New and forthcoming

Realtime

Kevin Fong

Within minutes of the crash, you land at the scene. But nothing can prepare you for what you now find. So what do you do?

Professor Kevin Fong flies with the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, making split-second, life-or-death decisions in the most extreme circumstances. In this gripping blend of memoir and reportage, he confronts a disturbing truth: sometimes even the best trained expert cannot know the right thing to do.

Telling stories of astonishing skill and catastrophic error, he shows that our ability to move at ever greater speeds in ever greater safety comes with a bitter irony: when something goes wrong – as it must – reacting quickly and effectively enough is now beyond human capability. Reflecting on his own dramatic experiences and those of war medics, pilots and surgeons, Fong considers how we might come to terms with the mess and blur of real decisions made in realtime.

Skin

Monty Lyman

Perched on the exterior of our delicate and intricate body, we see our skin, touch it and live in it every moment of our lives. And yet how often do we consider what the skin has to deal with, faced with the joys and terrors, pleasures and pain of the outside world?

Everything that hits us strikes our skin first - it is a habitat for a mesmerizingly complex world of micro-organisms and its physical functions are vital to our health and survival.

Everyone who sees us, views our skin first - it is a doorway to ideas of identity, imbued with social significance and psychological meaning.

Whether male or female, old or young, we all have unanswered questions about this underrated and overlooked organ. Does our diet affect our skin? What makes the skin age? Why can’t we tickle ourselves? Through the lenses of science, sociology and history Skin: An intimate journey across uur outer covering explores the comedy, tragedy and exquisite humanity of the skin.

Hooked

Michael Moss

When is food addictive, and under what circumstances? Why do some people succumb to compulsive overeating more than others? How is it that so many others become vulnerable to food compulsions at critical moments in their lives? And what can be done to cope with or, in the case of kids, avoid food addictions?

As American-style processed foods transform the culture and habits of eating all over the world, Michael Moss explores food addiction and the obesity epidemic. Going behind the scenes of the most important food science experiments being conducted today, this book answers those pressing questions.

From revealing the science of addiction (and its legal implications) to exposing the diet industry, Hooked unveils the shocking true cost of food addiction.

The Penguin Book of Outer Space Exploration

John Logsdon

Among all the technological accomplishments of the last century, none has captured our imagination more deeply than the movement of humans into outer space. From Sputnik to SpaceX, the story of that journey is told as never before in The Penguin Book of Outer Space Exploration.

Renowned space historian John Logsdon has uncovered the most fascinating items in the NASA archive and woven them together with expert narrative guidance to create a history of how Americans got to space and what they've done there. Beginning with rocket genius Wernher von Braun's vision for voyaging to Mars and closing with Elon Musk's contemporary plan to get there, this volume traces major events like the founding of NASA, the first American astronauts in space, the moon landings, the Challenger disaster, the daring Hubble Telescope repairs and more.

Good Reasons for Bad Feelings

Randolph M. Nesse

One of the world's most respected psychiatrists provides a much-needed new evolutionary framework for making sense of mental illness

With his classic book Why We Get Sick, Randolph Nesse established the field of evolutionary medicine. Now he returns with a book that transforms our understanding of mental disorders by exploring a fundamentally new question. Instead of asking why certain people suffer from mental illness, Nesse asks why natural selection has left us with fragile minds at all.

Drawing on revealing stories from his own clinical practice and insights from evolutionary biology, Nesse shows how negative emotions are useful in certain situations, yet can become excessive. Anxiety protects us from harm in the face of danger, but false alarms are inevitable. Low mood prevents us from wasting effort in pursuit of unreachable goals, but it often escalates into pathological depression. Other mental disorders, such as addiction and anorexia, result from the mismatch between modern environments and our ancient human past. Taken together, these insights and many more help to explain the pervasiveness of human suffering, and show us new paths for relieving it.

Good Reasons for Bad Feelings will fascinate anyone who wonders how our minds can be so powerful, yet so fragile, and how love and goodness came to exist in organisms shaped to maximize Darwinian fitness.

Face to Face

Jim McCaul

Think how much of your identity and sense of self is vested in the face you see in the bathroom mirror every morning. Now imagine that face being so ravaged by cancer, an accident, a fall, a beating, a car crash or a gunshot wound that it is barely recognizable.

Now imagine how it might feel if, after surgery, the person you remember, but had given up all hope of seeing again, is looking back at you from the mirror once more.

Over the years, maxillofacial surgeon Jim McCaul has helped countless individuals make this journey. This extraordinary book follows the stories of some of these patients whom he has saved from terrible illness and life-changing injuries – and some he wasn’t able to. We follow the epic and complex surgical procedures his job requires him to perform daily, where the margin for error is to all intents and purposes zero.

