What was Australia's climate like before official weather records began? How do scientists use tree-rings, ice cores and tropical corals to retrace the past? What do Indigenous seasonal calendars reveal? And what do settler diary entries about rainfall, droughts, bushfires and snowfalls tell us about natural climate cycles?
Sunburnt Country pieces together Australia's climate history for the first time. It uncovers a continent long vulnerable to climate extremes and variability. It gives an unparalleled perspective on how human activities have altered patterns that have been with us for millions of years, and what climate change looks like in our own backyard.
Sunburnt Country highlights the impact of a warming planet on Australian lifestyles and ecosystems and the power we all have to shape future life on Earth.
Since 2012, the fight to stop the opening of the vast Galilee coal basin has emerged as an iconic pivot of the Australian climate and environment movement.
The Coal Truth: the fight to stop Adani, defeat the big polluters and reclaim our democracy provides a timely and colourful contribution to one of the most important struggles in our national history - over the future of the coal industry. Written by an environmental insider with an eye on the world his daughters will inherit, The Coal Truth is told with wit and verve, drawing in other specialist voices to bring to life the contours of a contest that the people of Australia can't afford to lose.
Contributors include Tara Moss and Berndt Sellheim, Adrian Burragubba, Lesley Hughes, John Quiggin, Hilary Bambrick, Ruchira Talukdar and Geoffrey Cousins.
As this crucial book shows us beyond all doubt, there is no safe, livable future that involves digging up more Australian coal. But with the country's formidable movements fighting to keep that coal where it is, David Ritter makes an irresistible case that few places are better suited to lead a just and democratic transition to the next economy. Marshaling diverse voices and hard-hitting arguments, he shows us this promising future is well within our grasp. An inspiring must-read!
COSMOS Autumn 2018 Issue 78: Hacking Human Performance
Athletes get creative to increase their limits by Rick Lovett
People at the top of their game redefine their craft, says Andy Walshe, the Australian who heads the Red Bull High Performance Program, and advises the Australian Swim team. With the Commonwealth Games upon us, we drill into Walshe's ideas for hacking human performance.
Synthetic life forms offer green solutions by James Mitchell Crow
In 2010 Craig Venter's lab in the US were the first to make an artificial bacterium; now a global consortium is on the way to making a synthetic yeast. It's the stuff of science fiction but it might solve some of the world's most pressing problems by producing biofuels and non-polluting plastics. Cosmos looks at how Australia's is capturing the opportunity.
The quantum internet is coming. But what is it? by Michael Lucy
By 2030 a China-le quantum internet will be a reality, according to head honcho Pan Jianwei. Exploiting the enigmatic entanglement of single particles of light, the technology promises unhackable communications and cloud-based quantum computing. Cosmos digs in with Australian scientists at the cutting edge.
Science to save the reef by Elizabeth Finkel
Bleaching events in 2016 and 2017 devastated reefs around the world affecting some two thirds of the Great Barrier Reef. Losing reefs doesn't just devastate local tourism; corals are fish nurseries so distant fisheries also crash. Australia is exploring ways to rescue the reef ranging from fast breeding programs for genetically tougher corals, to installing local underwater fans at tourist sites.
Cloning a Thylacine by John Pickrell
Move over mammoths and passenger pigeons - the next extinct species to be cloned might be the Tasmanian Tiger. Last December an exceptionally well preserved pup allowed researchers to piece together its entire DNA code. And that has renewed long-standing hopes of cloning one. John Pickrell, author of Flying Dinosaurs
, describes the game plan researchers have mapped out for cloning the Thylacine.
Can horses feel shame? Do deer grieve? Why do roosters deceive hens?
We tend to assume that we are the only living things able to experience feelings but have you ever wondered what's going on in an animal's head? From the leafy forest floor to the inside of a bee hive, The Inner Life of Animals opens up the animal kingdom like never before. We hear the stories of a grateful humpback whale, of a hedgehog who has nightmares, and of a magpie who commits adultery; we meet bees that plan for the future, pigs who learn their own names and crows that go tobogganing for fun. And at last we find out why wasps exist.
Is anything truly random? Does infinity actually exist? Could we ever see into other dimensions?
In this delightful journey of discovery, David Darling and extraordinary child prodigy Agnijo Banerjee draw connections between the cutting edge of modern maths and life as we understand it, delving into the strange - would we like alien music? - and venturing out on quests to consider the existence of free will and the fantastical future of quantum computers. Packed with puzzles and paradoxes, mind-bending concepts and surprising solutions, this is for anyone who wants life's questions answered - even those you never thought to ask.
The past few years have witnessed a revolution in our ability to obtain DNA from ancient humans. This important new data has added to our knowledge from archaeology and anthropology, helped resolve long-existing controversies, challenged long-held views, and thrown up remarkable surprises. The emerging picture is one of many waves of ancient human migrations, so that all populations living today are mixes of ancient ones, and often carry a genetic component from archaic humans. David Reich, whose team has been at the forefront of these discoveries, explains what genetics is telling us about ourselves and our complex and often surprising ancestry. Gone are old ideas of any kind of racial 'purity.' Instead, we are finding a rich variety of mixtures. Reich describes the cutting-edge findings from the past few years, and also considers the sensitivities involved in tracing ancestry, with science sometimes jostling with politics and tradition. He brings an important wider message: that we should recognise that every one of us is the result of a long history of migration and intermixing of ancient peoples, which we carry as ghosts in our DNA. What will we discover next?
