Imagine if The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy were a real, practical book about the mysteries of the universe...The Universe In Your Hand takes us on a wonder-filled journey to the surface of our dying Sun, shrinks us to the size of an atom and puts us in the deathly grip of distant Black Holes. Along the way you might come to understand, really understand, the mind-bending science that underpins modern life, from Quantum Mechanics to Einstein's theory of General Relativity. Through brilliant storytelling and humour rather than graphs and equations, internationally renowned astrophysicist Christophe Galfard has written an instant classic that brings the astonishing beauty of the universe to life - and takes us deep into questions about the beginning of time and the future of humanity.
Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is the great lost scientist: more things are named after him than anyone else. There are towns, rivers, mountain ranges, the ocean current that runs along the South American coast, there's a penguin, a giant squid - even the Mare Humboldtianum on the moon.
His colourful adventures read like something out of a Boy's Own story: Humboldt explored deep into the rainforest, climbed the world's highest volcanoes and inspired princes and presidents, scientists and poets alike. Napoleon was jealous of him; Simon Bol var's revolution was fuelled by his ideas; Darwin set sail on the Beagle because of Humboldt; and Jules Verne's Captain Nemo owned all his many books. He simply was, as one contemporary put it, 'the greatest man since the Deluge'.
Taking us on a fantastic voyage in his footsteps - racing across anthrax-infected Russia or mapping tropical rivers alive with crocodiles - Andrea Wulf shows why his life and ideas remain so important today. Humboldt predicted human-induced climate change as early as 1800, and The Invention of Nature traces his ideas as they go on to revolutionize and shape science, conservation, nature writing, politics, art and the theory of evolution. He wanted to know and understand everything and his way of thinking was so far ahead of his time that it's only coming into its own now. Alexander von Humboldt really did invent the way we see nature.
WINNER OF THE 2015 COSTA BIOGRAPHY AWARD.
The Gene is the story of one of the most powerful and dangerous ideas in our history, from bestselling, prize-winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee.
Spanning the globe and several centuries, The Gene is the story of the quest to decipher the master-code that makes and defines humans, that governs our form and function.
The story of the gene begins in an obscure Augustinian abbey in Moravia in 1856 where a monk stumbles on the idea of a ‘unit of heredity'. It intersects with Darwin's theory of evolution, and collides with the horrors of Nazi eugenics in the 1940s. The gene transforms post-war biology. It reorganizes our understanding of sexuality, temperament, choice and free will. This is a story driven by human ingenuity and obsessive minds – from Charles Darwin and Gregor Mendel to Francis Crick, James Watson and Rosalind Franklin, and the thousands of scientists still working to understand the code of codes.
This is an epic, moving history of a scientific idea coming to life, by the author of The Emperor of All Maladies. But woven through The Gene, like a red line, is also an intimate history – the story of Mukherjee's own family and its recurring pattern of mental illness, reminding us that genetics is vitally relevant to everyday lives. These concerns reverberate even more urgently today as we learn to "read" and "write" the human genome – unleashing the potential to change the fates and identities of our children.
Majestic in its ambition, and unflinching in its honesty, The Gene gives us a definitive account of the fundamental unit of heredity – and a vision of both humanity's past and future.
Britain's most famous mathematician takes us to the edge of knowledge to show us what we cannot know. Science is king. Every week, headlines announce new breakthroughs in our understanding of the universe, new technologies that will transform our environment, new medical advances that will extend our lives.
Science is giving us unprecedented insight into some of the big questions that have challenged humanity ever since we've been able to formulate those questions. Where did we come from? What is the ultimate destiny of the universe? What are the building blocks of the physical world? What is consciousness? 'What We Cannot Know' asks us to rein in this unbridled enthusiasm for the power of science. Marcus Du Sautoy explores the limits of human knowledge, to probe whether there is anything we truly cannot know. Are there limits to what we can discover about our physical universe? Are some regions of the future beyond the predictive powers of science and mathematics? Is time before the big bang a no go arena? Are there ideas so complex that they are beyond the conception of our finite human brains?
Can brains even investigate themselves or does the analysis enter an infinite loop from which it is impossible to rescue itself? Are there true statements that can never be proved true? Prepare to be taken to the edge of knowledge to find out what we cannot know.