Face to Face takes us on a journey which includes the most high-tech and complex of microsurgical procedures as well as the facial reconstruction techniques pioneered during the First World War. But at its heart are the human stories of the patients for whom this treatment is often quite literally a matter of life and death.

Origins

Lewis Dartnell

Why do so many of us eat cereal for breakfast?

Is it because we like the taste? Because it's so readily available?

Or because 20 millions years ago, a certain species of plant colonised the same hospitable land that humanity did?

Why is the world the way it is? If we follow chains of explanation as far back as they go – and keep asking, like a curious child, ‘Why? Why? But WHY?’ – the answers become more and more amazing. We reach the point where history becomes science.

In this ultimate origin story, Professor Lewis Dartnell investigates how the fabric and activity of our planet have governed our evolution, influenced civilisations over millennia, and continue to shape our lives today.

Plate tectonics and ancient climate change, atmospheric circulation and ocean currents – Origins unravels the human story by exposing vast webs of connections that stretch deep into the past, underwrite our modern world and help us face the challenges of the future.

It may even change how you look at your bowl of cereal tomorrow morning…

Earth from Space

Michael Bright (and others)

You don't know home until you leave it.

With over 200 spectacular images, including astonishing satellite images and stills from the BBC Natural History Unit’s footage, Earth from Space reveals our planet as you’ve never seen it before.

For decades we competed to be the first to reach space, but it was when we looked back at Earth that we were truly awestruck. Now, for the first time, using advanced satellite images we can show the earth’s surface, its mega structures, weather patterns and natural wonders in breathtaking detail.

From the colours and patterns that make up our planet to the mass migrations and seismic changes that shape it, Earth from Space sheds new light on the planet we call home. It reveals the intimate stories behind the breathtaking images, following herds of elephants crossing the plains of Africa and turtles travelling on ocean currents that are invisible at unless seen from space. The true colours of our blue planet are revealed, from the striped tulip fields of Holland to the green swirl of a plankton super bloom that attracts a marine feeding frenzy. Whether it's the world’s largest beaver dam – so remote it was only discovered through satellite imagery – or newly formed islands born from volcanic eruptions, discover a new perspective on our ever-changing planet.

Guns, Germs and Steel

Jared Diamond

PATTERNED PLANET: SPECIAL EDITIONS OF GROUNDBREAKING SCIENCE BOOKS

Why has human history unfolded so differently across the globe? In this Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Jared Diamond puts the case that geography and biogeography, not race, moulded the contrasting fates of Europeans, Asians, Native Americans, sub-Saharan Africans, and aboriginal Australians. An ambitious synthesis of history, biology, ecology and linguistics, Guns, Germs and Steel remains a ground-breaking and humane work of popular science.

Sapiens

Yuval Noah Harari

PATTERNED PLANET: SPECIAL EDITIONS OF GROUNDBREAKING SCIENCE BOOKS

Planet Earth is 4.5 billion years old. In just a fraction of that time, one species among countless others has conquered it. Us. We are the most advanced and most destructive animals ever to have lived. What makes us brilliant? What makes us deadly? What makes us Sapiens?

In this bold and provocative book, Yuval Noah Harari explores who we are, how we got here and where we’re going. Sapiens is a thrilling account of humankind’s extraordinary history – from the Stone Age to the Silicon Age – and our journey from insignificant apes to rulers of the world.

'Unbelievably good. Jaw dropping from the first word to the last' Chris Evans, BBC Radio 2

Adventures in the Anthropocene

Gaia Vince

PATTERNED PLANET: SPECIAL EDITIONS OF GROUNDBREAKING SCIENCE BOOKS

In recent decades human beings have altered the planet beyond anything it has experienced in its 4.5 billion-year history. We have become a force on a par with earth-shattering asteroids and planet-cloaking volcanoes. As a result, our planet is said to be crossing a geological boundary – from the Holocene into the Anthropocene, or the Age of Man.

Gaia Vince quit her job to travel the world and to explore what all these changes really mean to our daily lives. She discovers the shocking ways in which we have reshaped our living planet and reveals the ingenious solutions we’ve evolved to engineer Earth for the future.

Humble Pi

Matt Parker

Matt Parker, the brilliant stand-up mathematician, shows us what happens when maths goes wrong in the real world

We would all be better off if everyone saw mathematics as a practical ally. Sadly, most of us fear maths and seek to avoid it. This is because mathematics doesn't have good 'people skills' - it never hesitates to bluntly point out when we are wrong. But it is only trying to help! Mathematics is a friend which can fill the gaps in what our brains can do naturally.

Luckily, even though we don't like sharing our own mistakes, we love to read about what happens when maths errors make the everyday go horribly wrong. Matt Parker explores and explains near misses and mishaps with planes, bridges, the internet and big data as a way of showing us not only how important maths is, but how we can use it to our advantage. This comedy of errors is a brilliantly told series of disaster stories with a happy ending.