This book describes the most complex machine ever sent to another planet: Curiosity. It is a one-ton robot with two brains, seventeen cameras, six wheels, nuclear power, and a laser beam on its head. No one human understands how all of its systems and instruments work. This essential reference to the Curiosity mission explains the engineering behind every system on the rover, from its rocket-powered jetpack to its radioisotope thermoelectric generator to its fiendishly complex sample handling system. Its lavishly illustrated text explains how all the instruments work -- its cameras, spectrometers, sample-cooking oven, and weather station -- and describes the instruments' abilities and limitations. It tells you how the systems have functioned on Mars, and how scientists and engineers have worked around problems developed on a faraway planet: holey wheels and broken focus lasers. And it explains the grueling mission operations schedule that keeps the rover working day in and day out.
Majestic and untwinkling, Jupiter is the grandest of all planets. It is the largest planet in our solar system and among the brightest objects in the night sky. It shines with a noble, steady luster, and its calming presence has inspired humans for centuries. Jupiter was the “beloved star” of the first serious observers of the planets, the ancient Sumerians and Babylonians, and has inspired poetic utterances from eminent writers such as William Wordsworth and Walt Whitman. It also continues to inspire contemporary astronomers and stargazers, and this beautifully illustrated volume brings our understanding of Jupiter right up to date.
The scientific study of Jupiter is at a watershed: NASA’s Juno space probe has entered orbit about Jupiter to investigate the planet, while information gleaned from improved telescopes and other robotic explorers in space continues to improve our understanding of the planet’s origin, evolution, and composition. Jupiter provides a concise and expert overview of the history of our observations of this largest of planetary spheres, as well as reports on the much-anticipated initial findings from the Juno space probe. Also incorporating other recent research that is not widely available, Jupiter is an accessible and engaging introduction to planetary science that will deepen our knowledge both of this magnificent planet and of our own place in the solar system.
Our nearest celestial neighbour, the Moon, has always been the most conspicuous feature in our night sky. It has compelled observers since the dawn of humankind, and all have tried to make sense in their own ways of the puzzles it poses and the questions it raises. It provided our ancient ancestors with one of the earliest means of keeping and measuring time, and many early religions had cults that worshipped the Moon. It regulates the tides and has been held accountable for numerous human conditions, most notably madness and psychological disorders.
Drawing on many years of practical observation, Bill Leatherbarrow provides an illuminating insight into the history and evolution of this enthralling astronomical body. He describes how and why the study of the Moon has evolved, particularly in the age of the telescope, and offers an overview of developments in lunar science since the advent of the space age. Leatherbarrow also provides practical advice on how to make your own observations of the Moon.
Extensively illustrated with images of the lunar surface, The Moon is an accessible introduction that will appeal to both amateur and professional astronomers and all those fascinated by Earth's natural satellite.
The twenty-first century space industry is changing drastically where private sector companies (e.g. Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic SpaceshipOne and Elon Musk's SpaceX) are building a dizzying array of new space crafts and rockets, not just for government use, but for any paying customer. At the heart of this space revolution are spaceports, the centre and literal launching pad of spaceflight. The up-front costs of spaceports are measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars, the competition is extreme, and failure is unforgivable?and often fatal. Aerospace journalist Joe Pappalardo has witnessed rocket launches around the world, visiting every working spaceport in the US. In his comprehensive book Spaceport Earth, Pappalardo describes the rise of a plethora of private companies in space tourism and how they are reshaping the way the world is using space for industry and science. Spaceport Earth is a travelogue through modern space history as it is being made. From the Cape Canaveral to the jungle launch site in French Guiana, spaceflight fanatics will appreciate the close perspective to launch sites, while those new to the industry will be enamoured by stories of the industrial titans, engineers, billionaires, schemers and politicians who are redefining what it means for humans to be a spacefaring species.
There's a whole universe out there... Imagine you had a spacecraft capable of travelling through interstellar space. You climb in, blast into orbit, fly out of the solar system and keep going. Where do you end up, and what do you see along the way?
The answer is: mostly nothing. Space is astonishingly, mind-blowingly empty. As you travel through the void between galaxies your spaceship encounters nothing more exciting than the odd hydrogen molecule. But when it does come across something more exotic: wow!
First and most obviously, stars and planets. Some are familiar from our own backyard: yellow suns, rocky planets like Mars, gas and ice giants like Jupiter and Neptune. But there are many more: giant stars, red and white dwarfs, super-earths and hot Jupiters. Elsewhere are swirling clouds of dust giving birth to stars, and infinitely dense regions of space-time called black holes. These clump together in the star clusters we call galaxies, and the clusters of galaxies we call... galaxy clusters.
And that is just the start. As we travel further we encounter ever more weird, wonderful and dangerous entities: supernovas, supermassive black holes, quasars, pulsars, neutron stars, black dwarfs, quark stars, gamma ray bursts and cosmic strings.