In 1844, Foy's great-great grandfather, captain of a Norwegian cargo ship, perished at sea after getting lost in a snowstorm. Foy decides to unravel the mystery surrounding Halvor Michelsen's death and the roots of his own obsession with navigation by re-creating his ancestor's trip using only period instruments. Beforehand, he meets a colourful cast of characters to learn whether men really have better directional skills than women, how cells, eels, and spaceships navigate; and how tragedy results from GPS glitches. He interviews a cabby who has memorized every street in London, sails on a Haitian cargo sloop, and visits the site of a secret navigational cult in Greece. At the heart of Foy's story is this fact: navigation and the brain's memory centers are inextricably linked. As Foy unravels the secret behind Halvor's death, he also discovers why forsaking our navigation skills in favor of GPS may lead not only to Alzheimers and other diseases of memory, but to losing a key part of what makes us human.
We are taught that the world is a top-down place. Generals win battles; politicians run countries; scientists discover truths; artists create genres; inventors make breakthroughs; teachers shape minds; philosophers change minds; priests teach morality; businessmen lead businesses; environmentalists save the planet. Not just individuals, but institutions too: Goldman Sachs, the Communist Party, the Catholic Church, Al Qaeda – these are said to shape the world.
This is more often wrong than right. ‘The Evolution of Everything’ is about bottom-up order and its enemy, the top-down twitch, the endless fascination human beings have for design rather than evolution, for direction rather than emergence. Top downery is the source of most of our worst problems in the past – why Hitler won an election, why the sub-prime bubble happened, why Africa lingered in poverty when Asia did not, why the euro is a disaster – and will be the scourge of this century too.
And although we neglect, defy and ignore them, bottom-up trends still shape the world. The growth of technology, the sanitation-driven health revolution, the quadrupling of farm yields so that more land could be released for nature – these were largely emergent phenomena. So was the internet, the mobile phone revolution and the rise of Asia. In this wide-ranging, highly opinionated non-fiction narrative, Ridley draws on anecdotes from science, economics, history, politics and philosophy and examples drawn from the scientific literature, from historical narratives and from personal anecdotes.
From atoms and fluorescent pigments to sulfa drug synthesis and buckyballs, this lush and authoritative chronology presents 250 milestones in the world of chemistry. As the central science that bridges biology and physics, chemistry plays an important role in countless medical and technological advances. Covering entertaining stories and unexpected applications, chemist and journalist Derek B. Lowe traces the most important - and surprising - chemical discoveries.
In 2011 Sy Montgomery wrote a feature for Orion magazine entitled 'Deep Intellect' about her friendship with a sensitive, sweet-natured octopus named Athena and the grief she felt at her death. It went viral, indicating the widespread fascination with these mysterious, almost alien-like creatures. Since then Sy has practised true immersion journalism, from New England aquarium tanks to the reefs of French Polynesia and the Gulf of Mexico, pursuing these wild, solitary shape-shifters. Octopuses have varied personalities and intelligence they show in myriad ways: endless trickery to escape enclosures and get food; jetting water playfully to bounce objects like balls; and evading caretakers by using a scoop net as a trampoline and running around the floor on eight arms. But with a beak like a parrot, venom like a snake, and a tongue covered with teeth, how can such a beingknowanything? And what sort of thoughts could it think? The intelligence of dogs, birds, and chimpanzees was only recently accepted by scientists, who now are establishing the intelligence of the octopus, watching them solve problems and deciphering the meaning of their colour-changing camouflage techniques. Montgomery chronicles this growing appreciation of the octopus, but also tells a love story. By turns funny, entertaining, touching and profound, The Soul of an Octopus reveals what octopuses can teach us about consciousness and the meeting of two very different minds.
A breathtaking and beautiful exploration of our planet. This groundbreaking book, which accompanies the new BBC1 TV series, provides the deepest answers to the simplest questions.
'Why is the sky blue?'
'Why is the Earth round?'
'Why is every snowflake unique?'
To answer these and many other questions, Professor Brian Cox will reveal some of the most extraordinary phenomena and events on Earth and in the Universe and beyond. From the immensity of Earth's globe to all the world's myriad snowflakes, the forces of nature shape everything we see. Pushed to extremes, the results are astonishing.
