River Out of Eden
By Richard Dawkins, Richard Dawkins, Richard Dawkins
The river of Dawkins's title is a river of DNA, flowing through time from the beginning of life on earth to the present - and onwards. Dawkins explains that DNA must be thought of as the most sophisticated information system imaginable: 'Life is just bytes and bytes of information,' he writes. Using this perspective, he describes the mechanisms by which evolution has taken place, gradually but inexorably, over a period of three thousand million years. It is the story of how evolution happens, rather than a narrative of what has actually happened in evolution. He discusses current views on the process of human evolution, including the idea that we all trace back to a comparatively recent African 'Eve', and speculates that the 'information explosion' that was unleashed on Earth when DNA came into being has almost certainly happened in other places in the universe.A bite-sized science classic, narrated by the author.(p) 1998 Orion Publishing Group
The Human Brain
By Susan Greenfield
Locked away remote from the rest of the body in its own custom-built casing of skull bone, with no intrinsic moving parts, the human brain remains a tantalising mystery. But now, more than ever before, we have the expertise to tackle this mystery - the last 20 years have seen astounding progress in brain research. Susan Greenfield begins by exploring the roles of different regions of the brain. She then switches to the opposite direction and examines how certain functions, such as movement and vision, are accommodated in the brain. She describes how a brain is made from a single fertilized egg, and the fate of the brain is traced through life as we see how it constantly changes as a result of experience to provide the essence of a unique individual.
Words And Rules
By Steven Pinker
One of the world's science superstars presents a brilliantly illuminating, entertaining and cutting-edge account of how language actually works.How does language work? How do children learn their mother tongue? Why do languages change over time, making Chaucer's English almost incomprehensible? Steven Pinker explains the profound mysteries of language by picking a deceptively simple single phenomenon and examining it from every angle. That phenomenon - the existence of regular and irregular verbs - connects an astonishing array of topics in the sciences and humanities: the history of languages; the illuminating errors of children as they begin to speak; the sources of the major themes in the history of Western philosophy; the latest techniques in identifying genes and imaging the living brain. Pinker makes sense of all of this with the help of a single, powerful idea: that language comprises a mental dictionary of memorized words and a mental grammar of creative rules.
The Burning Answer
By Keith Barnham
Our civilisation stands on the brink of catastrophe. Our thirst for energy has led to threats from global warming, nuclear disaster and conflict in oil-rich countries. We are running out of options.Solar power, Keith Barnham argues, is the answer. In this eye-opening book, he shows how a solar revolution is developing based on one of Einstein's lesser known discoveries, one that gave us laptop computers and mobile phones. An accessible guide to renewable technology and a hard-hitting critique of the arguments of solar sceptics, The Burning Answer outlines a future in which the fuel for electric cars will be generated on our rooftops. It is, above all, an impassioned call to arms to join the solar revolution before it's too late.
The Diet Myth
By Tim Spector
Why do most diets fail? Why does one person eat a certain meal and gain weight, while another eating the same meal loses pounds? Why, despite all the advice about what to eat, are we all still getting fatter?The answers are much more surprising - and fascinating - than we've been led to believe. The key to health and weight loss lies not in the latest fad diet, nor even in the simple mantra of 'eat less, exercise more', but in the microbes already inside us. Drawing on the latest science and his own pioneering research, Professor Tim Spector demystifies the common misconceptions about fat, calories, vitamins and nutrients. Only by understanding what makes our own personal microbes tick can we overcome the confusion of modern nutrition, and achieve a healthy gut and a healthy body.
The Life Scientific: Explorers
By Anna Buckley
Inspiring life stories from BBC Radio 4's hit series The Life ScientificA Sunday Times Science Book of the Year 2018'In showing non-scientists why science offers so many paths to discovery it has no equal' Gillian Reynolds, TelegraphBased on Jim Al-Khalili's ground-breaking interviews, The Life Scientific: Explorers takes science out of its box and introduces us to the men and women who make it happen.The explorers featured in this volume include: Michele Dougherty, the mathematician who persuaded the Cassini mission to Saturn to make a diversion; Richard Fortey on his love of trilobites; Monica Grady, Meteorite Lady; neurosurgeon Henry Marsh on slicing through our thoughts; the Director of the British Antarctic Survey, Jane Francis; Jocelyn Bell Burnell describing how she missed out on a Nobel Prize; Brian Cox on quantum mechanics; and Nobel Prize winner John Sulston on why he thought it would be a good idea to sequence the human genome.
Guide To The Architecture Of London
By Edward Jones, Christopher Woodward
'The definitive guide to London's architecture' INDEPENDENT London has an unrivalled richness of architecture, from its squares and houses to its palaces and churches. This is the only guide to cover all of London's building history, from its Roman foundation to the massive expansion of the 19th century which made London the largest city on earth.