A Journey Through The Universe is a grand tour of the most amazing celestial objects and how they fit together to build the cosmos. As for the end of the journey - nobody knows. But getting there will be fun.
ABOUT THE SERIES New Scientist Instant Expert books are definitive and accessible entry points to the most important subjects in science; subjects that challenge, attract debate, invite controversy and engage the most enquiring minds. Designed for curious readers who want to know how things work and why, the Instant Expert series explores the topics that really matter and their impact on individuals, society, and the planet, translating the scientific complexities around us into language that's open to everyone, and putting new ideas and discoveries into perspective and context.
Indulge your curiosity with this humorous and fascinating book that demystifies the surprising myths about space.
In the latest book from the Everything You Know is Wrong series, Matt Brown brings you a compendium of amazing facts about our planet, the universe, and everything in between! Thanks to popular sci-fi films and TV shows, there have been many misconceptions about the cosmos - from travelling through wormholes to blowing up asteroids. In Everything You Know About Space is Wrong, you'll find a plethora of myths, legends and misquotes that have shaped the way you view the universe today. Think that the vacuum of space would make your blood boil and your head explode? It won't, and there have been people who have survived without wearing a suit in space. Think that astronauts float in space because there is zero-gravity? They're actually constantly falling towards the Earth. Think that the colour of space is black? It's actually predominantly green.
Chock-full of facts about the cosmos, how it works (and how it doesn't!), this illuminating book will guide you through the mine of misinformation to answer such questions as whether we will meet aliens in our lifetime (SETI predicts we'll find evidence of ET by 2040!), what happens in the centre of the black hole, and why Mercury is not the hottest planet in the solar system. Discovering untruths about popular science, Everthing You Know About Space is Wrong provides a hugely entertaining insight into our universe.
Ages 10 & Up Do you dream of journeying to other worlds? Featuring eight removable NASA posters, gorgeous full-colour photography, stunning art, and informative summaries based on 50 years of exploration, this large-format travel guide takes space enthusiasts on a futuristic tour of the solar system and beyond. Along the way, you'll experience what it's like to hike across lunar craters, soar through the winds of Venus, and raft down the rapids of Titan.
Informative summaries of every destination are based on knowledge gleaned from more than 50 years of space exploration. The images provide a taste of the awe-inspiring destinations that we may one day reach, from the oceans of Europa to the newly discovered planets of TRAPPIST-1, while captions draw our attention to the unusual craters, ridges, seas, and storms captured by orbiting satellites, landers, and rovers.
Like any good travel book, Jim Bell's guide gives you some good advice on what to bring and what to wear. Of course, we don't leave for a few hundred years. For now though, check out these images - the pictures alone will make you want to start packing! Bill Nye, CEO, The Planetary Society
The rainbow is a compelling spectacle in nature - a rare bridge between subjective experience and objective reality, and no less remarkable as a cultural phenomenon. A symbol of the Left since the German Peasants' War of the 1520s, it has been adopted by movements for gay rights, the environment, multiculturalism, and peace around the globe, and inspired poets, artists, and writers including John Keats, Caspar David Friedrich, Edgar Allan Poe, and Nathaniel Hawthorne.
The scientific 'discovery' of the rainbow is a remarkable tale that takes in ancient Greece and Rome, medieval Persia, and Islamic Spain. Rainbows have also been regarded as ominous or even dangerous in myth and religion, while the twentieth century saw their emergence as kitsch, from the musical film version of The Wizard of Oz to 1980s sitcoms and children's cartoons.
Daniel MacCannell's enlightening and instructive guide to the rainbow's relationship with humanity is the first book of its kind. It describes what rainbows are and how they work, how we arrived at our current scientific understanding of rainbows, and how they have been portrayed in myths, the arts, politics, and popular culture.
For the first time ever, an international coalition of leading researchers, scientists and policymakers has come together to offer a set of realistic and bold solutions to climate change. All of the techniques described here - some well-known, some you may have never heard of - are economically viable, and communities throughout the world are already enacting them.
From revolutionizing how we produce and consume food to educating girls in lower-income countries, these are all solutions which, if deployed collectively on a global scale over the next thirty years, could not just slow the earth's warming, but reach drawdown: the point when greenhouse gases in the atmosphere peak and begin to decline. So what are we waiting for?
The proposal that the impact of humanity on the planet has left a distinct footprint, even on the scale of geological time, has recently gained much ground. Global climate change, shifting global cycles of the weather, widespread pollution, radioactive fallout, plastic accumulation, species invasions, the mass extinction of species - these are just some of the many indicators that we will leave a lasting record in rock, the scientific basis for recognizing new time intervals in Earth's history. The "Anthropocene," as the proposed new epoch has been named, is regularly in the news.
Even with such robust evidence, the proposal to formally recognize our current time as the Anthropocene remains controversial both inside and outside the scholarly world, kindling intense debates. The reason is clear. The Anthropocene represents far more than just another interval of geologic time. Instead, the Anthropocene has emerged as a powerful new narrative, a concept through which age-old questions about the meaning of nature and even the nature of humanity are being revisited and radically revised.