From the realm of auroras to the heart of our planet, the ingredients that make everything on Earth connect each one of us in an eternal cycle of life. Brian will reveal why Earth is the most colourful world we know, exploring the white light of the sun as it travels through the darkness of space until it hits Earth's atmosphere where it begins a new journey, splitting into a rainbow of colours.
From the great plains of the Serengeti, the volcanoes of Indonesia and the precipitous cliffs in Nepal, to the humpback whales of the Caribbean and the northern lights of the Arctic, Brian will give inspiring answers to our most searching questions that will illuminate our understanding of the planet like never before. Think you know our planet? Think again.
A World From Dust describes how a set of chemical rules combined with the principles of evolution in order to create an environment in which life as we know it could unfold. Beginning with simple mathematics, these predictable rules led to the advent of the planet itself, as well as cells, organs and organelles, ecosystems, and increasingly complex life forms. McFarland provides an accessible discussion of a geological history as well, describing how the inorganic matter on Earth underwent chemical reactions with air and water, allowing for life to emerge from the world's first rocks. He traces the history of life all the way to modern neuroscience, and shows how the bioelectric signals that make up the human brain were formed. Most popular science books on the topic present either the physics of how the universe formed, or the biology of how complex life came about; this book's approach would be novel in that it condenses in an engaging way the chemistry that links the two fields. This book is an accessible and multidisciplinary look at how life on our planet came to be, and how it continues to develop and change even today.
This book provides a tour of the greatest hits of cosmological discoveries-the ideas that reshaped our universe over the past century. The cosmos, once understood as a stagnant place, filled with the ordinary, is now a universe that is expanding at an accelerating pace, propelled by dark energy and structured by dark matter. Priyamvada Natarajan, our guide to these ideas, is someone at the forefront of the research-an astrophysicist who literally creates maps of invisible matter in the universe. She not only explains for a wide audience the science behind these essential ideas but also provides an understanding of how radical scientific theories gain acceptance. The formation and growth of black holes, dark matter halos, the accelerating expansion of the universe, the echo of the big bang, the discovery of exoplanets, and the possibility of other universes-these are some of the puzzling cosmological topics of the early twenty-first century. Natarajan discusses why the acceptance of new ideas about the universe and our place in it has never been linear and always contested even within the scientific community. And she affirms that, shifting and incomplete as science always must be, it offers the best path we have toward making sense of our wondrous, mysterious universe.
In just two-and-a-half years, beginning in 1964, two unmanned and ten manned flights took place in the Gemini program. This program was the turning point in the space race with the USSR; from then on the Americans took the lead. Flights lasting two weeks, into the Van Allen Belt, the first extravehicular activities, rendezvous maneuvers and docking with other spacecraft-all of this was achieved by Gemini, paving the way for the more demanding moon landing program. It was not all success, however. Like almost every significant undertaking, Project Gemini also had its dramas and tragedies. All Project Gemini missions are discussed, including details on all craft and the astronauts involved. Superb color, archival images, cutaways and plans are also included.
The elements and their chemistry, in minutes.
An icon of science, the Periodic Table defines the fundamental chemistry of everything in the universe. In this compact yet comprehensive guide, Dan Green outlines the history, development and workings of the table, shows how its design reflects and illuminates the organisation of all matter, and even explains what it has to tell us about the chemistry of distant stars and of our own bodies.
Contents include an individual entry for every known element - detailing properties, uses and key data - and sections on the patterns and groups of the famous table, as well as explanations of basic chemistry concepts such as elements and compounds, atomic structure, chemical bonds, reactions and radioactivity, amongst many others.
Savannas form one of the largest and most important of the world's ecological zones. Covering one fifth of the Earth's land surface, they are home to some of the world's most iconic animals and form an extremely important global resource for plants and wildlife. However, increasing recognition of their land potential means that they are extremely vulnerable to accelerating pressures on usable land. This Very Short Introduction considers savannas as landscapes. Discussing their origin, topography, and global distribution, Peter A. Furley explores the dynamic nature of savannas and illustrates how they have shaped human evolution and movements. He goes on to discuss the unrelenting pressures that confront conservation and management and considers the future for savannas. 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 world faces an environmental crisis unprecedented in human history. Carbon dioxide levels have reached heights not seen for three million years, and the greatest mass extinction since the time of the dinosaurs appears to be underway. Such far-reaching changes suggest something remarkable: the beginning of a new geological epoch. It has been called the Anthropocene. The Birth of the Anthropocene shows how this epochal transformation puts the deep history of the planet at the heart of contemporary environmental politics. By opening a window onto geological time, the idea of the Anthropocene changes our understanding of present-day environmental destruction and injustice. Linking new developments in earth science to the insights of world historians, Jeremy Davies shows that as the Anthropocene epoch begins, politics and geology have become inextricably entwined.
