Before the Manhattan Project, before nuclear warfare and the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, there was the twentieth century's great scientific quest to fathom the secrets of the atom. It was through that search for the inner workings of matter that a unique friendship was forged, a partnership that defied academic orthodoxy and altered the course of history.
Centred on the inter-war years - within the ivy clad walls of Cambridge University's famed Cavendish Laboratory, amid the windswept valleys of north Wales, and in the industrial heartland of Birmingham - The Basis of Everything is the story of the coming of the atomic bomb, and how the unlikely union of two scientists - Ernest Rutherford, the son of a New Zealand farmer, and Mark Oliphant, a peace-loving vegetarian from a tiny Australian hills village - would change the world.
The story that bonds Ernest Rutherford and Mark Oliphant is as extraordinary as it is unlikely. They were kindred souls, schooled and steeped in the furthest frontiers of Britain's empire, whose restless intellect and tireless conviction fused in the crucible of discovery at Cambridge University's celebrated Cavendish Laboratory, at a time when nature's deepest secrets were being revealed. Their brilliance illuminated the sub-atomic recesses of the natural world and, as a direct result, set loose the power of nuclear fusion.
It was a heartfelt, enduring partnership, born at the University of Adelaide's modest physics department and then flourishing further in the confines of the Cavendish before ultimately driving the famed Manhattan Project, which produced the world's first nuclear weapons, unleashed to such devastating effect on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Rutherford and Oliphant were men with a shared devotion to pure science, who, through circumstance and necessity, found themselves betrayed as instruments of wars they detested but were duty-bound to prosecute. Consequently, their influence was pivotal in the last great global conflict the world witnessed and in engendering the thermonuclear threat that has held the planet hostage ever since. Yet their pioneering work also lives on in a vast array of innovations seeded by nuclear physics, from radiocarbon dating and TV screens to life-saving diagnostic-imaging devices.
Do we see the world as it truly is? In The Case Against Reality, cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman says no-our visual perceptions are not a window on reality, but are interfaces constructed by natural selection. Think about it- though the file icon we see on our desktops is shaped like a small page on our screens, the file itself is made of a series of numbers, of ones and zeros stored in an intangible way. Using thirty years of his own research, as well as others' work in evolutionary biology, game theory, neuroscience, computer science, information theory, and philosophy, Hoffman proves that evolution has shaped our perceptions into illusions. The sensory simplifications that once maximized our performance and reproductive fitness are now impressions that can be manipulated by marketing and design. The world is nothing like what we see through our eyes, and The Case Against Reality explains why.
A compulsively readable account of the extraordinary people, battling internal demons and external adversaries, who discovered the laws of thermodynamics and the science of heat, and brought about a scientific revolution.
Einstein's Fridge tells the story of how scientists uncovered the least known and yet most consequential of all the sciences, and learned to harness the power of heat and ice.
The laws of thermodynamics govern everything from the behaviour of atoms to that of living cells, from the engines that power our world to the black hole at the centre of our galaxy. Not only that, but thermodynamics explains why we must eat and breathe, how the lights come on, and ultimately how the universe will end. The people who decoded its laws came from every branch of the sciences - they were engineers, physicists, chemists, biologists, cosmologists and mathematicians.
Their discoveries, set over two hundred years, kick-started the industrial revolution, changed the course of world wars and informed modern understanding of black holes. This book captures the thrill of discovery and the power of revolutionary science to change the world forever.
The first decade of the twenty-first century marked the demise of the current world order. Despite widespread acknowledgement of these disruptive crises, the proposed response from the mainstream remains the same. Against the confines of this increasingly limited politics, a new paradigm has emerged. Fully Automated Luxury Communism claims that new technologies will liberate us from work, providing the opportunity to build a society beyond both capitalism and scarcity. Automation, rather than undermining an economy built on full employment, is instead the path to a world of liberty, luxury and happiness. For everyone. In his first book, radical political commentator Aaron Bastani conjures a new politics: a vision of a world of unimaginable hope, highlighting how we move to energy abundance, feed a world of nine billion, overcome work, transcend the limits of biology and build meaningful freedom for everyone. Rather than a final destination, such a society heralds the beginning of history.