This Very Short Introduction explains the science behind the Anthropocene and the many proposals about when to mark its beginning: the nuclear tests of the 1950s? The beginnings of agriculture? The origins of humans as a species? Erle Ellis considers the many ways that the Anthropocene's "evolving paradigm" is reshaping the sciences, stimulating the humanities, and foregrounding the politics of life on a planet transformed by humans. The Anthropocene remains a work in progress. Is this the story of an unprecedented planetary disaster? Or of newfound wisdom and redemption? Ellis offers an insightful discussion of our role in shaping the planet, and how this will influence our future on many fronts.
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.
Most of us are clueless when it comes to the physics that makes our modern world so convenient. What's the simple science behind motion sensors, touch screens and toasters? How do we enter our offices using touch-on passes or find our way to new places using GPS? In The Physics of Everyday Things, James Kakalios takes us on an amazing journey into the subatomic marvels that underlie so much of what we use and take for granted.
Breaking down the world of things into a single day, Kakalios engages our curiosity about how our refrigerators keep food cool, how a plane manages to remain airborne, and how our wrist fitness monitors keep track of our steps. Each explanation is coupled with a story revealing the interplay of the astonishing invisible forces that surround us. Through this 'narrative physics' The Physics of Everyday Things demonstrates that - far from the abstractions conjured by terms like the Higgs boson, black holes and gravity waves - sophisticated science is also quite practical. With his signature clarity and inventiveness, Kakalios ignites our imaginations and enthralls us with the principles that make up our lives.
'I propose to consider the question, 'Can machines think?' Alan Turing (1950) Part of the ALL-NEW Ladybird Expert series.
This book is for everyone living in the age of Artificial Intelligence. And this is an accessible and authoritative introduction to one of the most important conversations of our time . . .
Written by computer scientist Michael Wooldridge, Artificial Intelligence chronicles the development of intelligent machines, from Turing's dream of machines that think, to today's digital assistants like Siri and Alexa.
AI is not something that awaits us in the future. Inside you'll learn how we have come to rely on embedded AI software and what a world of ubiquitous AI might look like.
- The British mathematician Alan Turing - Can machines 'understand'? - Logical and Behavioural AI - The reality of AI today - AI tomorrow - And much more . . .
For an adult readership, the Ladybird Expert series is produced in the same iconic small hardback format pioneered by the original Ladybirds. Each beautifully illustrated book features the first new illustrations produced in the original Ladybird style for nearly forty years.
LONGLISTED FOR THE WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE 2018
A GUARDIAN SCIENCE BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017
The epic and controversial story of a major breakthrough in cell biology that led to the conquest of rubella and other devastating diseases.
Until the late 1960s, tens of thousands of children suffered crippling birth defects if their mothers had been exposed to rubella, popularly known as German measles, while pregnant. There was no vaccine and little understanding of how the disease devastated foetuses. In June 1962, a young biologist in Philadelphia produced the first safe, clean cells that made possible the mass-production of vaccines against many common childhood diseases. Two years later, in the midst of a German measles epidemic, his colleague developed the vaccine that would one day effectively wipe out rubella for good.
This vaccine - and others made with those cells - have since protected hundreds of millions of people worldwide, the vast majority of them preschool children. Meredith Wadman's account of this great leap forward in medicine is a fascinating and revelatory read.
Physics World Book of the Year 2017 Are women more nurturing than men? Are men more promiscuous than women? Are males the naturally dominant sex? And can science give us an impartial answer to these questions?
Taking us on an eye-opening journey through science, Inferior challenges our preconceptions about men and women, investigating the ferocious gender wars that burn in biology, psychology and anthropology. Angela Saini revisits the landmark experiments that have informed our understanding, lays bare the problem of bias in research, and speaks to the scientists finally exploring the truth about the female sex.
The result is an enlightening and deeply empowering account of women's minds, bodies and evolutionary history. Interrogating what these revelations mean for us as individuals and as a society, Inferior unveils a fresh view of science in which women are included, rather than excluded.
A call to action to prevent a brain health crisis - does for diet what Why We Sleep does for sleep 'One of the most exciting reads on brain health that I have ever come across ... I cannot recommend this book enough' - Dr Rupy Aujla, author of The Doctor's Kitchen We often talk about how our diets affect our fitness - but we don't discuss how they affect the hungriest organ in the body, the brain. And it has surprising dietary needs that differ from the rest of our body.
Brain Food uses cutting-edge research to highlight the connection between nutrition and our brain's health, busting through pseudoscience and demonstrating how we can all change our diet most effectively. Based partly on her own discoveries, and using emerging science, for example on the connection between the brain and the gut, Dr Lisa Mosconi, an expert in both neuroscience and nutrition, reveals the foods and drinks that can prevent dementia, stress, cognitive decline and memory loss - no matter how old we are.
Innovative and timely, and with accompanying brain-boosting recipes and lists of what to eat and what to avoid, Brain Food provides the ultimate plan for maximising our brain power.
