From Cnut to D-Day: the history and science of the unceasing tide explored for the first time. Half of the world's population lives in coastal regions lapped by tidal waters. Yet how little most of us know about the tide. Our ability to predict and understand the tide depends on centuries of science, from the observations of Aristotle and the theories of Newton to today's supercomputer calculations. This story is punctuated here by notable tidal episodes in history, from Caesar's thwarted invasion of Britain to the catastrophic flooding of Venice, and interwoven with a rich folklore that continues to inspire art and literature today. With Aldersey-Williams as our guide to the most feared and celebrated tidal features on the planet, from the original maelstrom in Scandinavia to the world's highest tides in Nova Scotia to the crumbling coast of East Anglia, the importance of the tide, and the way it has shaped - and will continue to shape - our civilization, becomes startlingly clear.
From the Big Bang to the future of our planet, The Little Book of Big History divides history into manageable but comprehensive time frames, encompassing the cosmos, the stars, life and everything in between. Big History is the attempt to understand and condense the entire story of the cosmos, from the Big Bang to the current day. Combining methods from history, astronomy, physics and biology to draw together the big story arcs of how the universe was created, why planets formed and how life developed, this creates a unique perspective from which to understand the place of mankind in the universe. Excited by the alternative 'framework for all knowledge' that is offered by this approach, Bill Gates is funding the Big History Project, which aims to bring the subject to a wider audience around the world. The Little Book of Big History breaks down the main themes of Big History into highly informative and accessible parts for all readers to enjoy. By giving a truly complete timeline of world events, this book shines a whole different light on history as we learned it and makes us think of our history - and our future - in a very different way.
A sweeping exploration of man's relationship with machines, and the inventions and myths that shape our world. As lives offline and online merge even more, it is easy to forget how we got here. Rise of the Machines reclaims the spectacular story of cybernetics, a control theory of manand-machine and one of the twentieth century's pivotal ideas. Springing from the febrile mind of mathematician Norbert Wiener amid the devastation of World War II, the cybernetic vision underpinned a host of seductive myths of cyborgs, cyberculture, and cyberspace. Wiener's scheme slowly transformed computers from machines of assured destruction to engines of brilliant utopias. Cybernetics, in turn, triggered blissful cults and martial gizmos, The Whole Earth Catalog, and the U.S. Air Force's foray into virtual space. It continues to fuel anarchists and cyberwarriors today. Drawing on unpublished sources including interviews with hippies, anarchists, sleuths, and spies, Rise of the Machines offers an unparalleled perspective into our anxious embrace of technology.
This sampler of entertaining mathematical diversions reveals the elegance and extraordinary usefulness of mathematics for readers who think they have no aptitude for the subject. If you like any kind of game at all, you ll enjoy the amazing mathematical puzzles and patterns presented here in straightforward terms that any layperson can understand. From magic squares and the mysterious qualities of prime numbers to Pythagorean triples, probability theory, the Fibonacci sequence, and more, the author shows that math can be fun while having some profound implications. Such ubiquitous mathematical entities as pi and the Fibonacci numbers are found throughout the natural world and are also the foundation of our technological civilization. By exploring the intriguing games presented here, you ll come away with a greater appreciation for the beauty and importance of these and many more math concepts. This is the perfect book for people who were turned off by math in school but now as adults wonder what they may have missed.
Everything you need to know about modern physics, the universe and our place in the world in seven enlightening lessons 'Here, on the edge of what we know, in contact with the ocean of the unknown, shines the mystery and the beauty of the world. And it's breathtaking' These seven short lessons guide us, with simplicity and clarity, through the scientific revolution that shook physics in the twentieth century and still continues to shake us today. In this mind-bending introduction to modern physics, Carlo Rovelli explains Einstein's theory of general relativity, quantum mechanics, black holes, the complex architecture of the universe, elementary particles, gravity, and the nature of the mind. Not since Richard Feynman's celebrated Six Easy Pieces has physics been so vividly, intelligently and entertainingly revealed.
A comprehensive outline of how temperate Australian native plants have been used for food, fibre, medicine and everyday convenience. This field guide includes illustrations and descriptions to help identify useful native plants.
Beloved American hero Buzz Aldrin reflects on the wisdom, guiding principles, and irreverent anecdotes he's gathered through his event-filled life - both in outer space and on earth. No Dream Is Too High whittles down Buzz Aldrin's event-filled life into a short list of principles he values, each illustrated by fascinating anecdotes and memories, such as: Second comes right after first. NASA protocol should have meant he was first on the moon, but rules changed just before the mission. How he learned to be proud of being the second man on the moon. Look for opportunities, not obstacles. Buzz was rejected the first time he applied to be an astronaut. Failure is an opportunity to learn to do better. Always maintain your spirit of adventure. For his 80th birthday, Buzz went diving in the Galapagos and hitched a ride on a whale shark. He stays fit, energetic, and fascinated with life.
