and young from the nest to ensure it gets the full attention of its foster parents. Cuckoo offers a new insight not only into the secret lives of these extraordinary birds, but also into how cheating evolves and thrives in the natural world.
Taxonomy of Australian Mammals utilises the latest morphometric and genetic research to develop the most up to date and comprehensive revision of the taxonomy of Australian mammals undertaken to date. It proposes significant changes to the higher ranks of a number of groups and recognises several genera and species that have only very recently been identified as distinct. This easy to use reference also includes a complete listing of all species, subspecies and synonyms for all of Australia's mammals, both native and introduced as well as terrestrial and marine. This book lays a foundation for future taxonomic work and identifies areas where taxonomic studies should be targeted, not only at the species and subspecies level but also broader phylogenetic relationships. This work will be an essential reference for students, scientists, wildlife managers and those interested in the science of taxonomy.
Mathematics often gets a bad press. Describing someone as 'calculating' or 'rational' is hardly as flattering as being labelled 'artistic' or 'creative' and mathematicians in movies or novels are often portrayed as social misfits who rarely get the guy or girl. No wonder some folks say 'oh I don't care for mathematics, I was never any good at it' with a wistful sense of pride. Yet professional mathematicians talk of the subject differently. They look for elegant solutions to problems, revel in playing around with mathematical ideas and talk of the creative nature of mathematics. As the Russian mathematician Sophia Kovalevskaya said It is impossible to be a mathematician without being a poet in soul. So why is there such a gap between the views of everyday folks and professional mathematicians? Part of the problem lies in how most of us were taught mathematics in school. The mathematics served up there is presented as a series of de-contextualised, abstract ideas, wrested from the human struggles and interactions that gave birth to the ideas. Through looking at some of the history of mathematics, psychological studies into how we come to know mathematics and key ideas in mathematics itself, the intent of this book is, if not to make the reader fall in love with mathematics, then at least to come to understand its nature a little better, and perhaps care a little more for it. In short, this book explores the human side of maths.
A lavishly illustrated book covering the butterflies of the world, with informative text written by an expert author who has spent many years watching and studying lepidoptera around the world. Opening chapters cover the evolution, anatomy, lifecycle, ecology and taxonomy of the world's butterflies.
The bulk of the book comprises chapters offering comprehensive coverage of each of the world's butterfly families, from the spectacular swallowtails, apollos, morphos and birdwings through to the cryptic browns, whites, skippers and hairstreaks.
The pages are illustrated with hundreds of stunning color photographs showing more than 350 images taken, mainly by the author, from locations around the world.
A Field Guide to Reptiles of Queensland covers all of Queensland's 440 named species, including 135 that occur nowhere else. Colour photographs make for quick identification, aided by line drawings, keys, distribution maps and descriptions.
A highly illustrated volume depicting all thirty native species of pigeons and doves to be found in Australia. Because of an almost universal familiarity with the Feral Pigeon, a domesticated form of the Rock Dove and possibly the most successful urban bird, pigeons and doves in the Order Columbiformes are one of the most easily recognised groups of birds. They are an ancient and very successful group with an almost worldwide distribution, being absent only from highest latitudes and highest altitudes, but are most strongly represented in tropical and subtropical regions, including Australia. In most species simple plumage patterns feature mainly grey and brown with black, white or dull reddish markings, but the highly colourful fruit-doves include some of the most beautiful of all birds.