'A critically important book. If you want to keep and save your brain you have to get your food right. Brain Food will help you do just that in a delicious, easy way' - Daniel G. Amen, author of Memory Rescue
While recognizing that quantum mechanics demands serious attention, Albert Einstein in 1926 admonished fellow physicist Max Born that the theory does not bring us closer to the secrets of the Old One. Aware that there are deep mysteries that Nature intends to keep for herself, Freeman Dyson, the 94-year-old theoretical physicist, has nonetheless chronicled the stories of those who were engaged in solving some of the most challenging quandaries of twentieth-century physics. Written between 1940 and the early 1980s, these letters to relatives form an historic account of modern science and its greatest players, including J. Robert Oppenheimer, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, and Hans Bethe. Whether reflecting on the horrors of World War II, the moral dilemmas of nuclear development, the challenges of the space program, or the considerable demands of raising six children, Dyson offers a firsthand account of one of the greatest periods of scientific discovery of our modern age.
Albert Einstein was an unparalleled scientific genius whose ideas and theories were so shockingly revolutionary, he changed the way the Universe was imagined on multiple occasions. A prodigy in his 20s and a Nobel Prize winner, Einstein was not only a brilliant physicist, but also a human rights campaigner, a political activist and the iconic archetype of the mad professor that still leads to our obsession with the man behind the world's most famous equation, E=mc2 30-Second Einstein provides you with a day in the company of a colossus from the world of science, and you will soon have his whole story - both his scientific attainments and his extraordinary life - in your head. With each page packed full of essential information, the 50 engaging entries get you to grips with his work, life and legacy, from atom to atomic bomb, at approximately the speed of light.
Isaac Newton is generally regarded as one of the greatest scientists in history, yet the spectrum of his interests was much broader than that of a contemporary scientist. He was deeply involved in alchemical, religious, and biblical studies, and in the later part of his life he played a prominent role in British politics, economics, and the promotion of scientific research. Newton's pivotal work Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica, which sets out his laws of universal gravitation and motion, is regarded as one of the most important works in the history of science.
Niccolo Guicciardini's enlightening biography offers an accessible introduction to Newton's celebrated work in mathematics, optics, and astronomy, and to how Newton viewed these scientific fields in relation to his quest for the deepest secrets of the universe, matter theory and religion. Guicciardini sets Newton the natural philosopher in the troubled context of the religious and political debates that took place during Newton's life, which spanned from the years of the Civil War to the Restoration, the Glorious Revolution, and the Hanoverian succession.
Taking into account the latest Newtonian scholarship, this fast-paced biography will appeal to all those with an interest in this iconic figure and the great scientific revolution of the early modern period.
The brain creates every feeling, emotion and desire we experience, and stores every one of our memories. And yet, until very recently, scientists believed our brains were fully developed in childhood. Now, thanks to imaging technology that enables us to look inside the living human brain at all ages, we know that this isn't so - that the brain goes on developing and changing right through adolescence into adulthood.
So what makes the adolescent brain different? What drives the excessive risk-taking or the need for intense friendships common to this age group? Why does an easy child become a challenging teenager? And why is it that many mental illnesses - depression, addiction, schizophrenia - begin during these formative years.
Drawing upon her cutting-edge research in her London laboratory, award-winning neuroscientist, Sarah-Jayne Blakemore explains what happens inside the adolescent brain, and what her team's experiments have revealed about our behaviour, and how we relate to each other and our environment as we ?go through this period of our lives. She shows that while adolescence is a period of vulnerability, it is also a time of enormous creativity - one that should be acknowledged, nurtured and celebrated.
Our adolescence provides a lens through which we can see ourselves anew. It is fundamental to how we invent ourselves.
The bestselling author of Dog Sense and Cat Sense explains why living with animals has always been a fundamental aspect of being human In this highly original and hugely enjoyable work, John Bradshaw examines modern humans' often contradictory relationship with the animal world. Why, despite the apparent irrationality of keeping pets, do half of today's American households, and almost that figure in the UK, have at least one pet (triple the rate of the 1970s)? Then again, why do we care for some animals in our homes, and designate others only as a source of food?
Through these and many other questions, one of the world's foremost anthrozoology experts shows that our relationship with animals is nothing less than an intrinsic part of human nature. An affinity for animals drove our evolution and now, without animals around us, we risk losing an essential part of ourselves.
One in a million doesn't even come close.
Not when we're talking about the odds that you would happen to be alive today, on this particular planet, hurtling through space. Almost fourteen billion years of cosmic history, over four billion years of Earth history, a couple million years of human history, the rise and fall of nations, the unbroken string of generations necessary to lead to youÂ it's staggering to consider. Yet behind everything in our world, from the phone in your pocket to even the force of gravity itself, lies a similarly grand procession of highly improbable events.