Four centuries ago, Galileo first turned a telescope to look up at the night sky. His discoveries opened the cosmos, revealing the geometry and dynamics of the solar system. Today's telescopic equipment, stretching over the whole spectrum from visible light to radio and millimetre astronomy, through infrared to ultraviolet, X-rays and gamma rays, has again transformed our understanding of the whole Universe. In this book Francis Graham-Smith explains how this technology can be engaged to give us a more in-depth picture of the nature of the universe. Looking at both ground-based telescopes and telescopes on spacecraft, he analyses their major discoveries, from planets and pulsars to cosmology. Large research teams and massive data handling are necessary, but the excitement of discovery is increasingly shared by a growing public, who can even join in some of the analysis by remote computer techniques. Observational astronomy has become international. All major projects are now partnerships; most notably the Square Kilometre Array, which will involve astronomers from over 100 countries and will physically exist in several of them. Covering the history and development of telescopes from Galileo to the present day, Eyes on the Sky traces what happens when humankind looks up.
In 1995 two Swiss astronomers discovered a planet circling a star other than our Sun. This changed our perception of the Universe forever, proving that Earth and the other celestial bodies in our Solar System are not alone in outer space. Now, after two decades of exploration, more than 860 planets have been discovered, many of which are completely unlike anything else we know. Some are blacker than coal; some are bathed in molten lava; others are perpetually scoured by hurricane-force winds; some have not one sun but two that rise in the morning, and others are perpetually drowned in global oceans. But as well as strange, uninhabitable lands, there is familiarity too. Some of these alien worlds are strikingly similar to planets in our Solar System. Astronomers now know of planets just like Jupiter, Neptune, Mars and Mercury orbiting stars similar to our Sun, both nearby and deep into space. Authoritatively written and fully up to date on this fast-moving area of science, The Search for the Earth's Twin will take you on a journey through the cosmos via frozen wastelands, slow-moving globes and fiery volcanic bodies, to planets that can - and just might - sustain complex life. The prospect of discovering the Earth's twin is now tantalisingly close.
From our own solar system to the edges of the universe, 50 Astronomy Ideas You Really Need to Know is your introduction to the most important concepts, discoveries and mysteries in astronomy. How did the universe begin? Where did the Moon come from? What happens in the heart of a black hole? Why are gravitational waves so significant? And is there life elsewhere in the cosmos? In fifty fascinating essays covering the central ideas of astronomy and cosmology, accompanied by diagrams, definitions of essential terms and timelines of key discoveries, this book examines the nature and variety of our universe - the life cycle of stars, the formation of planets, the structure of galaxies and the puzzles of dark matter and the multiverse. Expansive and illuminating, 50 Astronomy Ideas You Really Need to Know is the complete guide to the birth, life and possible death of the cosmos.
By the 1800s, a century of feverish discovery had launched the major branches of science. Physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and astronomy made the natural world explicable through experiment, observation, and categorization. And yet one scientific field remained in its infancy. Despite millennia of observation, mankind still had no understanding of the forces behind the weather. A century after the death of Newton, the laws that governed the heavens were entirely unknown, and weather forecasting was the stuff of folklore and superstition.Peter Moore's The Weather Experiment is the account of a group of naturalists, engineers, and artists who conquered the elements. It describes their travels and experiments, their breakthroughs and bankruptcies, with picaresque vigor. It takes readers from Irish bogs to a thunderstorm in Guanabara Bay to the basket of a hydrogen balloon 8,500 feet over Paris. And it captures the particular bent of mind - combining the Romantic love of Nature and the Enlightenment love of Reason - that allowed humanity to finally decipher the skies.
The vast expanses of ocean that cover about 70% of our planet have been negatively affected by fishing, pollution and, increasingly, by climate change. To mitigate these effects and safeguard the delicate ecological and environmental functions of oceans and their remarkable biodiversity, international agreements have led to the ongoing creation of marine protected areas around the world. In some of these areas, human activity is prohibited and in others it is managed in a sustainable way. Australia is at the forefront of marine conservation, with one of the largest systems of marine protected areas in the world. Big, Bold and Blue: Lessons from Australia's Marine Protected Areas captures much of Australia's experience, sharing important lessons from the Great Barrier Reef and many other extraordinary marine protected areas. It presents real-world examples, leading academic research, perspectives on government policy, and information from Indigenous sea country management, non-governmental organisations, and commercial and recreational fishing sectors. The lessons learnt during the rapid expansion of Australia's marine protected areas, both positive and negative, will aid and advise other nations in their own marine conservation efforts.