Comet presents the amazing story of the Rosetta space probe and its interstellar voyage to the comet Tchoury. Its mission - to find clues to the origins of our solar system and the emergence of life on Earth. Following a ten-year voyage and a journey spanning millions of kilometres through our Solar System, the Rosetta entered the comet's orbit. Its lander, Philae - a miniature science laboratory - landed directly on Tchoury's surface and was able to take the photographs presented here.
This triumph of scientific endeavour brought back a raft of incredible new photographs, the best of which are featured here. The book is built around the various phases in Rosetta's journey: leaving Earth, breaching its atmosphere and watching the lights of home recede; skirting the Moon and coming close to Mars; plunging into the cosmos' starry void and approaching the comet; and, finally, landing on Tchoury. The photographs are accompanied by a text that reflects on the objectives of the mission and the accomplishment of such a technological feat for humanity. Detailed captions provide the reader with accessible scientific information, enabling them to get to the heart of the subject.
What if we're living inside a black hole? What if we've already found extraterrestrial life? What if the dinosaurs died in a nuclear war? What if Jesus Christ was actually a mushroom?
In Psychedelic Apes, bestselling author Alex Boese will delve into the curious scientific subculture of weird theories. Thoroughly bizarre and contrary to the established norm, these ideas are often vehemently rejected by the intellectual community.
From the creation of the universe to the evolution of humans, the birth of civilization right through to our more recent past, Psychedelic Apes explores some of the craziest ideas from science and history and shows that, sometimes, even the weirdest theories may be proved true . . .
People form enduring emotional bonds with other animal species, such as dogs, cats, and horses. For the most part, these are domesticated animals, with one notable exception: Many people form close and supportive relationships with parrots, even though these amusing and curious birds remain thoroughly wild creatures. What enables this unique group of wild animals to form social bonds with people, and what does this mean for their survival?
In Thinking Like a Parrot, Alan Bond and Judy Diamond look beyond much of the standard work on captive parrots to the mischievous, inquisitive, and astonishingly vocal parrots of the wild. Focusing on the psychology and ecology of wild parrots, Bond and Diamond document their distinctive social behavior, sophisticated cognition, and extraordinary vocal abilities. Also included are short vignettes--field notes of the natural history and behavior of both rare and widely distributed species, from the neotropical crimson-fronted parakeet to New Zealand's flightless, ground-dwelling kakapo. This composite approach makes clear that the behavior of captive parrots is grounded in the birds' wild ecology and evolution, revealing that parrots' ability to bond with people is an evolutionary accident, a byproduct of the intense sociality and flexible behavior that characterize their lives.
Despite their adaptability and intelligence, however, nearly all large parrot species are rare, threatened, or endangered. To successfully manage and restore these wild populations, Bond and Diamond argue, we must develop a fuller understanding of their biology, of the complex set of ecological and behavioral traits that has led to their vulnerability. Spanning the global distribution of parrot species, Thinking Like a Parrot is rich with surprising insights into parrot intelligence, flexibility, and--even in the face of threats--resilience.
The Enchantment of the Long-haired Rat tells the story of a small Australian rodent known for its fast and prodigious spread after big rains- plagues for the European colonists who feared and loathed all rats; an abundance of food for the indigenous peoples who feasted with delight in these times of plenty. While the rats brought despair and hardship for the early colonist eating not only crops and supplies but clothes, boots and saddlery, their presence also offered a lifeline as a food source. The Burke and Wills story might well have had a different ending had the hapless explorers been tempted to follow the example of the Aboriginal people and make use of a nutritious and readily available meal.
Tim Bonyhady's account-from the earliest evidence of it, found in caves and overhangs, to its most recent boom triggered by the immense rains across Australia of 2010-11 and current research of its mysterious life-presents a fascinating view of Australia's history, illuminating a species, a continent, its climate and its people.
We live in times of increasing inscrutability. Our news feeds are filled with unverified, unverifiable speculation, much of it automatically generated by anonymous software. As a result, we no longer understand what is happening around us. Underlying all of these trends is a single idea: the belief that quantitative data can provide a coherent model of the world, and the efficacy of computable information to provide us with ways of acting within it. Yet the sheer volume of information available to us today reveals less than we hope. Rather, it heralds a new Dark Age: a world of ever-increasing incomprehension.