Emergency services personnel conduct their work in situations that are inherently dangerous. Large incidents such as bushfires, floods and earthquakes often pose hazards that are not fully understood at the time of management, and the situation may be further complicated by the involvement of multiple agencies.
This book presents lessons learnt from managing major incidents at regional and state levels. It is not an academic work. Rather, it is a collection of stories from professionals on the ground and others who subsequently reviewed the events and gained significant knowledge and understanding through that process. Some stories are personal, capturing emotional impact and deep reflection, and others analytical, synthesising the findings of experience and inquests. All the stories relate to managing operational events and capture knowledge that no one person could gain in a single career.
Solar power has taken a journey from what was once considered the lunatic fringe to mainstream society and industry. Looking specifically at the Solex project in Carnarvon, Western Australia, which pioneered the harvest of solar energy, this book offers an introduction to the development of renewable energy and the rise of dispersed, embedded solar energy systems in Australia in the early 2000s. Fullarton shows how a practical demonstration of innovative existing technology can have an incredible impact on a national scale. The ideas behind the Solex project were adopted by the broader community and were eventually taken up enthusiastically by the general population of Australia. Analyzing government and utility policies throughout the 2000s, the book traces how ambivalence was followed by wholehearted incentives to the roll-out of alternative energy and then by active opposition to alternative energy in favor of traditional fossil fuel as government philosophies changed.
With hardly a day without a water-crisis story somewhere, Let There Be Water offers prescriptions on how countries, cities, and businesses can avoid the worst of it. With sixty percent of the country in a desert and despite a rapidly growing population, Israel has been jumping ahead of the water-innovation curve for decades.
Israel's national unity and economic vitality are, in part, the result of a culture and consciousness that understands the central role of water in building a dynamic, thriving society. By boldly thinking about water, Israel has transformed the normally change-averse, water-greedy world of agriculture with innovations like drip irrigation, creation of smart seeds for drought-friendly plants, and careful reuse of highly treated waste-water. Israel has also played a leading role in the emerging desalination revolution.
Beyond securing its own water supply, Israel has also created a high-export industry in water technology, a timely example of how countries can build their economies while making the world better.
Built on meticulous research and hundreds of interviews with both world leaders and experts in the field, Let There Be Water tells the inspiring story of how this all came to be.
The applications of Artificial Intelligence lie all around us; in our homes, schools and offices, in our cinemas, in art galleries and - not least - on the Internet. The results of Artificial Intelligence have been invaluable to biologists, psychologists, and linguists in helping to understand the processes of memory, learning, and language from a fresh angle. As a concept, Artificial Intelligence has fuelled and sharpened the philosophical debates concerning the nature of the mind, intelligence, and the uniqueness of human beings. Margaret A. Boden reviews the philosophical and technological challenges raised by Artificial Intelligence, considering whether programs could ever be really intelligent, creative or even conscious, and shows how the pursuit of Artificial Intelligence has helped us to appreciate how human and animal minds are possible.
In 1915, Albert Einstein unveiled his masterwork - a theory, in his words, 'of incomparable beauty': the General Theory of Relativity. It is sometimes overshadowed - wrongly, argues John Gribbin - by his work of 1905, the Special Theory of Relativity and E = mc^2. Just over 100 years later, the first direct detection of gravitational radiation is seen as the ultimate proof of the General Theory's accuracy. The General Theory describes the evolution of the Universe, black holes, the behaviour of orbiting neutron stars, and why clocks run slower on Earth than in space. It even suggests the possibility of time travel. In this 'beautifully written and highly accessible account of the genesis of a great theory' (Physics World), Gribbin vividly illustrates what an incomparable scientist Albert Einstein really was.
Einstein's Jury is the dramatic story of how astronomers in Germany, England, and America competed to test Einstein's developing theory of relativity. Weaving a rich narrative based on extensive archival research, Jeffrey Crelinsten shows how these early scientific debates shaped cultural attitudes we hold today.
