New and forthcoming
** GUARDIAN SCIENCE BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017 **
It's invisible. It's ever-present. Without it, you would die in minutes. And it has an epic story to tell.
In Caesar's Last Breath, New York Times bestselling author Sam Kean takes us on a journey through the periodic table, around the globe, and across time to tell the story of the air we breathe, which, it turns out, is also the story of earth and our existence on it.
With every breath, you literally inhale the history of the world. On the ides of March, 44 BC, Julius Caesar died of stab wounds on the Senate floor, but the story of his last breath is still unfolding; in fact, you're probably inhaling some of it now. Of the sextillions of molecules entering or leaving your lungs at this moment, some might well bear traces of Cleopatra's perfumes, German mustard gas, particles exhaled by dinosaurs or emitted by atomic bombs, even remnants of stardust from the universe's creation.
Tracing the origins and ingredients of our atmosphere, Kean reveals how the alchemy of air reshaped our continents, steered human progress, powered revolutions, and continues to influence everything we do. Along the way, we'll swim with radioactive pigs, witness the most important chemical reactions humans have discovered, and join the crowd at the Moulin Rouge for some of the crudest performance art of all time. Lively, witty, and filled with the astounding science of ordinary life, Caesar's Last Breath illuminates the science stories swirling around us every second.
** AN IDEAL STOCKING FILLER FOR A YOUNG PERSON WITH AN OPEN AND ENQUIRING MIND. **
Part of the new Ladybird Expert series, Quantum Mechanics is a clear, simple and entertaining introduction to the weird, mind-bending world of the very, very small.
Written by physicist and broadcaster Professor Jim Al-Khalili, it explores all the key players, breakthroughs, controversies and unanswered questions of the quantum world.
You'll discover how the sun shines, why light is both a wave and a particle, the certainty of the Uncertainty Principle, Schrodinger's Cat, Einstein's spooky action, how to build a quantum computer, and why quantum mechanics drives even its experts completely crazy.
'Jim Al-Khalili has done an admirable job of condensing the ideas of quantum physics from Max Planck to the possibilities of quantum computers into brisk, straightforward English' The Times
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.
Other books currently available in the Ladybird Expert series include:
· Climate Change
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.
Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller, but even when he stays safely at home he can't contain his curiosity about the world around him. A Short History of Nearly Everything is his quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization - how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. Bill Bryson's challenge is to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry and particle physics, and see if there isn't some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science.
The ultimate eye-opening journey through time and space, A Short History of Nearly Everything is the biggest-selling popular science book of the 21st century, and reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.
* * * Winner of the 2014 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books * * *
Stuff Matters by Mark Miodnownik is a unique and inspiring exploration of human creativity.
'Enthralling. A mission to re-acquaint us with the wonders of the fabric that sustains our lives' Guardian
Everything is made of something...
From the everyday objects in our homes to the most extraordinary new materials that will shape our future, Stuff Matters reveals the inner workings of the man-made world, the miracles of craft, design, engineering and ingenuity that surround us every day.
From the tea-cup to the jet engine, the silicon chip to the paper clip, from the ancient technologies of fabrics and ceramic to today's self-healing metals and bionic implants, this is a book to inspire amazement and delight at mankind's creativity.
'A certain sort of madness may be necessary to pull off what he has attempted here, which is a wholesale animation of the inanimate: Miodownik achieves precisely what he sets out to' The Times
'Insightful, fascinating. The futuristic materials will elicit gasps. Makes even the most everyday substance seem exciting' Sunday Times
'Wonderful. Miodownik writes well enough to make even concrete sparkle' Financial Times
'I stayed up all night reading this book' Oliver Sacks
'Expert, deftly written, immensely enjoyable' Observer
Mark Miodownik is Professor of Materials and Society at UCL, scientist-in-residence on Dara O Briain's Science Club (BBC2) and presenter of several documentaries, including The Genius of Invention (BBC2). In 2010, he gave the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, broadcast on BBC4. He is Director of the UCL Institute of Making, which is home to a materials library containing some of the most wondrous matter on earth, and has collaborated to make interactive events with many museums, such as Tate Modern, the Hayward Gallery and Wellcome Collection. In 2014 Stuff Matters won the Royal Society Winton Prize.
The phenomenal Sunday Times bestseller Periodic Tales by Hugh Andersey-Williams, packed with fascinating stories and unexpected information about the building blocks of our universe.
Everything in the universe is made of them, including you.
Like you, the elements have personalities, attitudes, talents, shortcomings, stories rich with meaning.
Here you'll meet iron that rains from the heavens and noble gases that light the way to vice. You'll learn how lead can tell your future while zinc may one day line your coffin. You'll discover what connects the bones in your body with the Whitehouse in Washington, the glow of a streetlamp with the salt on your dinner table.
Unlocking their astonishing secrets and colourful pasts, Periodic Tales is a voyage of wonder and discovery, showing that their stories are our stories, and their lives are inextricable from our own.