In his brilliant new work, leading artist and writer James Bridle offers us a warning against the future in which the contemporary promise of a new technologically assisted Enlightenment may just deliver its opposite: an age of complex uncertainty, predictive algorithms, surveillance, and the hollowing out of empathy. Surveying the history of art, technology and information systems he reveals the dark clouds that gather over discussions of the digital sublime.
For thousands of years, mathematicians have used the timeless art of logic to see the world more clearly. In The Art of Logic, Royal Society Science Book Prize nominee Eugenia Cheng shows how anyone can think like a mathematician - and see, argue and think better.
Learn how to simplify complex decisions without over-simplifying them. Discover the power of analogies and the dangers of false equivalences. Find out how people construct misleading arguments, and how we can argue back.
Eugenia Cheng teaches us how to find clarity without losing nuance, taking a careful scalpel to the complexities of politics, privilege, sexism and dozens of other real-world situations. Her Art of Logic is a practical and inspiring guide to decoding the modern world.
What exactly does it mean for two languages to coexist in the same brain? How do babies exposed to different languages differentiate between them? And how does cognitive decline affect the two languages?
Bilingualism is quickly becoming the rule rather than the exception as more than half of the world's population is able to communicate in more than one language. In The Bilingual Brain, leading expert Albert Costa guides us through the latest research exploring the many fascinating questions raised by bilingualism- from how children exposed to two different languages determine between them to how it influences our decisions. Filled with memorable examples from cutting-edge studies, The Bilingual Brain shows that bilingualism can help us better understand how language works.
What robot and AI systems are being built and imagined right now? What do they say about us, their creators? Will they usher in a fantastic new future, or destroy us? What do some of our greatest thinkers, from physicist Brian Greene and futurist Kevin Kelly to inventor Dean Kamen, geneticist George Church, and filmmaker Tiffany Shlain, anticipate for our human-robot future? For even as robots and AI intrigue us and make us anxious about the future, our fascination with robots has always been about more than the potential of the technology - it's also about what robots tell us about being human.
From present-day Facebook and Amazon bots to near-future 'intimacy' bots and 'the robot that stole my job' bots, bestselling American popular science writer David Ewing Duncan's TALKING TO ROBOTS is a wonderfully entertaining and insightful guide to possible future scenarios about robots, both real and imagined.
These scenarios are informed by interviews with actual engineers, scientists, artists, philosophers, futurists and others, who share with us their ideas, hopes and fears about robots.
In the future, we will all remember when the robots truly arrived. Perhaps a robot surgeon saved your child's life, or maybe your inaugural robot moment will be more banal, when you realised with relief that the machines had taken over all the tasks you used to hate - taking out the rubbish, changing nappies, paying bills . . .
Perhaps your recollection will be less benign, a memory of when a robot turned against you: the robot that threatened to seize your assets over a tax dispute.
You might also remember when the robots began campaigning for equal rights with humans, and for an end to robot slavery, abuse and exploitation.
Or when robots became so smart that they became our benign overlords, treating us like cute and not very bright pets.
Or when the robots grew tired of us and decided to destroy us, turning our own robo-powered weapons of mass destruction against us.
Further into the future we will remember when robots became organic, created in a lab from living tissue to look and be just like us, only better and more resilient. Even further in the future, we will recall when we first had the option of becoming robots ourselves, by downloading our minds into organic-engineered beings that could theoretically live forever. And yet . . . will we feel that something is missing as the millennia pass? Will we grow weary of being robots, invulnerable and immortal?
Mostly we love our technology as it whisks us across and over continents and oceans at 35,000 feet, or summons us rides in someone else's Prius or connects us online to long-lost friends. Yet deep down, many of us fe
The definitive guide to tropical Australian and central Indo- Pacific marine life, covering over 2,400 species of animals and plants, including many never before photographed or covered in field guides.
Would you say your phone is safe, or your computer? What about your car? Or your bank?
There is a global war going on and the next target could be anyone - an international corporation or a randomly selected individual. From cybercrime villages in Romania to intellectual property theft campaigns in China, these are the true stories of the hackers behind some of the largest cyberattacks in history and those committed to stopping them. You've never heard of them and you're not getting their real names.