The book examines Einstein's theory of general relativity through the eyes of astronomers, many of whom were not convinced of the legitimacy of Einstein's startling breakthrough. These were individuals with international reputations to uphold and benefactors and shareholders to please, yet few of them understood the new theory coming from the pen of Germany's up-and-coming theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein. Some tried to test his theory early in its development but got no results. Others - through toil and hardship, great expense, and perseverance - concluded that it was wrong.
A tale of international competition and intrigue, Einstein's Jury brims with detail gleaned from Crelinsten's far-reaching inquiry into the history and development of relativity. Crelinsten concludes that the well-known British eclipse expedition of 1919 that made Einstein famous had less to do with the scientific acceptance of his theory than with his burgeoning public fame. It was not until the 1920s, when the center of gravity of astronomy and physics shifted from Europe to America, that the work of prestigious American observatories legitimized Einstein's work. As Crelinsten so expertly shows, the glow that now surrounds the famous scientist had its beginnings in these early debates among professional scientists working in the glare of the public spotlight.
Launched in 1942, the Manhattan Project was a well-funded, secret effort by the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada to develop an atomic bomb before the Nazis. The results - the bombs named "Little Boy" and "Fat Man" - were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945.
A vast state within a state, the Manhattan Project employed 130,000 people and cost the United States and its allies 2 billion dollars, but its contribution to science as a prestigious investment was invaluable. After the bombs were dropped, states began allocating unprecedented funds for scientific research, leading to the establishment of many of twentieth century's major research institutions. Yet the union of science, industry, and the military did not start with the development of the atomic bomb;World War II only deepened the relationship.
This absorbing history revisits the interactions among science, the national interest, and public and private funding that was initiated in World War I and flourished in WWII. It then follows the Manhattan Project from inception to dissolution, describing the primary influences that helped execute the world's first successful plan for nuclear research and tracing the lineages of modern national nuclear agencies back to their source.
In the early years of the 18th century, a band of French scientists set off on a daring, decade-long expedition to South America in a race to measure the precise shape of the earth. Like Lewis and Clark's exploration of the American West, their incredible mission revealed the mysteries of a little-known continent to a world hungry for discovery. Scaling 16,000foot mountains in the Peruvian Andes, and braving jaguars, pumas, insects, and vampire bats in the jungle, the scientists barely completed their mission. One was murdered, another perished from fever, and a third-Jean Godin-nearly died of heartbreak. At the expedition's end, Jean and his Peruvian wife, Isabel Gramesón, became stranded at opposite ends of the Amazon, victims of a tangled web of international politics. Isabel's solo journey to reunite with Jean after their calamitous twenty-year separation was so dramatic that it left all of 18th-century Europe spellbound. Her survival-unprecedented in the annals of Amazon exploration-was a testament to human endurance, female resourcefulness, and the power of devotion.Drawing on the original writings of the French mapmakers, as well as his own experience retracing Isabel's journey, acclaimed writer Robert Whitaker weaves a riveting tale rich in adventure, intrigue, and scientific achievement. Never before told, The Mapmaker's Wife is an epic love story that unfolds against the backdrop of "the greatest expedition the world has ever known."
The Physics of Life illuminates the meaning of evolution in its broadest scientific sense and empowers the reader with a new view of the intertwined movement of all life - evolution is more than biological. The same physical effect is present in all patterns and flows - from life span and population growth, to air traffic, to government expansion, to the urge for better ideas, to sustainability. Evolution is everywhere, and the same elegant principles of physics apply to all things.
Every animal and human wants power. From power comes movement: body movement, internal flow (pumping blood, and air), external flow (locomotion, migration), and the search for safety such as warmth, drinkable water, health, and the construction of highways and steel beams that do not break when we walk or drive on them. The growth and spread of civilisation is the flow of more power to more individuals, for greater movement. And everyone wants more power. That desire to improve, to organise, to join, to convince others, and to affect change is a trait we all share, and the freedom to change is what make all evolution not only possible but mandatory.