Tracing the switch from fossil fuels to solar power and looking at the technology, people and trends that will take us there.
How will the world be powered in ten years' time? Not by fossil fuels. Energy experts are all saying the same thing: solar photovoltaics (PV) is our future. Reports from universities, investment banks, international institutions and large investors agree. It's not about whether the switch from fossil fuels to solar power will happen, but when.
Solar panels are being made that will last longer than ever hoped; investors are seeing the benefits of the long-term rewards provided by investing in solar; in the Middle East, a contractor can now offer solar-powered electricity far cheaper than that of a coal-fired power station. This book tracks the transition away from coal, oil and gas to a world in which the limitless energy of the sun provides much of the energy the 10 billion people of this planet will need. It examines both the solar future and how we will get there, and the ways in which we will provide stored power when the sun isn't shining.
We learn about artificial photosynthesis from a start-up in the US that is making petrol from just CO2 and sunlight; ideas on energy storage are drawn from a company in Germany that makes batteries for homes; in the UK, a small company in Swindon has the story of wind turbines; and in Switzerland, a developer shows how we can use hydrogen to make 'renewable' natural gas for heating.
Told through the stories of entrepreneurs, inventors and scientists from around the world, and using the latest research and studies, The Switch provides a positive solution to the climate change crisis, and looks to a brighter future ahead.
The second and final part of Richard Dawkins' memoirs.
In An Appetite for Wonder Richard Dawkins brought us his engaging memoir of the first 35 years of his life from early childhood in Africa to publication of The Selfish Gene in 1976, when he shot to fame as one of the most exciting new scientists of his generation. In Brief Candle in the Dark he continues his autobiography, following the threads that have run through the second half of his life so far and homing in on the key individuals, institutions and ideas that inspired and motivated him.
He paints a vivid picture, coloured with wit, anecdote and digression, of the twenty-five postgraduate years he spent teaching at Oxford. He pays affectionate tribute to past colleagues and students, recalling with characteristic wry humour the idiosyncrasies of an establishment steeped in ancient tradition and arcane ritual while also recording his respect for the profound commitment to learning and discovery that lies at its core. He invites us to share the life of a travelling scientist, from fieldwork on the Panama Canal to conferences of stratospheric eminence in exotic locations in the company of some of the most prominent – and some of the most eccentric – of the world's scientific luminaries. And he describes his experiences with his many publishers, television producers, interviewers and partners in debate, not least in the heady period when, after publication of The God Delusion in 2006, he is dubbed the world's most outspoken and controversial atheist.
Most important of all, for the first time he reviews with fresh and stimulating insights the evolving narrative of his ideas about science over the course of his highly distinguished career as thinker, teacher and writer. In Brief Candle in the Dark we are invited to enter with him a constantly stimulating world of discovery and to meet a fascinating cast of exceptional characters described by the talented pen of one of the most exceptional of them all.
A riveting journey into the bizarre world of the Asian arowana or "dragon fish"-the world's most expensive aquarium fish-reveals a surprising history with profound implications for the future of wild animals and human beings alike.
A young man is murdered for his prized pet fish. An Asian tycoon buys a single specimen for $150,000. Meanwhile, a pet detective chases smugglers through the streets of New York. Delving into an outlandish realm of obsession, paranoia, and criminality,The Dragon Behind the Glass tells the story of a fish like none other: a powerful predator dating to the age of the dinosaurs. Treasured as a status symbol believed to bring good luck, the Asian arowana is bred on high-security farms in Southeast Asia and sold by the hundreds of thousands each year. In the United States, however, it's protected by the Endangered Species Act and illegal to bring into the country-though it remains the object of a thriving black market. From the South Bronx to Singapore, journalist Emily Voigt follows the trail of the fish, ultimately embarking on a years-long quest to find the arowana in the wild, venturing deep into some of the last remaining tropical wildernesses on earth.
With a captivating blend of personal reporting, history, and science, The Dragon Behind the Glass traces our modern fascination with aquarium fish back to the era of exploration when intrepid naturalists stood on the cutting edge of modern science, discovering new and wondrous species in jungles all over the world. In an age when freshwater fish now comprise one of the most rapidly vanishing groups of animals on the planet, Voigt unearths a paradoxical truth behind the dragon fish's rise to fame-one that calls into question how we protect the world's rarest species. An elegant exploration of the human conquest of nature,The Dragon Behind the Glass revels in the sheer wonder of life's diversity and lays bare our deepest desire-to hold onto what is wild.