This panoramic viewpoint has captured the imagination of historians and scientists alike, and together they've created a new fieldÂ Big HistoryÂ that integrates traditional historical scholarship with scientific insights to study the full sweep of our universe and its past. Walter Alvarez brings his unique expertise and infectious curiosity to give us a new appreciation for the incredible occurrencesÂ from the Big Bang to the formation of supercontinents, the dawn of the Bronze Age, and beyondÂ that have led to our improbable place in the universe. 35 illustrations
'Her softness took my breath away. Deadly beauty. She turned her face towards me. The owl's massive facial disc produces a funnel for sound that is the most effective in the animal kingdom' Owls have captivated the human imagination for millennia. We have fixated on this night hunter as predator, messenger, emblem of wisdom, something pretty to print on a tote bag or portent of doom. Darlington sets out to tell a new story. Her fieldwork begins with wild encounters in the British Isles and takes her to the frosted borders of the Arctic. In her watching and deep listening to the natural world, she cleaves myth from reality and will change the way you think of this magnificent creature.
In Close Encounters with Humankind, paleoanthropologist Sang-Hee Lee explores some of our biggest evolutionary questions from unexpected new angles. Amongst other questions, she looks at what fossilised teeth tell us about our ancient life expectancy, what big data on fossils reveals about farming's problematic role in human evolution and how simple geometric comparisons of skull and pelvic fossils can suggest the origin of our social nature. Through a series of entertaining, bite-sized chapters, we gain new perspectives into our first hominin ancestors, our first steps on two feet, our first forays into toolmaking and hunting, and our continuing evolution. Lee's curious nature and surprising conclusions make Close Encounters with Humankind a delight to read.
For millennia, we have tried to explain ourselves using the raven as a symbol. It occupies a unique place in British history and has left an indelible mark on our cultural landscape.
The raven's hulking black shape has come to represent many things: death, all-seeing power, the underworld, and a wildness that remains deep within us. Legend has it that the fate of the nation rests upon the raven, and should the resident birds ever leave the Tower of London then the entire kingdom will fall.
While so much of our wildlife is vanishing, ravens are returning to their former habitats after centuries of exile, moving back from their outposts at the very edge of the country, to the city streets from which they once scavenged the bodies of the dead.
In A Shadow Above, Joe Shute follows ravens across their new hunting grounds, examining our complicated and challenging relationship with these birds. He meets people who live alongside the raven in conflict and peace, unpicks their fierce intelligence, and ponders what the raven's successful return might come to symbolise for humans in the dark times we now inhabit.
One spring, many years ago, Esther Woolfson's daughter rescued a fledgling rook. That rook, named Chicken, quickly established herself as part of the family, and other birds, including an irascible cockatiel and a depressive parrot, soon followed. But it was the corvids - members of the crow family - who amazed Woolfson with their personality and their capacity for affection.
This classic blend of memoir and natural history combines the author's fascination with all things avian, from the mechanics of flight to the science of birdsong, with her funny, tender stories of life among the birds.
Otters hold an almost unique place in the animal kingdom of the British Isles, being one of the very few creatures that give birth once every two years. They are the most secretive yet also the most popular mammals - they are found in every county but are so rarely seen that they have been raised to mythical status. When Simon Cooper bought an abandoned water mill that straddles a small chalkstream in southern England, little did he know that he would come to share the mill with a family of wild otters. Yet move in they did, allowing him to begin to observe them, soon immersing himself in their daily routines and movements. He developed an extraordinary close relationship with the family, which in turn gave him a unique insight into the life of these fascinating creatures.
Cooper interweaves the personal story of the female otter, Kuschta, with the natural history of the otter in the British Isles, only recently brought back from the brink of extinction through tireless conservation efforts. Following in the footsteps of Henry Williamson's classic 1920s tale Tarka the Otter, readers are taken on a journey through the calendar year, learning the most intimate detail of this most beautiful of British mammals. Cooper brings these beloved animals to life in all their wondrous complexity, revealing the previously hidden secrets of their lives in this beautifully told tale of the otter.
Eyes with more than 6,000 separate lenses; bodies so hairy that they attract pollen by static; the ability to communicate by dancing... bee stats are endlessly engrossing. And the bee is as important to the production of human food as any machine; without the bees to pollinate them, most of our crops would be dead in the field. So how did this furry little workaholic come to be so crucial to the planet? The Bee: A Natural History answers that question and many more, looking at bee development from 65 million years ago to today, when over 20,000 bee species have been identified and beekeeping is enjoying a surge in popularity. Exploring evolution, anatomy, society, behaviour, and the human factor, and presenting a visual directory of 40 bee breeds alongside practical fact panels, this is the book that will become a buzz word for every keeper, student, or lover of bees.
What if intelligent life on Earth evolved not once, but twice? The octopus is the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien. What can we learn from the encounter?
In Other Minds, Peter Godfrey-Smith, a distinguished philosopher of science and a skilled scuba diver, tells a bold new story of how nature became aware of itself - a story that largely occurs in the ocean, where animals first appeared.
Tracking the mind's fitful development from unruly clumps of seaborne cells to the first evolved nervous systems in ancient relatives of jellyfish, he explores the incredible evolutionary journey of the cephalopods, which began as inconspicuous molluscs who would later abandon their shells to rise above the ocean floor, searching for prey and acquiring the greater intelligence needed to do so - a journey completely independent from the route that mammals and birds would later take.