A billion-year history of movement, from bacteria to Olympic athletes. 'Packed with revelations, scholarly but clear, Restless Creatures carries you from the kinetics of the amoeba to that of the blue whale, from the swim-cycle of spermatozoa, to why skipping works best on the moon. A pop-science treat.' Gavin Francis, author of Adventures in Human Being Despite the overwhelming diversity of life on earth, one theme has dominated its evolution: the apparently simple act of moving from one place to another. Restless Creatures is the first book for a general audience telling the incredible story of locomotion in human and animal evolution. Evolutionary biologist Matt Wilkinson traces this 4-billion-year history, showing why our ancestors became two-legged, how movement explains why we have opposable thumbs and a backbone, how fish fins became limbs, how even trees are locomotion-obsessed, and how movement has shaped our minds as well as our bodies. He explains why there are no flying monkeys or biological wheels, how dinosaurs took to the air, how Mexican waves were the making of the animal kingdom, and why moving can make us feel good. Restless Creatures opens up an astonishing new perspective - that little in evolution makes sense unless in the light of movement.
You are 10% human. For every one of your cells, there are nine impostors hitching a ride. You are not just flesh and bone, but also bacteria and fungi. And you are more ‘them’ than you are ‘you’.Your gut alone hosts 100 trillion of them and until recently we thought that our microbes didn’t matter. This is all set to change as the latest scientific research tells a very different story, one where microbes run our bodies and becoming healthy is impossible without them.
In this ground-breaking book, biologist Alanna Collen reveals how our personal colony of microbes influence our weight, immune system, mental health and even our choice of partner. This is a new way of understanding modern diseases – obesity, autism, mental health problems, gut disorders, allergies, auto-immunity and even cancer – as she argues they have their root in our failure to cherish our most fundamental and enduring relationship: that with our microbes.
Illuminating many of the questions still unanswered by the human genome project 10% Human completely changes our understanding of diet, modern disease and medicine. The good news is that unlike our human cells, we can change our microbes for the better and this book shows you how. A revelatory and indispensable guide: life – and your body – will never seem the same again.
We all hear voices. Ordinary thinking is often a kind of conversation, filling our heads with speech: the voices of reason, of memory, of self-encouragement and rebuke, the inner dialogue that helps us with tough decisions or complicated problems. For others - voice-hearers, trauma-sufferers and prophets - the voices seem to come from outside: friendly voices, malicious ones, the voice of God or the Devil, the muses of art and literature. In The Voices Within, Royal Society Prize shortlisted psychologist Charles Fernyhough draws on extensive original research and a wealth of cultural touchpoints to reveal the workings of our inner voices, and how those voices link to creativity and development. From Virginia Woolf to the modern Hearing Voices Movement, Fernyhough also transforms our understanding of voice-hearers past and present. Building on the latest theories, including the new 'dialogic thinking' model, and employing state-of-the-art neuroimaging and other ground-breaking research techniques, Fernyhough has written an authoritative and engaging guide to the voices in our heads.
Throughout his life photographer Jim Naughten has been fascinated with the natural world. As a child, he collected fossils he found near his home in Dover. Now a renowned photographer, Naughten has started to experiment with stereography and has turned to his boyhood interest, gaining access to the archives of some of the world's most prestigious natural history museums. This gorgeously produced book contains fifty images of marine life, reptiles, mammals, birds and primates photographed expressly for viewing through a stereoscope, which is included with the book. Stereoscopy was invented in 1839 to study and explain binocular vision. Having two eyes allows humans to determine distance and depth and stereoscopy shows a left- and right-eye view from a slightly different angle, as we see things in day-to-day life. Looking through the stereo viewer, readers will see the specimens as three-dimensional objects. As the images jump off the page, their incredible details become apparent-delicate bat wings, the spiraling skeleton of a python, the almost mythic form of a leafy sea dragon.A foreword by Martin Barnes of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London offers an assessment of the work while essays on the specimens themselves and the history of stereoscopy provide rich background to this photographic technology, and to Naughten's achievement in bringing to life a world that seamlessly melds the past and present.