Veteran environmental journalist Fred Pearce used to think of invasive species as evil interlopers spoiling pristine 'natural' ecosystems. Most conservationists would agree. But what if traditional ecology is wrong, and true environmentalists should be applauding the invaders? In The New Wild, Pearce goes on a journey to rediscover what conservation should really be about. He explores ecosystems from Pacific islands to the Australian outback to the Thames estuary, digs into the questionable costs of invader species, and reveals the outdated intellectual sources of our ideas about the balance of nature. Keeping out alien species looks increasingly flawed. The new ecologists looking afresh at how species interact in the wild believe we should celebrate the dynamism of alien species and the novel ecosystems they create. In an era of climate change and widespread ecological damage, we must find ways to help nature regenerate. Embracing the 'new wild' is our best chance.
To many people the idea that 'the body' has its own history might sound faintly ridiculous. The body and its experiences are usually seen as something that we share with people from the past. Like 'human nature', it represents the unchanging in a changing world. Bodies just are...
But the body does have a history. The way that it moves, feels, breathes, and engages with the world has been viewed very differently across times and cultures. For centuries, 'we' were believed to be composed of souls that were part of the body and inseparable from it. Now we exist in our heads, and our bodies have become the vessels for that uncertain and elusive thing we call our 'true selves'. The way we understand the material structure of the body has also changed radically over the centuries. From the bones to the skin, from the senses to the organs of sexual reproduction, every part of the body has an ever-changing history, dependent on time, culture, and place. This Mortal Coil is an exploration of that history.
Peeling away our assumptions about the unchanging nature of the human body, Fay Bound Alberti takes it apart in order to put it back anew, telling the cultural history of our key organs and systems from the inside out, from blood to guts, brains to sex organs. The understanding of the 'modern body' she reveals in the process is far removed from the 'eternal' or timeless object of common assumption. In fact, she argues, its roots go back no further than the sixteenth century at the earliest - and it has only truly existed in its current form since the nineteenth century.
Gonorrhea. Bed bugs. Weeds. Salamanders. People. All are evolving, some surprisingly rapidly, in response to our chemical age. In Unnatural Selection, Emily Monosson shows how our drugs, pesticides, and pollution are exerting intense selection pressure on all manner of species. And we humans might not like the result.
Monosson reveals that the very code of life is more fluid than once imagined. When our powerful chemicals put the pressure on to evolve or die, beneficial traits can sweep rapidly through a population. Species with explosive population growth - the bugs, bacteria, and weeds - tend to thrive, while bigger, slower-to-reproduce creatures, like ourselves, are more likely to succumb.
Monosson explores contemporary evolution in all its guises. She examines the species that we are actively trying to beat back, from agricultural pests to life-threatening bacteria, and those that are collateral damage - creatures struggling to adapt to a polluted world. Monosson also presents cutting-edge science on gene expression, showing how environmental stressors are leaving their mark on plants, animals, and possibly humans for generations to come.
Unnatural Selection is eye-opening and more than a little disquieting. But it also suggests how we might lessen our impact: manage pests without creating super bugs; protect individuals from disease without inviting epidemics; and benefit from technology without threatening the health of our children.
This Borneo wildlife pictorial offers nature lovers, visitors to Borneo and armchair explorers an unparalleled introduction to this mysterious treasure island. Illustrated with more than 350 images, taken by Bjorn Olesen and other wildlife photographers, A Visual Celebration of Borneo's Wildlife is a photographic tribute to the most spectacular wildlife species on the second-largest tropical island on Earth. It displays nature's beauty, revealing many private moments of the astonishing biodiversity of Borneo, where nature runs riot. Based on the latest research, it is filled with captivating little-known facts about the wildlife that modern-day travellers may come across when visiting this enchanting island. It also describes the top 16 wildlife locations in Borneo, with a comprehensive list of recommended reading, websites and blogs provided. All of the authors' royalties will be donated to Fauna and Flora International for nature conservation work in Southeast Asia.
For many of us, mathematics is a subject to be feared-a daunting world of schoolroom numbers and equations. Yet we often wish in everyday life that we could remember all those handy mathematical tools and tips that were once explained to us-Maths Squared provides the bite-sized solution. Everybody knows and understands Pythagoras' theorem and pi, but Maths Squared introduces you to the world of Einstein's relativity theory, Euclidean geometry, and the butterfly effect. Maths Squared is an ideal reintroduction to the mysterious and magical world of numbers. Across 10 chapters and 100 topics, it takes you on a whistlestop tour from the essentials of numbers and arithmetic to the strange outer limits where mathematics and philosophy merge. Along the way, it looks at many of the key problems that have led to mathematical breakthroughs, and some of those which remain unsolved. Using accessible yet authoritative text complimented by new color illustrations, infographics and photographs, Maths Squared is the ideal primer or refresher for those who want to learn more about the fascinating language of numbers and equations that describes the Universe.