But what kind of intelligence do cephalopods possess? How did the octopus, a solitary creature with little social life, become so smart? What is it like to have eight tentacles that are so packed with neurons that they virtually `think for themselves'? By tracing the question of inner life back to its roots and comparing human beings with our most remarkable animal relatives, Godfrey-Smith casts crucial new light on the octopus mind - and on our own.
Sleep is one of the most important aspects of our life, health and longevity and yet it is increasingly neglected in twenty-first-century society, with devastating consequences: every major disease in the developed world - Alzheimer's, cancer, obesity, diabetes - has very strong causal links to deficient sleep.
In this book, the first of its kind written by a scientific expert, Professor Matthew Walker explores twenty years of cutting-edge research to solve the mystery of why sleep matters. Looking at creatures from across the animal kingdom as well as major human studies, Why We Sleep delves into everything from what really happens during REM sleep to how caffeine and alcohol affect sleep and why our sleep patterns change across a lifetime, transforming our appreciation of the extraordinary phenomenon that safeguards our existence.
Over half a billion years ago life on earth took an incredible step in evolution, when animals learned to build skeletons. Using many different materials, from calcium carbonate and phosphate, and even silica, to make shell and bone, they started creating the support structures that are now critical to most living forms, providing rigidity and strength. Manifesting in a vast variety of forms, they provided the framework for sophisticated networks of life that fashioned the evolution of Earth's oceans, land, and atmosphere. Within a few tens of millions of years, all of the major types of skeleton had appeared.
Skeletons enabled an unprecedented array of bodies to evolve, from the tiniest seed shrimp to the gigantic dinosaurs and blue whales. The earliest bacterial colonies constructed large rigid structures - stromatolites - built up by trapping layers of sediment, while the mega-skeleton that is the Great Barrier Reef is big enough to be visible from space. The skeletons of millions of coccolithophores that lived in the shallow seas of the Mesozoic built the white cliffs of Dover. These, and insects, put their scaffolding on the outside, as an exoskeleton, while vertebrates have endoskeletons. Plants use tubes of dead tissue for rigidity and transport of liquids - which in the case of tall trees need to be strong enough to extend 100 m or more from the ground. Others simply stitch together a coating from mineral grains on the seabed.
In Skeletons, Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams explore the incredible variety of the skeleton innovations that have enabled life to expand into a wide range of niches and lifestyles on the planet. Discussing the impact of climate change, which puts the formation of some kinds of skeleton at risk, they also consider future skeletons, including the possibility that we might increasingly incorporate metal and plastic elements into our own, as well as the possible materials for skeleton building on other planets.
Think of a number between one and ten.
No, hang on, let's make this interesting. Between zero and infinity. Even if you stick to the whole numbers, there are a lot to choose from - an infinite number in fact. Throw in decimal fractions and infinity suddenly gets an awful lot bigger (is that even possible?) And then there are the negative numbers, the imaginary numbers, the irrational numbers like p which never end. It literally never ends.
The world of numbers is indeed strange and beautiful. Among its inhabitants are some really notable characters - p, e, the "imaginary" number i and the famous golden ratio to name just a few. Prime numbers occupy a special status. Zero is very odd indeed: is it a number, or isn't it?
How Numbers Worktakes a tour of this mind-blowing but beautiful realm of numbers and the mathematical rules that connect them. Not only that, but take a crash course on the biggest unsolved problems that keep mathematicians up at night, find out about the strange and unexpected ways mathematics influences our everyday lives, and discover the incredible connection between numbers and reality itself.
Intended to provide undergraduate students with the background necessary for the study of calculus, this text by a distinguished mathematician offers a balanced treatment of theory and applications. Considerably more concise than most books in the field, it focuses on the structures of natural numbers, integers, and rational numbers. Each chapter features illustrative examples and notes. More than 1,000 exercises enrich the text, many with solutions.
'I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.' Richard Feynman wrote this in 1965 - the year he was awarded the Nobel prize in physics for his work on quantum mechanics.
Quantum physics is regarded as one of the most obscure and impenetrable subjects in all of science. But when Feynman said he didn't understand quantum mechanics, he didn't mean that he couldn't do it - he meant that's all he could do. He didn't understand what the maths was saying- what quantum mechanics tells us about reality.
Over the past decade or so, the enigma of quantum mechanics has come into sharper focus. We now realise that quantum mechanics is less about particles and waves, uncertainty and fuzziness, than a theory about information- about what can be known and how.
This is more disturbing than our bad habit of describing the quantum world as 'things behaving weirdly' suggests. It calls into question the meanings and limits of space and time, cause and effect, and knowledge itself.
The quantum world isn't a different world- it is our world, and if anything deserves to be called 'weird', it's us. This exhilarating book is about what quantum maths really means - and what it doesn't mean.
The Sunday Times Science Book of the Year 2017.
Gravity was the first force to be recognised and described yet it is still the least understood. If we can unlock its secrets, the force that keeps our feet on the ground holds the key to understanding the biggest questions in science: what is space? What is time? What is the universe? And where did it all come from?
Award-winning writer Marcus Chown takes us on an unforgettable journey from the recognition of the 'force' of gravity in 1666 to the discovery of gravitational waves in the twenty-first century. And, as we stand on the brink of a seismic revolution in our worldview, he brings us up to speed on the greatest challenge ever to confront physics.