Deborah Samuel's photographs are meant to inspire and teach. In this book she turns her lens toward the bird and her images are as surprising as they are exquisite. From nest to egg to feather, these images are an exercise in seeing and a showcase of what photography can reveal: the impossibly soft feathers of ospreys; the iridescence of a bird-of-paradise; the curved, needle-like beak of a common scimitarbill; and the psychedelic hues of the aptly named resplendent quetzal. Samuel also photographs the nests and eggs of birds, showing us examples of incredible artistry and simple, natural perfection. Accompanying these images are detailed scientific descriptions of Samuel's subjects, written by Mark Peck, an ornithological expert at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. An index detailing each species-its common and scientific names, size, habitats and breeding practices-makes this more than a photography book, while the extraordinary images transform it into a sourcebook of colours, shapes and designs.
Unlike their gaudy day-flying relations moths are thought to reside in the shadows, denizens of the night, circling around street lights or caught momentarily in the glare of car headlights on a country lane. There are, however, many more species of day-flying moths than there are of butterflies, and as for colours and patterns, many moths rival or even exceed butterflies in the dazzling patterns and colours of their markings. The study of moths formed an integral part of early natural history and many thousands of drawings, paintings and physical specimens remain in museum collections. In recent years there has been a renewed surge of interest in moths facilitated by advances in digital photography, the web-based dissemination of scientific expertise and new projects that enable direct collaboration between amateur experts and scientists. The rich history of vernacular names speaks to a significant place for moths in early cultures of nature: names such as the Merveille du Jour, the Green-brindled Crescent and the Clifden Nonpareil evoke a sense of wonder that connects disparate fields such as folklore, the history of place and early scientific texts.
From the dawn of civilization scorpions have captured the human imagination. Yet the scorpion is a misunderstood animal with a bad reputation that overshadows its many exceptional qualities. Older than dinosaurs, these small arthropods have survived for hundreds of millions of years with very few changes to their form, populating every continent - with the exception of Antarctica. Although humans and scorpions have coexisted for thousands of years, the image of the scorpion retains a sense of danger and mystery. This book explores the diverse cultural symbolism of scorpions, from prehistoric times until today.
Gamblers have been trying to figure out how to game the system since our ancestors first made wagers over dice fashioned from knucklebones: in revolutionary Paris, the 'martingale' strategy was rumoured to lead to foolproof success at the roulette table; now, in the 21st century, professional gamblers are using cutting-edge techniques to tilt the odds further in their favour. At the roulette wheel, card table or racecourse, science is giving us the competitive edge over opponents, casinos and bookmakers. But is there such a thing as a perfect bet? The Perfect Bet looks beyond probability and statistics to examine how wagers have inspired a plethora of new disciplines - spanning chaos theory, behavioural psychology, machine learning and game theory - which are not just revolutionising gambling, but changing our fundamental notions about chance, randomness and luck. Explaining why poker is gaming's last bastion of human superiority over artificial intelligence, how methods originally developed for the US nuclear programme are helping pundits predict sports results and how a new breed of algorithms are managing to lose banks and asset traders millions, The Perfect Bet has the inside track on just about any wager you'd care to place.
Fractal geometry is a uniquely fascinating area of mathematics, exhibited in a range of shapes that exist in the natural world, from a simple broccoli floret to a majestic mountain range. In this essential primer, mathematician Michael Frame-a close collaborator with Benoit Mandelbrot, the founder of fractal geometry-and poet Amelia Urry explore the amazing world of fractals as they appear in nature, art, medicine, and technology. Frame and Urry offer new insights into such familiar topics as measuring fractal complexity by dimension and the life and work of Mandelbrot. In addition, they delve into less-known areas: fractals with memory, the Mandelbrot set in four dimensions, fractals in literature, and more. An inviting introduction to an enthralling subject, this comprehensive volume is ideal for learning and teaching.
We use addition on a daily basis - yet how many of us stop to truly consider the enormous and remarkable ramifications of this mathematical activity? Summing It Up uses addition as a springboard to present a fascinating and accessible look at numbers and number theory, and how we apply beautiful numerical properties to answer math problems. Mathematicians Avner Ash and Robert Gross explore addition's most basic characteristics as well as the addition of squares and other powers before moving onward to infinite series, modular forms, and issues at the forefront of current mathematical research.
Ash and Gross tailor their succinct and engaging investigations for math enthusiasts of all backgrounds. Employing college algebra, the first part of the book examines such questions as, can all positive numbers be written as a sum of four perfect squares? The second section of the book incorporates calculus and examines infinite series - long sums that can only be defined by the concept of limit, as in the example of 1+1/2+1/4+...=? With the help of some group theory and geometry, the third section ties together the first two parts of the book through a discussion of modular forms - the analytic functions on the upper half-plane of the complex numbers that have growth and transformation properties. Ash and Gross show how modular forms are indispensable in modern number theory, for example in the proof of Fermat's Last Theorem.