Kate Fazzini has met the hackers who create new cyberweapons, hack sports cars and develop ransomware capable of stopping international banks in their tracks. Kingdom of Lies is a fast-paced look at technological innovations that were mere fantasy only a few years ago, but now make up an integral part of all our lives.
'The fog of Australian politics on climate change has obscured a fateful reality- Australia has the potential to be an economic superpower of the future post-carbon world.'-Ross Garnaut We have unparalleled renewable energy resources. We also have the necessary scientific skills. Australia could be the natural home for an increasing proportion of global industry. But how do we make this happen? In this crisp, compelling book, Australia's leading thinker about climate and energy policy offers a road map for progress, covering energy, transport, agriculture, the international scene and more. Rich in ideas and practical optimism, Superpower is a crucial, timely contribution to this country's future.
FUNDAMENTAL does for physics what Tim's first book, ELEMENTAL, does for chemistry: it demystifies the topic in his trademark humorous, engaging style, including the most recent developments in the field.
At the start of the twentieth century, science appeared complete and the laws of nature were almost all discovered, but then we woke a sleeping giant - we discovered quantum mechanics.
In the quantum realm, objects can be in two places at once. It's a place where time travel is not only possible, but necessary. It's a place where cause and effect can happen in reverse and observing something changes its state. From parallel universes to antimatter, quantum mechanics has revealed that when you get right down to it, the laws of nature are insane. The scientist J. B. S. Haldane once said, 'Reality is not only stranger than we imagine . . . it's stranger than we can imagine.' Never is this more true than with quantum mechanics; our best, most recent attempt to make sense of the fundamental laws of nature.
FUNDAMENTAL is a comprehensive beginner's guide to quantum mechanics, explaining not only the weirdness of the subject but the experiments that proved it to be true. Using a humorous and light-hearted approach, FUNDAMENTAL tells the story of how the most brilliant minds in science grappled with seemingly impossible ideas and gave us everything from microchips to particle accelerators. FUNDAMENTAL gives clear explanations of all the quantum phenomena known to modern science, without requiring an understanding of complex mathematics; tells the eccentric stories of the scientists who made these shattering discoveries and what they used them for; explains how quantum field theory (a topic not covered in detail by any other popular-science book) gave rise to particle physics and why the Higgs boson isn't the end of the story.
Escape From Earth is the untold story of the engineers, dreamers and rebels who started the American space programme. In particular, it is the story of Frank Malina, founder of what became Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the scientist who cracked the, as he called it, problem of escape from the Earth by rocket.
It's a wild ride. Jack Parsons, Malina's chemistry-expert research partner, was a bed-hopping occultist with delusions of grandeur. We get all the horrible details: drug parties and sex magic, cameos by Aleister Crowley and L Ron Hubbard, and an ill-fated attempt to start a mail-order religion.
Armed with hitherto unpublished letters, journals, and documents from the Malina family archives, Fraser MacDonald reveals what we didn't know. Jack Parsons betrayed Frank Malina to the FBI, cooperating fully in their investigation of Malina for un-American activities. The Jet Propulsion Lab's second director secretly denounced Frank as a Communist. Frank's research group had close ties to the spy network of the infamous Rosenbergs - the only Americans executed during the Red Scare. This is a story of soaring ideals entangled in the most human of complications: infidelity and divorce, betrayal and treason.
The story of the canine has been fundamentally entwined with that of humanity since the earliest times, and this ancient and fascinating story is told in Susan McHugh's Dog, now available in B-format.
The book unravels the debate about whether dogs are descended from wolves, and moves on to deal with canines in mythology, religion and health, dog cults in ancient and medieval civilizations as disparate as Alaska, Greece, Peru and Persia, and traces correspondences between the histories of dogs in the Far East, Europe, Africa and the Americas. Dog also examines the relatively recent phenomenon of dog breeding and the invention of species, as well as the canine's role in science fact and fiction; from Laika, the first astronaut, and Pavlov's famous conditioned dogs, through to science fiction novels and cult films such as A Boy and his Dog.
Susan McHugh shows how dogs today contribute to human lives in a huge number of ways, not only as pets and guide dogs but also as sources of food in Asia, entertainment workers, and scientific and religious objects. Dog reveals how we have shaped these animals over the millennia, and in turn, how dogs have shaped us.