Part of the ALL-NEW Ladybird Expert series.
The greatest discovery in the history of science is that the universe has not existed forever but was born. There was a day without a yesterday . . .
The Big Bang is an accessible, authoritative introduction for anyone looking to understand how the universe came to be.
Written by award-winning writer and former astrophysicist Marcus Chown, The Big Bang details how 13.82 billion years ago all matter, energy, space - and even time - erupted into being in a titanic fireball.
This mind-bending book addresses the big questions: What was the Big Bang? What drove the Big bang? And what happened before the Big Bang? The evidence for the Big Bang, it turns out, is all around us...
Inside you'll discover . . .
- What Einstein missed - Why the universe it expanding - The elements that made up the Big Bang - Where the universe came from - And much more . . .
Written by the leading lights and most outstanding communicators in their fields, the Ladybird Expert books provide clear, accessible and authoritative introductions to subjects drawn from science, history and culture.
For an adult readership, the Ladybird Expert series is produced in the same iconic small hardback format pioneered by the original Ladybirds. Each beautifully illustrated book features the first new illustrations produced in the original Ladybird style for nearly forty years.
Global adventurer Robbie Honey has spent the last ten years dissecting some of the worlds most exotic flowers. No plant is beyond his reach; whether growing deep in the Amazon rainforest or by the roadside in a Harare suburb, Robbie will jump, climb and clamber over whatever lies in his way to secure his floral prize. Dissecting the flower then and there, Robbie creates a miniature photographic portrait of each one following the traditional rules of botany, but with an aesthetic flair that transforms them into contemporary art.
Listening to birdsongs provides a huge amount of pleasure to people all around the world. But which species are the most melodious and produce the best songs? Expert sound-recordist and bird tour guide Hannu Jännes has travelled the world in search of birds and is uniquely qualified to decide. This beautifully illustrated and very useful book and APP combination brings together 80 of the most remarkable species from around the world.
Each has at least one photograph, along with descriptions of key ID features, habitat and distribution, as well as details of the songs and calls which can be heard on the APP. The APP incorporates hundreds of recordings of bird sounds from all over the world, which have been accumulated over a period of many decades.
Parrots have always captured the imagination of humans thanks to their bright plumage and ability to mimic speech. This beautifully illustrated book on the world's parrots explores all aspects of their lives, as well as the various parrot families and showcases beautiful photography from around the world. It will also look at threats facing parrots and conservation issues that are relevant. The text will be serious but also readable and accessible to a wide audience. The introduction includes sections on feeding, courtship, breeding and adaptations. There is a chapter on each parrot family, from the huge macaws and cockatoos to the diminutive hanging-parrots and parrotlets and including everything from the familiar budgerigar, which is known as a popular family pet around the world, to those species and families with special features, such as the Kea, Burrowing Parrot and Night Parrot. Closing chapters look at parrots and humans (banding, the pet trade etc), threats and conservation and give a comprehensive checklist of Parrot species and subspecies. In short this will be the best and most up to date book of its size available on the subject.It will appeal to all birdwatchers and nature-lovers everywhere, as well as to the people who keep parrots as pets and to the general public as a gift book.
Australia's introduced vertebrate pest species cost at least $1 billion annually in economic, environmental, and social impacts. The Guide to Introduced Pest Animals of Australia is a comprehensive, practical guide to 60 introduced pest animal species present in Australia, including 27 mammals, 18 birds, nine freshwater fish, two amphibians, and four reptiles. It contains descriptive information to identify each species in the field, including distinctive physical characteristics, size, weight, colouration, diet, breeding behaviour, habitat preferences, and information about footprints, dung, scats, and audible animal calls.
Each species profile is accompanied by practical management information, maps, and high-quality photographs - allowing readers to learn about pest species in their local area, what problems they might cause, and what control options exist for management. This guide also contains a number of emerging high-risk pest species that may pose a significant threat to our natural environment, economy, agriculture, and human health.
Whether you are a farmer, natural resource manager, public land manager, pest controller, teacher, student, field naturalist, or wildlife ecologist, this easy-to-use guide will help you identify Australia's most significant introduced pest animals in your local area.
Where did we come from? Where are we going?
Homo sapiens is the most successful, the most widespread and the most influential species ever to walk the Earth. In the blink of an evolutionary eye we have spread around the globe, taken control of Earth's biological and mineral resources, transformed the environment, discovered the secrets of the universe and travelled into space.
Yet just 7 million years ago, we were just another species of great ape making a quiet living in the forests of East Africa. We do not know exactly what this ancestor was like, but it was no more likely than a chimpanzee or gorilla to sail across the ocean, write a symphony, invent a steam engine or ponder the meaning of existence. How did we get from there to here?
Human Origins recounts the most astonishing evolutionary tale ever told. Discover how our ancestors made the first tentative steps towards becoming human, how we lost our fur but gained language, fire and tools, how we strode out of Africa, invented farming and cities and ultimately created modern civilisation - perhaps the only one of its kind in the universe. Meet your long-lost ancestors, the other humans who once shared the planet with us, and learn where the story might end.