Appropriate for numbers novices as well as college math majors, Summing It Up delves into mathematics that will enlighten anyone fascinated by numbers.
With this fun romp through the world of equations we encounter in our everyday lives, you'll find yourself flipping through the stories of fifty-two formulas faster than a deck of cards. John M. Henshaw's intriguing true accounts, each inspired by a different mathematical equation, are both succinct and easy to read. His tales come from the spheres of sports, business, history, the arts, science, and technology. Anecdotes about famous equations, like E=mc 2, appear alongside tales of not-so-famous-but equally fascinating-equations, such as the one used to determine the SPF number for sunscreen. Drawn from the breadth of human endeavor, Henshaw's stories demonstrate the power and utility of math. He entertains us by exploring the ways that equations can be used to explain, among other things, Ponzi schemes, the placebo effect, dog years, IQ, the wave mechanics of tsunamis, the troubled modern beekeeping industry, and the Challenger disaster. Smartly conceived and fast paced, his book offers something for anyone curious about math and its impacts.
Physics can explain many of the things that we commonly encounter. It can tell us why the night is dark, what causes the tides, and even how best to catch a baseball. With In Praise of Simple Physics, popular math and science writer Paul Nahin presents a plethora of situations that explore the science and math behind the wonders of everyday life. Roaming through a diverse range of puzzles, he illustrates how physics shows us ways to wring more energy from renewable sources, to measure the gravity in our car garages, to figure out which of three light switches in the basement controls the light bulb in the attic, and much, much more. How fast can you travel from London to Paris? How do scientists calculate the energy of an atomic bomb explosion? How do you kick a football so it stays in the air and goes a long way downfield? Nahin begins with simpler problems and progresses to more challenging questions, and his entertaining, accessible, and scientifically and mathematically informed explanations are all punctuated by his trademark humor. Readers are presumed to have some background in beginning differential and integral calculus. Whether you simply have a personal interest in physics' influence in the world or you're an engineering and science student who wants to gain more physics know-how, this book has an intriguing scenario for you. In Praise of Simple Physics proves that if we look carefully at the world around us, physics has answers for the most astonishing day-to-day occurrences.
This is the inside story of one of the world's largest particle detectors. Two years ago, the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva began investigating the most powerful particle collisions physicists have ever created. Its discoveries include evidence of a new particle that many think is the famous and long-sought Higgs boson. This book tells the story of one of the world's largest particle detectors, from its inception in the late 1980s to its construction in the 2000s and its first years of operation in the 2010s. You can find out why a machine designed to find tiny subatomic particles exceeds the height of the tallest dinosaurs, why the ATLAS detector throws away 99.998 per cent of the data it finds in the blink of an eye - and why its search for discoveries that will change the way we think about the universe has only just begun.
Seahorses are extraordinary creatures. They swim upright and spend days in dancing courtship. They are small, shy and have heads shaped like miniature ponies. And the male carries the female's eggs in his pouch and 'births' the young. Found worldwide, they are sensitive to environmental disruption and are an obvious flagship group for conservation. Seahorses unveils every species, including the seadragons and pipefish that share the Syngnathidae family. Each of the 47 entries incorporates a photograph and description, so you can admire their beauty as you learn about their ecological importance.
A compact, easy-to-use bird identification guide for any nature watcher on a visit to China, one of the world's top destinations for watching birds. A total of 252 species is described here in detail, from the magestic Black-crowned Night Heron to the striking Large Niltava. All of these birds are clearly illustrated in a collection of specially commissioned colour photographs. With almost 300 full-colour photographs, easy-to-use thumbnail family silhouettes, a regional distribution map and handy tips on the best birding localities. Illustrated with clear colour photography and brief but authoritative descriptions the Pocket Photo Guides highlight the species of birds and animals from each region that the traveller is most likely to see, as well as those that are genuinely endemic (only to be seen in that country or region) or special rarities. The genuine pocket size allow the books to be carried around on trips and excursions and will take up minimal rucksack and suitcase space.