This advanced text explores the Penrose transform, a major component of classical twistor theory. Geared toward students of physics and mathematics, the treatment presupposes no familiarity with twistor theory and a minimum of representation theory. Brings to the reader a huge amount of information, well organized and condensed into less than 200 pages. - Mathematical Reviews.
This monograph explores the cohomological theory of manifolds with various sheaves and its application to differential geometry. A self-contained development of the theory constitutes the central part of the book. Topics include categories and functions, sheaves and cohomology, fiber and vector bundles, and cohomology classes and differential forms. 1973 edition.
Schrodinger's Cat, the Higgs boson particle, string theory - concepts we've all heard of, but how far do we really understand them? Physics Squared guides you through these topics and more.
Physics is the oldest and deepest of all the sciences, revealing profound truths about the way in which the Universe operates. It may have taken us many centuries to realise it, but physical principles underpin all of the other sciences and much of modern technology, making an understanding of basic physics invaluable.
Physics Squared takes you on a whistlestop journey - across 10 chapters and 100 topics, it guides you from the laws of motion and the basic mechanics of the everyday world, through hugely important fields such as electricity and nuclear physics, to the quantum physics and relativity theories that describe the Universe.
With accessible yet authoritative text complimented by new colour illustrations, infographics and photos, Physics Squared is the ideal primer or refresher for those who want to learn more about the science that governs our Universe, to gain a better understanding of how the world we live in works.
This wonderfully illustrated book is essentially a photographic guide to the butterflies of the world. It will cover 1,000 species from every corner of the globe, encompassing all key families and species, including the likes of monarchs, birdwings, swordtails, morphos, glasswings, and so on. Species will be arranged by family with six to eight to a spread (and some flagship species will receive a full page), and each stunning image, taken of wild butterflies in their natural surroundings, is accompanied by useful text on ID, interesting features and geographical distribution. 1,000 Butterflies is the perfect accompaniment to the author s first title on Butterflies of the World. Put simply this will be the best book of its kind on the market anywhere in the world. It will be an essential reference for butterfly enthusiasts everywhere, from amateurs right through to academics.
The red kangaroo is at the heart of Australia's ecological identity. It is Australia's largest terrestrial land mammal, the largest extant marsupial, and the only kangaroo truly restricted to Australia's arid interior. Almost nothing was known about the ecology of the red kangaroo when a young Alan Newsome began to study it in 1957. He discovered how droughts affect reproduction, why red kangaroos favour different habitats during droughts from those after rains, and that unprecedented explosions in red kangaroo numbers were caused by changes to the landscape wrought by graziers. Most importantly, he realised the possibilities of enriching western science with Indigenous knowledge, a feat recognised today as one of the greatest achievements of his career. First drafted in 1975 and now revised and prepared for publication by his son, The Red Kangaroo in Central Australia captures Alan's thoughts as a young ecologist working in Central Australia in the 1950s and 1960s. It will inspire a new generation of scientists to explore Australia's vast interior and study the extraordinary adaptations of its endemic mammals. It will also appeal to readers of other classics of Australian natural history, such as Francis Ratcliffe's Flying Fox and Drifting Sand and Harry Frith's The Mallee Fowl, The Bird that Builds an Incubator.
Adored by children and adults alike, Tyrannosaurus is the most famous dinosaur in the world, one that pops up again and again in pop culture, often battling other beasts such as King Kong, Triceratops or velociraptors in Jurassic Park.
But despite the hype, Tyrannosaurus and the other tyrannosaurs are fascinating animals in their own right, and are among the best-studied of all dinosaurs. Tyrannosaurs started small, but over the course of 100 million years evolved into the giant carnivorous bone-crushers that continue to inspire awe in palaeontologists, screenplay writers, sci-fi novelists and the general public alike. Tyrannosaurus itself was truly impressive; it topped six tons, was more than 12m (40 feet) long, and had the largest head and most powerful bite of any land animal in history. The Tyrannosaur Chronicles tracks the rise of these dinosaurs, and presents the latest research into their biology, showing off more than just their impressive statistics - tyrannosaurs had feathers and fought and even ate each other.
This book presents the science behind this research; it tells the story of the group through their anatomy, ecology and behaviour, exploring how they came to be the dominant terrestrial predators of the Mesozoic and, in more recent times, one of the great icons of biology.