A Monstrous Commotion
By Gareth Williams, Andrew Cullum
The Loch Ness Monster: a creature that should have died out with the dinosaurs, or a legend built on hoaxes and wishful thinking?Sir Peter Scott, internationally renowned naturalist and president of the World Wildlife Fund, was convinced that the Monster existed. So were senior scientists at London's Natural History Museum and Chicago University; they lost their jobs because they refused to renounce their belief in the creature. For decades, the scientific establishment was determined to quash attempts to investigate Loch Ness - until Nature, the world's greatest research journal, published an article by Peter Scott featuring underwater photographs of the Monster. Drawing extensively on new material, Gareth Williams takes a wholly original look at what really happened in Loch Ness. A Monstrous Commotion tells the story as never before: a gripping saga populated by colourful characters who do extraordinary things in pursuit of one of evolution's wildest cards.Meticulously researched and dazzlingly written, this book will appeal to anyone fascinated by nature and its mysteries - and to everyone who enjoys a beautifully crafted detective story with a strong cast of heroes and villains, plenty of twists and an unexpected ending.Read by Andrew Cullum,with a postscript read by the author.(p) 2016 Orion Publishing Group
By Nathan H. Lents, L. J. Ganser
We like to think of ourselves as highly evolved creatures. But if we are evolution's greatest creation, why are we so badly designed? We have retinas that face backward, the stump of a tail, and way too many bones in our wrists. We must find vitamins and nutrients in our diets that other animals simply make for themselves. Millions of us can't reproduce successfully without help from modern science. We have nerves that take bizarre paths, muscles that attach to nothing, and lymph nodes that do more harm than good. And that's just the beginning of the story.As biologist Nathan H. Lents explains, our evolutionary history is a litany of mistakes, each more entertaining and enlightening than the last. As we will discover, by exploring human shortcomings, we can peer into our past, because each of our flaws tells a story about our species' evolutionary history.A rollicking, deeply informative tour of our four-billion-year-long evolutionary saga, Human Errors both celebrates our imperfections - for our mutations are, in their own way, a testament to our species' greatness - and offers an unconventional accounting of the cost of our success.Read by L.J. Ganser(p) Tantor Media 2018
By Beau Lotto, Beau Lotto
Perception is the foundation of human experience, but few of us understand how our own perception works. By revealing the startling truths about the brain and perception, Beau Lotto shows that the next big innovation is not a new technology: it is a new way of seeing.In his first major book, Beau Lotto draws on over a decade of pioneering research to show how our brains play tricks on us. With an innovative combination of case studies and optical and perception illusion exercises, DEVIATE will revolutionise the way you see the world. With this new understanding of how the brain works and its perceptive trickery, we can apply these insights to every aspect of life and work. DEVIATE is not just an engaging look into the neuroscience of thought, behaviour and creativity: it is a call to action, enlisting readers in their own journey of self-discovery.(p) 2017 Hachette Audio
The Ascent of Gravity
By Marcus Chown, Adjoa Andoh
Gravity is the weakest force in the everyday world yet it is the strongest force in the universe. It was the first force to be recognised and described yet it is the least understood. It is a 'force' that keeps your feet on the ground yet no such force actually exists.Gravity, to steal the words of Winston Churchill, is 'a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma'. And penetrating that enigma promises to answer 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 2015. 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.Read by Adjoa Andoh(p) 2017 Orion Publishing Group
Journey to the Centre of the Earth
By David Whitehouse
The journey to the centre of the earth is a voyage like no other we can imagine.Over 3,000 km below the earth's surface an extraordinary inner world the size of Mars awaits us.Dive through the molten iron of the outer core and eventually you will reach a solid sphere - an iron-clad world held within a metal sea and unattached to anything above.At the earth's core is the history of our planet written in temperature and pressure, crystals and minerals . . . Our planet appears tranquil from outer space. And yet the arcs of volcanoes, the earthquake zones and the auroral glow rippling above our heads are testimony to something remarkable happening inside . . .For thousands of years these phenomena were explained in legend and myth. Only in recent times has the brave new science of seismology emerged. One hundred and fifty years after the extraordinary, imaginative feat of Jules Verne's JOURNEY TO THE CENTRE OF THE EARTH, David Whitehouse embarks on a voyage of scientific discovery into the heart of our world.
By Ian Stewart, Ian Stewart
Why do many flowers have five or eight petals, but very few six or seven? Why do snowflakes have sixfold symmetry? Why do tigers have stripes but leopards have spots?Mathematics is to nature as Sherlock Holmes is to evidence. Mathematics can look at a single snowflake and deduce the atomic geometry of its crystals; it can start with a violin string and uncover the existence of radio waves. And mathematics still has the power to open our eyes to new and unsuspected regularities - the secret structure of a cloud or the hidden rhythms of the weather. There are patterns in the world we are now seeing for the first time - patterns at the frontier of science, yet patterns so simple that anybody can see them once they know where to look.(p) 1997 Orion Publishing Group