`A well-informed and wide-ranging guide to the cultural history of the dog...it is lavishly and eclectically illustrated. It surveys the whole gamut of human-dog relations, in religion and myth, literature, science, art, and entertainment. If I, who am largely indifferent to the species charms, found it an enjoyable and stimulating read, it can presumably be safely recommended to all real dog enthusiasts.' - International Zoo News
Winner of the 2018 ABIA Small Publisher's Adult Book of the Year Winner of the 2017 Whitley Medal Australia's avifauna is large, diverse and spectacular, reflecting the continent's impressive range of habitats and evolutionary history. With specially commissioned paintings of over 900 species, The Australian Bird Guide is the most comprehensive field guide to Australian birds ever seen.
This Revised Edition includes updated maps, artwork and species accounts, reflecting current knowledge of the biology and distribution of Australia's birds. It features around 4700 specially commissioned colour illustrations of over 900 species, with particular emphasis on providing the fine detail required to identify difficult groups and distinctive plumages. Comprehensive species accounts have been written by a dedicated team of ornithologists to ensure identification details, distribution and status are current and accurate. A new easier-to-use index is also included.
The Australian Bird Guide sets a new standard in field guides, providing an indispensable reference for all birders and naturalists looking to explore Australia's magnificent and unique birdlife.
Weaving together stories of science and sociology, The Selfish Ape offers a refreshing response to common fantasies about the ascent of humanity. Rather than imagining modern humans as a species with godlike powers, or Homo deus, Nicholas P. Money recasts us as Homo narcissus, paragons of self-absorption. This exhilarating story takes in an immense sweep of modern biology, leading readers from earth's unexceptional location in the cosmos, to the story of our microbial origins, and the workings of the human body. It explores human genetics, reproduction, brain function and ageing, creating an enlightened view of humans as a brilliantly inventive, yet self-destructive animal.
This is a book about human biology, the intertwined characteristics of human greatness and failure, and the way that we have plundered the biosphere. Written in a highly accessible style, it is a perfect read for those interested in science, human history, sociology and the environment.
Nikola Tesla was a bundle of contradictions - a consummate showman and a private recluse; a man of science addicted to self-promotion; a prolific inventor of technologies that made other people's fortunes.
Tesla made giant leaps in the technology of electrical supply, X-rays, radio remote control, and wireless electrical transmission. He embodied the aspirations and the contradictions of an age of innovation that seemed to have the future firmly in its grasp. Then as now, he attracted cranks and visionaries in equal number. His restless speculations and experiments about the way tomorrow would look helped to inaugurate a new way of trying to understand the future.
More than just a biography of Tesla, this book takes the inventor as its guide and follows him through the cut-throat entrepreneurial culture of late Victorian and Edwardian electrical invention. The book will explore the electrical future that Tesla helped create and the raw materials from which that future was forged.
Universe is a groundbreaking survey that celebrates the popular subject of astronomy through 300 images created by those who have tried to understand - or who have been inspired by - the beauty and mystery of stars, planets, and beyond.
Carefully chosen by an international panel of experts and arranged to highlight thought-provoking contrasts and similarities, the selection includes paintings, photographs, sculpture, animation, prints, sketches, and digital renderings with iconic works by renowned photographers, artists, and astronomers alongside previously unpublished finds.
Longlisted for the National Book Award for Nonfiction and A New York Times Notable Book of 2018.
Our understanding of the `tree of life', with powerful implications for human genetics, human health and our own human nature, has recently completely changed.
This book is about a new method of telling the story of life on earth - through molecular phylogenetics. It involves a fairly simple method - the reading of the deep history of life by looking at the variation in protein molecules found in living organisms. For instance, we now know that roughly eight per cent of the human genome arrived not through traditional inheritance from directly ancestral forms, but sideways by viral infection.
In The Tangled Tree, acclaimed science writer David Quammen chronicles these discoveries through the lives of the researchers who made them - such as Carl Woese, the most important little-known biologist of the twentieth century; Lynn Margulis, the notorious maverick whose wild ideas about `mosaic' creatures proved to be true; and Tsutomu Wantanabe, who discovered that the scourge of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a direct result of horizontal gene transfer, bringing the deep study of genome histories to bear on a global crisis in public health.
