By Nathan H. Lents
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.
By Beau Lotto
World-renowned neuroscientist Beau Lotto reveals the truths of human perception and devises a cognitive toolkit for how to succeed in a world of uncertainty.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.
The Ascent of Gravity
By Marcus Chown
The Sunday Times Science Book of the Year 2017'Does Einstein proud . . . Eminently readable' Guardian'No one has covered the topic with such a light touch and joie de vivre . . . a delight' Brian CleggGravity 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.
A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived
By Adam Rutherford
'A brilliant, authoritative, surprising, captivating introduction to human genetics. You'll be spellbound' Brian CoxThis is a story about you. It is the history of who you are and how you came to be. It is unique to you, as it is to each of the 100 billion modern humans who have ever drawn breath. But it is also our collective story, because in every one of our genomes we each carry the history of our species - births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration and a lot of sex. In this captivating journey through the expanding landscape of genetics, Adam Rutherford reveals what our genes now tell us about human history, and what history can now tell us about our genes. From Neanderthals to murder, from redheads to race, dead kings to plague, evolution to epigenetics, this is a demystifying and illuminating new portrait of who we are and how we came to be.'A thoroughly entertaining history of Homo sapiens and its DNA in a manner that displays popular science writing at its best' Observer 'Magisterial, informative and delightful' Peter Frankopan'An extraordinary adventure...From the Neanderthals to the Vikings, from the Queen of Sheba to Richard III, Rutherford goes in search of our ancestors, tracing the genetic clues deep into the past' Alice Roberts
The Nature of Sex
By Dr Carin Bondar
Thought about sex today? Of course you have! It's about the most natural thing any animal can do. But have you ever wondered how human sex compares to that of other beasts? It's far from merely inserting part A into slot B. The sex lives of our animal cousins are fiendishly difficult, infinitely varied and often violent. They involve razor-sharp penises, murderous cannibals and chemical warfare in an epic battle between the sexes.Join renowned biologist Dr Carin Bondar on a fascinating journey from puberty to old age across the entire animal kingdom - it will forever change your idle daydreams about the nature of sex.
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.
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.
A Monstrous Commotion
By Gareth Williams
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.
Why Does Asparagus Make Your Wee Smell?
By Andy Brunning
Why does cooking bacon smell so good? Can cheese really give you bad dreams? Why do onions make you cry? Find out the answers in this illustrated compendium of amazing and easy-to-understand chemistry. Featuring 58 different questions, you will discover all sorts of wonderful science that affects us on daily basis. Andy Brunning opens up the chemical world behind the sensations we experience through food and drink - popping candy, hangovers, spicy chillies and many more. Exploring the aromas, flavours and bodily reactions with beautiful infographics and explanations, WHY DOES ASPARAGUS MAKE YOUR WEE SMELL? is guaranteed to satisfy curious minds. And did you know that nutmeg can make you hallucinate? Prepare to be astounded by chemical breakdown like never before.
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 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.
By Tim Spector
Professor Tim Spector reveals the astonishing new science that is changing everything we thought we knew about genes and identity. 'Lucid, surprising and with a very human face. It brings epigenetics alive ... a great read!' Michael MosleySince the discovery of DNA, scientists have believed that genes are fixed entities that cannot be changed by environment - we inherit them, pass them on to our children and take them with us when we die.Professor Tim Spector reveals how the latest genetic research and his own pioneering studies on epigenetics are rewriting everything we thought we knew about genes, identity and evolution. Conceptually, he explains, our genes are not fixed entities but more like plastic, able to change shape and evolve, and these changes can be passed on to future generations.Tim Spector's dazzling guide to the hidden world of our genes reveals the complex role they play in shaping our identities, and will make you think again about everything from sexuality to religion, cancer to autism, politics to pubic hair, clones to bacteria, and what it is that makes us all so unique and quintessentially human.
The Ageing Brain
By Lawrence Whalley
How and why our brains age, and what we can do to prevent brain ageing and mental deterioration.We joke about growing old. From the viewpoint of youth, old age holds few if any rewards - at best those of increased dignity and wisdom. But as Lawrence Whalley shows in this fascinating overview of the ageing brain, we now have cause to be optimistic about old age.In surveying the prospects of slowing or even preventing the worst effects of brain ageing, Whalley looks at the development of the brain and how this is influenced by environmental factors such as diet and stress; the biological and psychological mechanisms of brain injury and disease, and the range of possible treatments and preventatives; individual differences in brain ageing, and the relative roles of nature and nurture in determining our mental abilities.