'Science writing at its best. A fascinating and beautiful literary anthology, bringing them to life as personalities. If only chemistry had been like this at school. A rich compilation of delicious tales'Matt Ridley, Prospect
'A love letter to the chemical elements. Aldersey-Williams is full of good stories and he knows how to tell them well'Sunday Telegraph
'Great fun to read and an endless fund of unlikely and improbable anecdotes'Financial Times
'The history, science, art, literature and everyday applications of all the elements from aluminium to zinc' The Times
Hugh Aldersey-Williams studied natural sciences at Cambridge. He is the author of several books exploring science, design and architecture and has curated exhibitions at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Wellcome Collection. He lives in Norfolk with his wife and son.
What are things made of?
What is the sun?
Why is there night and day, winter and summer?
Why do bad things happen?
Are we alone?
Throughout history people all over the world have invented stories to answer profound questions such as these. Have you heard the tale of how the sun hatched out of an emu's egg? Or what about the great catfish that carries the world on its back? Has anyone ever told you that earthquakes are caused by a sneezing giant? These fantastical myths are fun - but what is the real answer to such questions?
The Magic of Reality, with its explanations of space, time, evolution and more, will inspire and amaze readers of all ages - young adults, adults, children, octogenarians. Teaming up with the renowned illustrator Dave McKean, Richard Dawkins answers all these questions and many more. In stunning words and pictures this book presents the real story of the world around us, taking us on an enthralling journey through scientific reality, and showing that it has an awe-inspiring beauty and thrilling magic which far exceed those of the ancient myths.
We encounter rainbows, our genetic ancestors, tsunamis, shooting stars, plants, animals, and an intriguing cast of characters in this extraordinary scientific voyage of discovery. Richard Dawkins and Dave McKean have created a dazzling celebration of our planet that will entertain and inform for years to come.
Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? Why did the Japanese kill Godzilla with missiles made of cadmium (Cd, 48)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie's reputation? And why did tellurium (Te, 52) lead to the most bizarre gold rush in history?
The periodic table is one of our crowning scientific achievements, but it's also a treasure trove of passion, adventure, betrayal and obsession. The fascinating tales in The Disappearing Spoon follow carbon, neon, silicon, gold and every single element on the table as they play out their parts in human history, finance, mythology, conflict, the arts, medicine and the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them.
Why did a little lithium (Li, 3) help cure poet Robert Lowell of his madness? And how did gallium (Ga, 31) become the go-to element for laboratory pranksters? The Disappearing Spoon has the answers, fusing science with the classic lore of invention, investigation, discovery and alchemy, from the big bang through to the end of time.
From the bestselling author of Everything Bad is Good for You, Steven Johnson's The Invention of Air tells the incredible story of scientist and radical Joseph Priestley, who invented soda water, discovered oxygen, and incited rioting with his political views.
In 1794, Joseph Priestley - amateur scientist, ordained minister and radical thinker - set sail for America to escape persecution. Steven Johnson tells his incredible story: the discovery of oxygen, the invention of a science, the founding of a church, and, with the great minds of his time, the development of the United States itself. But Priestley's revolutionary ideas put him in terrible danger.
Johnson uses the progress of Priestley and his colleagues not merely to describe the wonder of discovery, but to show us how we have come to understand the world, how far we have travelled with the power of human enquiry - and how one man's curiosity can help build an entire country.
'A shot of the purest oxygen'<br /> Simon Winchester
'Packed with excellent stuff'<br /> Russell Davies
'Entertaining ... clear-sighted and intelligent' <br /> New Yorker
'As full of ingenuity and as delightful as its subject'<br /> Financial Times
'Brilliant'<br /> The New York Times
'Johnson paints Priestley not as a man of the past but precisely the sort of figure the world needs more than ever' <br /> New York Post
Steven Johnson is the author of the acclaimed books Everything Bad is Good for You, Mind Wide Open, Where Good Ideas Come From, The Ghost Map, Emergence and Interface Culture. His writing appeared in the Guardian, the New Yorker, Nation and Harper's, as well as the op-ed pages of The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He is a Distinguished Writer In Residence at NYU's School Of Journalism, and a Contributing Editor to Wired.
At a moment of great discovery, one Big Idea can change the world...
Marie Curie had one of the finest scientific minds of the twentieth century, overturning established ideas in both physics and chemistry. She had an equally profound effect in the social arena, challenging the commonly held belief that women were intellectually inferior to men. Her work influenced current cancer research and her exploration of radioactivity was groundbreaking.
Curie & Radioactivity tells the captivating story of Curie's early life in which she worked as a governess to support her sister during medical school, through to her later life, as the first person ever honoured with Nobel Prizes in two different sciences. Her untimely death from cancer, due to overexposure to radium, marked the end of an exceptional career of a woman who was ahead of her time and never far from controversy. The Big Idea: Curie & Radioactivity is accessible and absorbing, placing Curie's remarkable life in the context of the times and rendering the essence of her unprecedented discoveries in a form comprehensible even to non-scientists.
The Big Idea series is a fascinating look at the greatest advances in our scientific history, and at the men and women who made these fundamental breakthroughs.