Quammen explains how molecular studies of evolution have brought startling recognitions about the tangled tree of life - including where we humans fit into it. Thanks to new technologies, we now have the ability to alter even our genetic composition - through sideways insertions, as nature has long been doing. The Tangled Tree is a brilliant exploration of our transformed understanding of evolution and of life's history itself.
A meticulously researched (The New York Times Book Review) examination of energy transitions over time and an exploration of the current challenges presented by global warming, a surging world population, and renewable energy-from Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning author Richard Rhodes.
People have lived and died, businesses have prospered and failed, and nations have risen to world power and declined, all over energy challenges. Through an unforgettable cast of characters, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes explains how wood gave way to coal and coal made room for oil, as we now turn to natural gas, nuclear power, and renewable energy. Entertaining and informative...a powerful look at the importance of science (NPR.org), Rhodes looks back on five centuries of progress, through such influential figures as Queen Elizabeth I, King James I, Benjamin Franklin, Herman Melville, John D. Rockefeller, and Henry Ford.
In his magisterial history...a tour de force of popular science (Kirkus Reviews, starred review), Rhodes shows how breakthroughs in energy production occurred; from animal and waterpower to the steam engine, from internal-combustion to the electric motor. He looks at the current energy landscape, with a focus on how wind energy is competing for dominance with cast supplies of coal and natural gas. He also addresses the specter of global warming, and a population hurtling towards ten billion by 2100.
Human beings have confronted the problem of how to draw energy from raw material since the beginning of time. Each invention, each discovery, each adaptation brought further challenges, and through such transformations, we arrived at where we are today. A beautifully written, often inspiring saga of ingenuity and progress...
Energy brings facts, context, and clarity to a key, often contentious subject (Booklist, starred review).
Why do so many of us struggle to remember the maths we were taught at school? The answer is that we can successfully memorise things for a short period but we only retain those memories long term if we understand them. Mattias Ribbing is a Grand Master of Memory who will show you how to remember maths through truly understanding it. His methods are simple but will last for life, and unwrap the puzzle of maths forever.
The key to confidence with numbers is not remembering complex rules surrounding long division or algebra; it's understanding the critical components of maths and being able to clearly visualise problems and solutions. This illuminating guide to improving your maths provides logical, long-term strategies that will enable you to finally get maths and hold on to that level of confidence thereafter.
Cat traces the relationship between humans and the cat from its original domestication in ancient Egypt c. 2000 BC, through the centuries as a utilitarian rodent catcher, its gradual acceptance as a charming and amiable pet, and its present status as a companion on a par with the dog.
Long before people valued cats, however, they recognised something special about them. Their graceful, fluid movements, and their self-detachment even as they live in our homes, seems to indicate strange, even supernatural powers. The peculiar fascination of the cat, indeed, is the diversity of images it projects - at once sweet and ferocious, affectionate and independent, elegant and earthy, cosily domestic and eerie.
This highly illustrated book, now available in B-format, has a great deal to offer the enormous number of people who like and are interested in cats. Unlike many other cat books, it offers substantial and accurate information about the history of cats and their presentation in literature and art.
`[a] beautifully illustrated history...
A perfect read for ailurophiles.' - The Guardian `Reaktion's reliably stylish and intelligent series of illustrated books about animals in culture goes from strength to strength. Cat unites a typically broad and fascinating set of images with Katherine Rogers elegant survey of the way humans have seen and thought of home-based felines.' - The Independent
This easy-to-use identification guide to the 280 reptile species most commonly seen in Australia is perfect for resident and visitor alike.
High quality photographs from Australia's top nature photographers are accompanied by detailed species descriptions, which include nomenclature, size, distribution, habits and habitat. The user-friendly introduction covers the threats to reptiles, types of habitat, anatomy of reptiles, and details of orders and families. Also included is an all-important checklist of all of the reptiles of Australia encompassing, for each species, its common and scientific name, and its global IUCN status.
This easy-to-use identification guide to the 292 species of insect most commonly seen in Australia is perfect for resident and visitor alike.
