New and forthcoming

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.

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

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.

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.

Hello World

Hannah Fry

Hannah Fry takes us on a tour through the good, the bad, and the downright ugly of the algorithms that surround us. In Hello World she lifts the lid on their inner workings, demonstrates their power, exposes their limitations, and examines whether they really are an improvement on the humans they replace.

· You are accused of a crime. Who would you rather decides your future – an algorithm or a human? The algorithm will always be more consistent; less prone to an error of judgement. Then again, at least a human can look you in the eye before determining your fate. How much fairness are you willing to sacrifice for that human touch?
· Is helping doctors to diagnose patients more or less important than preserving our anonymity?
· Should we prevent people from becoming victims of crime, or is it more important to protect innocent people from being falsely accused?

This is the story of a not-too-distant future, and the dilemmas we’ll face in the age of the algorithm. We’re creating a world where the machine rules supreme, telling us what to watch, where to go, even who to send to prison. As we increasingly rely on them to automate big, important decisions – in healthcare, transport, money - they raise questions that cut to the heart of what we want our society to look like, forcing us to decide what matters most.

Liquid

Mark Miodownik

Sometimes explosive, often delightful, occasionally poisonous, but always fascinating, discover the secret lives of liquids, with New York Times bestselling author Mark Miodownik.

A series of glasses of transparent liquids is in front of you: but which will quench your thirst and which will kill you? And why? Why does one liquid make us drunk, and another power a jumbo jet?

From the bestselling author of Stuff Matters comes a fascinating tour of the world of these surprising or sinister substances - the droplets, heart beats and ocean waves we all encounter every day. Structured around a plane journey which sees encounters with water, wine, oil and more, Miodownik shows that liquids are agents of death and destruction as well as substances of wonder and fascination, and - just as in his bestseller Stuff Matters - his unique brand of scientific storytelling brings them and their mysterious properties alive in a captivating new way.

The Sky at Night: The Book of the Moon

Maggie Aderin-Pocock

How well do you know our closest neighbour?

The moon has fascinated humankind since the beginning of history. But far from being just a big rock out in space, the Moon has a phenomenal power over the earth, with it‘s ability to create great waves, dictate the length of the day and summon the seasons. It is a key player in the story of our planet.

In this unique celebration of the Moon, Dr Maggie Aderin Pocock takes readers on a journey through the Moon’s past, present and future. She uncovers the way the Moon has captured our imaginations, contemplates how it was formed, and uncovers why we need the Moon to protect our fragile earth. Drawing on the latest scientific research, she then looks forward to what might be to come – will we return to the moon or will it become a launch pad to go into the great unknown?

Filled with fascinating facts and anecdotes, and written with warmth and passion, The Book of the Moon is for scientists and stargazers alike. You'll never look at our closest neighbour in the same way again.

Skin

Monty Lyman

In Skin, Monty Lyman takes us on a journey around the largest organ in the human body. He first explores the terrain of the physical skin, picking out the facts from the fiction, and giving a fascinating insight into the skin's many vital functions. He takes us on a 'safari', where we meet the many and varied microorganisms and bacteria which inhabit our skin, many of which perform vital health-giving functions and some of which can kill us.

Does our diet affect our skin? What makes the skin age? Is it possible to prevent hair loss? And then Monty explores the intriguing hinterland between the skin and the mind, from the pain and pleasure of touch to the effects of stress.

Including case histories taken from Monty's experience around the world - from East Africa to New Zealand and everywhere in between - this is the skin as you've never experienced it before. Fascinating and jaw-dropping popular science for readers of Adventures in Human Being.

Origins

Lewis Dartnell

Why is the world the way it is?

What forces have forged our planet and how have they in turn governed our evolution, influenced the rise and fall of civilisations through history, and ultimately shaped the story of humanity?

Lying imperceptibly beneath everything we encounter in the modern world is a vast architecture of causal links, chains of consequences that explain why things are the way they are. Origins is the story of this connectivity; it’s not about what we’ve done to our environment, but about what our environment has done to us.

We'll range from the deep roots behind everyday realities, like why do most of us eat cereal for breakfast, to the profound factors that enabled life to make transitions in evolution. These questions and their answers will take us via the make-up of our anatomy and the geography of the Mediterranean coastline, to the production of cocaine and the importance of volcanoes. With unquenchable curiosity, Lewis Dartnell shows us history that goes back far before the existence of historical records, relying instead on scientific clues like the tell-tale signs preserved in ancient rocks, revealed in our genes, or observed through a telescope.

Origins unravels the story of humanity by exposing this vast web of connections that stretch deep into the past, that explain our present and that will inform how we face the challenges of the future.

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.

How to Speak Science

Bruce Benamran

Be curious, and take the time to get it.

Benamran's on a mission to provide us all with a much deeper understanding of the world we live in. For him, science is about stories and characters. Why, for instance, did pirates wear eye patches? That's all to do with how the retina processes light. Pirates running down to the gun deck would have no time to let their eyes get used to the dark, so they kept one eye gun-deck ready.

Be curious, and with Bruce as your guide, you'll learn how to question things, how to be mindful of the scientific wonders that surround our daily lives. Embrace the principles of thermodynamics, electromagnetism, classical mechanics and relativity and you'll see the world in a different light.