High quality photographs from Australia's top nature photographers are accompanied by detailed species descriptions, which include nomenclature, size, distribution, habitat and habits. The user-friendly introduction covers modern Australian insects, non-insect hexapods and life cycles. Also included is a checklist of the insect families of Australia listing the number of genera, species and subspecies in each family.
The British Isles are remarkable for the extraordinary diversity of seabird life that they support: spectacular colonies of charismatic Arctic terns, elegant fulmars and stoic eiders, to name just a few. Often found in the most remote and dramatic reaches of our isles, these colonies are landscapes shaped not by us but by the birds. In this moving and lyrical account, Stephen Rutt travels to the farthest corners of the UK to explore the part seabirds have played in our story and what they continue to mean to Britain today. From storm petrels (a small bird whose song is frequently likened to a fairy being sick ) on Mousa to gulls in Newcastle and gannets in Orkney, The Seabirds takes readers into breathtaking landscapes, sights, smells and sounds, bringing these vibrant birds and their habitats to life. In the face of a looming environmental crisis, Stephen Rutt's investigation is both personal and passionate. This beautiful book reveals what it feels like to be immersed in a completely wild landscape, examining the allure of the remote and the search for quietness, isolation and nature in an over-crowded world.
The periodic table of elements, first encountered by many of us at school, provides an arrangement of the chemical elements, ordered by their atomic number, electron configuration, and recurring chemical properties, and divided into periodic trends. In this Very Short Introduction Eric Scerri looks at the trends in properties of elements that led to the construction of the table, and shows how the deeper meaning of the table's structure gradually became apparent with the development of atomic theory and, in particular, quantum mechanics, which underlies the behaviour of all of the elements and their compounds.
This new edition, publishing in the International Year of the Periodic Table, celebrates the completion of the seventh period of the table, with the ratification and naming of elements 113, 115, 117, and 118 as nihonium, moscovium, tennessine, and oganesson. Eric Scerri also incorporates new material on recent advances in our understanding of the origin of the elements, as well as developments concerning group three of the periodic table.
ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
In CONSTELLATIONS, award-winning astronomy writer Govert Schilling takes us on an unprecedented visual tour of all 88 constellations in our night sky.
Much more than just a stargazer's guide, CONSTELLATIONS is complete history of astronomy as told by Schilling through the lens of each constellation. The book is organized alphabetically by constellation. Profiles of each constellation include basic information such as size, visibility, and number of stars, as well as information on the discovery and naming of the constellation and associated lore.
Beyond details about the constellation itself is information about every astronomical event that took place or discovery made in the vicinity of the constellation. In the constellation of Cygnus (the Swan) we encounter the location of the first confirmed black hole. A stop at Gemini (the Twins) is a chance to say hello to the dwarf planet Pluto, and in Orion (the hunter) we find the location of the first identified gamma-ray burst.
Stunning star maps throughout the book by acclaimed star mapmaker Wil Tirion show us the exact location of every constellation, the details of its structure, as well as its surrounding astronomical neighbors.
The evolution of dogs and the forces that drove its amazing transformation from a fierce wild carnivore, the wolf, to the astonishing range of comparatively docile domesticated dogs that we know today.
Sykes paints a vivid picture of the dog as an ancient and essential ally. While undoubtedly it was the mastery of fire, language and agriculture that propelled Homo sapiens from a scarce, medium-sized primate to the position we enjoy today, Sykes crucially credits a fourth element for this success: the transformation of the wolf into the multi-purpose helpmate that is the dog. Drawing upon archaeology, history and genetics, Sykes shows how humans evolved to become the dominant species on Earth, but only with the help of our canine companions.
A thoroughly entertaining personal account of the author's birding expeditions to some of Australia's very special islands. She hasn't attempted to include every one of the 8,371 islands of Australia but she has visited the country's most extreme islands: the most southerly (Macquarie), the most northerly (Boigu, which just pips Christmas by one degree), the most westerly (Cocos) and the most easterly (Norfolk). Her aim in selecting the islands was very simple: to include those where she's had fun birding; where she has seen lots of birds, several `lifers' (her own life list of birds encountered in the wild), islands with birds never seen before in Australia or some where she had special encounters with common birds.
Though Sue Taylor is herself a twitcher , Birding Australia's Islands will appeal not only to intrepid birdwatchers who intend to follow in her footsteps, but also to those who are content to sit at home and read about the audacity of others who will fly across Australia's vast continent in the hope that one individual bird will still be there waiting for them when they arrive.
Illustrated with beautiful close-up photographs of species and habitats, Sue Taylor describes her adventures on 22 of Australia's islands with humour and irrepressible enthusiasm. There are detailed and locator maps of every island featured In the book
From the moon's formation, to its potential for future exploration, this richly illustrated volume presents 100 milestones in lunar history.
With dazzling images on every spread, and illuminating text by astrobiologist Dr. David Warmflash, Moon: An Illustrated History chronologically presents 100 milestones in the Moon's development and exploration. Starting 4.5 billion years ago when the Moon formed, this stunning volume moves from the hypotheses of the Moon's formation (4.5 billion years ago) to sixth-century BCE predictions of solar eclipses, from the twentieth-century Space Race between the US and the Soviet Union to private space companies and possible future lunar colonies. Find out about lunar calendar systems and cults in the Bible; how lunar brightness was used to estimate stellar distances; how advancing telescopes in the seventeenth century allowed us to eye the Moon more closely; how author Jules Verne inspired the Father of Astronautics; the originals of the Saturn V Moon Rocket; the Apollo missions, and so much more.
'Through the course of human history, the sight of the Moon has captivated humanity's wildest imaginations, while its nightly presence has been a centerpiece of mythic and scientific hypotheses. Dr. David Warmflash has beautifully chronicled our fascination with - and discoveries from - our nearest neighbor in Moon: An Illustrated History. This fine book should be considered required reading for armchair lunar explorers, young and old.' - Scott Parazynski, MD, NASA Space Shuttle astronaut (STS-66, 86, 95, 100, 120) and author of The Sky Below 'This book addresses just about everything you might want to know about the moon and the intricate ways it's been intermingled with mankind's existence throughout time. The easy-to-read chapters are short and concise and cover a lot of ground in lunar science, ancient perspectives, past and present lunar explorations, and visions of future endeavours. Each chapter is accompanied by colourful full-page illustrations, diagrams, ancient artefacts, and historic photos, making it all the more engaging. I'm so pleased to include this delightful book in my collection.' - Lucy West, International Space & Science Artist
What happens when you try to recreate a woolly mammoth - fascinating science, or conservation catastrophe?
Jurassic Park meets The Sixth Extinction in Rise of the Necrofauna, a provocative look at de-extinction from acclaimed documentarist and science writer Britt Wray, PhD.
In Rise of the Necrofauna, Wray takes us deep into the minds and labs of some of the world's most progressive thinkers to find out. She introduces us to renowned futurists like Stewart Brand and scientists like George Church, who are harnessing the powers of CRISPR gene editing in the hopes of reviving extinct passenger pigeons, woolly mammoths, and heath hens. She speaks with Nikita Zimov, who together with his eclectic father Sergey, is creating Siberia's Pleistocene Park - a daring attempt to rebuild the mammoth's ancient ecosystem in order to save earth from climate disaster. Through interviews with these and other thought leaders, Wray reveals the many incredible opportunities for research and conservation made possible by this emerging new field.
But we also hear from more cautionary voices, like those of researcher and award-winning author Beth Shapiro (How to Clone a Woolly Mammoth) and environmental philosopher Thomas van Dooren. Writing with passion and perspective, Wray delves into the larger questions that come with this incredible new science, reminding us that de-extinction could bring just as many dangers as it does possibilities. What happens, for example, when we bring an unextinct creature back into the wild? How can we care for these strange animals and ensure their comfort and safety - not to mention our own? And what does de-extinction mean for those species that are currently endangered? Is it really ethical to bring back an extinct passenger pigeon, for example, when countless other birds today will face the same fate?
By unpacking the many biological, technological, ethical, environmental, and legal questions raised by this fascinating new field, Wray offers a captivating look at the best and worst of resurrection science. Published in partnership with the David Suzuki Institute.
'A captivating whirlwind tour through the birth and early life of the scientific idea known as 'de-extinction'' - Beth Shapiro, author of How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction