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I Contain Multitudes

Ed Yong (Author)

You contain 10 trillion of your own cells, but harbour ten times as many microbes.
You have around 23,000 genes, but the microbes inside you wield 100 times more.
In short, you are microbes or, more flatteringly, microbes in a human-shaped sack.

Microbes sculpt our organs, protect us from poisons, guide our behaviour and bombard us with their genes. But they also hold the key to understanding all life on earth.

In I Contain Multitudes, Ed Yong opens our eyes and invites us to marvel at what the world looks like when we know more about our inner ecosystems, our staggering multitudes, and the ground-breaking science behind them.

We learn the secret, invisible, and wondrous biology behind the corals that construct mighty reefs, the beetles that bring down forests and the squid that create their own light shows. We learn how bacteria can alter our response to cancer-fighting drugs, influence sexual preference, affect mental health and even modify our genetic make-up.

Through this new lens, all living things are suddenly connected. I Contain Multitudes will rearrange the way you think about science, and the way you think about yourself.

100 Years of Wildlife

Michael Bright (Author)

Ever since 1907, when a flickering film about birds enthralled a cinema audience, we've been fascinated by watching the natural world on film. For 100 years wildlife films have taken us to places and shown us things we would never be able to see - the excitement, the strangeness, the danger of the wild. Today, our interest in the wonders of the natural world is stronger than ever.

Accompanying the lavish BBC two-hour special, Top 100 Wildlife Moments dives into the archives to find the 100 wildlife moments that best celebrate the glories and the eccentricities of this astonishingly popular and enduring culture. Discover the history of the wildlife moving image: the first heady days when an ant juggling a matchbox was big box office; the charismatic and sometimes controversial celebrity presenters; the astonishing behaviour of animals and plants; the boggling oddities of nature; the animals now extinct that poignantly only exist on film.

Explore 100 years of revelation - from the black-and-white silent footage that started it all to the almost magical photography techniques seen today in programmes like Planet Earth. From famous faces of wildlife TV to extraordinary animal (and plant) behaviour, natural history filming has changed the way we look at and think about our world. It's all here - so weird, you couldn't make it up; so wonderful, you wouldn't want to miss it.

An Obsession With Butterflies

Sharman Apt Russell (Author)

From Hindu mythology to Aztec sacrifices, butterflies have served as a metaphor for resurrection and transformation. Even during World War II, children in a Polish death camp scratched hundreds of butterflies onto the wall of their barracks. But as Sharman Apt Russell points out in this rich and lyrical meditation, butterflies have above all been objects of obsession.

From the beastly horned caterpillar whose blood helps it count time, to the peacock butterfly with wings that hiss like a snake, Russell traces butterflies through their life cycles, exploring the creatures' own obsessions with eating, mating, and migrating. She reveals the logic behind our endless fascination with butterflies as well as the driving passion of such legendary collectors as the tragic Eleanor Glanville, whose children declared her mad because of her compulsive butterfly collecting, and the brilliant Henry Walter Bates, whose collections from the Amazon in 1858 helped develop his theory of mimicry in nature.

Russell also takes us inside some of the world's most prestigious natural history museums, where scientists painstakingly catalogue and categorize new species of Lepidoptera, hoping to shed light on insect genetics and evolutionAn Obsession with Butterflies is a luminous journey through an exotic world of strange beauty; a book to be treasured by anyone who's ever watched a butterfly mid-flight.

Our Final Century

Martin Rees (Author)

World authority on astrophysics, Sir Martin Rees, takes us on a journey through all the things which could wipe out mankind in the near future. From asteroids to disease to scientific discoveries gone wrong (from nanobots to the large Hadron collider) these are scenarios from disaster movies, analysed with a serious scientific eye. Some of these things definitely won't happen, some genuinely might this is one book you won't be able to put down and which you'll never forget.

Big Questions In Science

Harriet Swain (Author)

In this exciting new book, leading scientific thinkers address twenty of the really big questions that people have been asking for hundreds of years. Their answers are each put into context by commentaries discussing the differing views of other leading contemporary scientists and looking at how people have tackled the question in the past. The result is a breathtaking tour of scientific thought through the ages and a peek at some of the most cutting-edge and controversial research today.

Packed with fascinating insights, it shows how science is investigating problems that affect us all on a large scale and suggests that we are closer to finding solutions to some of life's big questions than we might think.

Contributors: John Polkinghorne, Martin Rees, John Barrow, Susan Blackmore, Susan Greenfield, Stephen LaBerge, Robert Plomin, Geoffrey Miller, Michael Rutter, Janet Radcliffe Richards, David M Buss, Dolf Zillmann, Mary Warnock, John Sulston, Ronald Melzack, Brian Heap, Michael Ruse, Colin Pillinger, John Leslie and Steven Rose.

Theories Of Everything

John D. Barrow (Author)

The Holy Grail of modern scientists is 'The Theory of Everything', which will contain all that can be known about the Universe - the magic formula that Einstein spent his life searching for and failed to find. In this elegant and exciting book, John D. Barrow challenges the quest for ultimate explanation.

Lifelines

Steven Rose (Author)

In Lifelines, neuroscientist Steven Rose offers a theory of life that insists that we as humans - along with all living creatures - create our own futures, though in circumstances not of our own choosing. Placing the organism at the centre of life, Rose directly confronts the ideology of reductionism and ultra-Darwinism, with its headline-grabbing insistence that all aspects of human life from sexual preference to infanticide, political orientation to violence, make domination to alcoholism, are in our genes and are the inevitable consequence of natural selection. Rose asserts that such claims are not merely socially naive, but fundamentally misunderstand the active and irreducible nature of living processes.

The Penguin Dictionary of Statistics

David Nelson (Author)

The Penguin Dictionary of Statistics is an accessible, comprehensive and up-to-date guide to the subject. This new reference book is ideal for students at school and university, and will be invaluable to students of disciplines such as economics, psychology and medicine who regularly use statistical methods, as well as those in the business community who want to understand the terminology.

The Quants

Scott Patterson (Author)

How would you feel if you outperformed the market, year after year?
Would you become convinced that the good times were here to stay, that nothing could possibly go wrong?
And how would you then feel if everything suddenly collapsed around you?

Quants - quantitative analysts - were the maths geniuses let loose in Wall Street's candy store, and this gripping narrative of talent and ambition follows their dizzying rise from the bottom of the Street's pecking order to its pinnacle. Their ascent was predicated on the belief that they had invented - and were fine-tuning - brilliant and impregnable computer programs that would always beat the market. Unfortunately, as the events of 2007 and 2008 showed all too clearly, these programs turned out to be ticking timebombs.

The story actually begins in the early 1960s, when a successful maths-professor-turned-gambler named Ed Thorp realised that skills learned at the Vegas tables could also be applied to the financial markets. He soon acquired followers and imitators who, over the next few decades, assumed positions of ever-greater power and influence. Clever, eccentric, often larger than life, they achieved extraordinary success and massive wealth. The Quants follows them from obscurity to boom and then to bust, explaining why they were so self-confident, and how they got it so disastrously wrong.

Dancing At The Dead Sea

Alanna Mitchell (Author)

After winning the Global Reuters IUCN media award for excellence in environmental reporting, Alanna Mitchell launches herself on an odyssey that takes her around the world, zeroing in on it's environmental hotspots. Travelling from Madagascar to the Middle East, from the Arctic to the Galapagos Islands, her goal is to explore how humanity can flourish without destroying the planet. She begins with a term of study at Oxford University where she studies Darwin's theories. Darwin challenged the idea that the earth and its species were created for man's benefit and succeeded in overturning the accepted view. Today, we are at a similar crossroads, one where we need to come to terms with the fact that all creation is not here for us, that we are but one species dependent on other species and planetary life-support systems for our own existence. As his theories of evolution changed the whole way of Victorian thinking, so Alanna sets out to persuade us that we can accept a similar seismic change and learn to treat our environment in a way that will prolong, rather than shorten its shelf life.

The Universe In A Nutshell

Stephen Hawking (Author)

Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time was a publishing phenomenon. Translated into thirty languages, it has sold over nine million copies worldwide. It continues to captivate and inspire new readers every year. When it was first published in 1988 the ideas discussed in it were at the cutting edge of what was then known about the universe. In the intervening years there have been extraordinary advances in our understanding of the space and time. The technology for observing the micro- and macro-cosmic world has developed in leaps and bounds. During the same period cosmology and the theoretical sciences have entered a new golden age. Professor Stephen Hawking has been at the heart of this new scientific renaissance.

Now, in The Universe in a Nutshell, Stephen Hawking brings us fully up-to-date with the advances in scientific thinking. We are now nearer than we have ever been to a full understanding of the universe. In a fascinating and accessible discussion that ranges from quantum mechanics, to time travel, black holes to uncertainty theory, to the search for science's Holy Grail - the unified field theory (or in layman's terms the 'theory of absolutely everything') Professor Hawking once more takes us to the cutting edge of modern thinking. Beautifully illustrated throughout, with original artwork commissioned for this project, The Universe in a Nutshell is guaranteed to be the biggest science book of 2001.

Rocket Dreams

Marina Benjamin (Author)

From the first landings on the moon to the implications of our cyber worlds, this unusual and intriguing book takes a provocative look at our fascination with space. Rocket Dreams is a fast-moving, fact-filled study of how all the dreams that went in to moonflight in the '60s have found new homes and mutated into new fascination with space. It is about our unquenchable desire to reach out to other worlds, physical and imaginative. From the Apollo astronauts to the military origins of the internet, and the whole phenomenon of 'virtual communities', it reveals how the ideals and longings pinned on cyberspace have evolved directly from those of the space age. Space dreams have been transformed into screen dreams, but the longing for communication with 'the other' lies at the heart of both.

They've Got Your Number...

Stephen Baker (Author)

In a world teeming with data, we ourselves become the maths gurus' most prized specimens.

In They've Got Your Number..., Stephen Baker takes us on a guided tour (no maths required) through an unprecedented new era. Much in the same way as neuroscientists are mapping our brains, mathematicians are mapping our behaviour - what we do, who we are, how we work, chat, play and shop - everything that makes us individuals. In doing so, they will change every aspect of our lives.

They've Got Your Number... examines one of the great undertakings of the twenty-first century - the mathematical modelling of humanity. It's a world that otherwise might seem remote or disconnected, but one which is absolutely relevant to our everyday lives.

Ganges

Jon Nicholson (Author)

The Ganges (Gang Ma or Great Mother) is the holiest river in the world. Rising from the pure glacial meltwaters of the Himalayas, it flows down onto India's northern plain and heads eastward into the swamplands of Bangladesh, finally discharging a vast, 500km (310-mile) tongue of silt into the Bay of Bengal.

As well as filling wells and irrigating crops to sustain the cities and villages along its banks, it is the spiritual life-blood of India's primary religion, Hinduism. Bathing in the Ganges remains the lifelong ambition of many of India's believing masses, who consider the river to be a living goddess. People gather daily at her banks to murmur prayers, baptise children, wash vibrantly coloured saris, drink her waters or simply die - believing such acts help absolve sins and lead the way to nirvana.

Ganges reveals the source of the river high in the Himalayas - the youngest mountain range in the world - and follows its route as it sharply incises the mountains on its journey southeast. Along the way, we discover the Hindu story of the river's creation and how it supports the myriad forms of life that thrive on its banks.

With stunning images by photographer Jon Nicholson and accompanying text by the producers of the BBC2 television series, Ganges is a true visual feast - as teeming with life and colour as the mighty river itself.

101 Incredible Experiments for the Shed Scientist

Rob Beattie (Author)

This funny and enchanting book bubbles with fantastical tricks, experiments and inventions - all of which can be conjured up from the seemingly innocuous world of the garden shed! Packed with over 100 ingenious projects, this magical book is guaranteed to interest and illuminate - as well as bring hours of uninterrupted fun and enjoyment. Whether you want to make slime, create glow-in-the-dark gherkins, make a teabag fly, build a static electricity flea circus, erect a homemade power station, construct a can crusher, create a hologram, make square bubbles or extract DNA from food, this book is a treasure trove of bright ideas that will bring out the secret sorcerer and scientist in everyone. And of course, all the experiments are tested, safe and easy to complete, to ensure that you and your shed don't disappear in a puff of smoke. Fully illustrated with antique artwork, this gem of a book is set to become another cult classic - welcome to the adventure of shed science!

Origin Of The Species

Charles Darwin (Author)

When the eminent naturalist Charles Darwin returned from South America on board the H.M.S Beagle in 1836, he brought with him the notes and evidence which would form the basis of his landmark theory of evolution of species by a process of natural selection. This theory, published as The Origin of Species in 1859, is the basis of modern biology and the concept of biodiversity. It also sparked a fierce scientific, religious and philosophical debate which still continues today.

The Fellowship

John Gribbin (Author)

From the bestselling author of Science: A History comes the enthralling story of a revolution that shook the world. Seventeenth-century England was racked by civil war, plague and fire; a world ruled by superstition and ignorance. A series of meetings of 'natural philosophers' in Oxford and London saw the beginning of a new method of thinking based on proof and experiment. John Gribbin's gripping, colourful account of this unparalleled time of discovery explores the impact of the Royal Society, culminating with Isaac Newton's revolutionary description of the universe and Edmund Halley's prediction of the return of a comet in 1759. This compelling book shows the triumph not as the work of one isolated genius, but of a Fellowship.

Why Does A Ball Bounce?

Adam Hart-Davis (Author)

Why does a ball bounce? Why does a balloon burst? How can a stone move on its own? Television scientist and historian Adam Hart-Davis brings you the answers to 100 essential questions about life, the universe and everything, fully illustrated with his own superb colour photographs. A passionate scientist, Adam's aim is to make complex ideas as easy to understand as possible, and his photographs are stunning in their simplicity: from spiders' webs to water drops, from sparks from a plug to a match igniting - you can see science in action and close up.

Galapagos

Paul D. Stewart (Author)

The Galapagos archipelago is made up of thirteen main islands and more than sixty other islets, rocks and reefs, scattered over four hundred kilometres of open ocean. Sitting at a confluence of four major ocean currents, the islands are actually the summits of vast undersea volcanoes, and are steadily on the march. How has such an odd assortment of life managed to find a footing in this unruly world? Micro-climates and altitude have combined to form discrete environmental zones: perfect habitats for the islands diverse fauna marine iguanas, petrels, blue-footed boobies and giant tortoises being but a famous few. Galapagos is a rare insight into an incredible landscape, a natural laboratory and an exquisite evolutionary habitat that Darwin described as a 'world within itself'. Both fragile and furious, the Galapagos is unlike any other place on earth.

A Land Of Ghosts

David Campbell (Author)

For thirty years David Campbell has been conducting ecological studies in the Brazilian Amazon. It is a place of extraordinary abundance: in the eighteen hectares of rainforest Campbell has studied are 20,000 individual trees of about 2,000 species - three times as many species of trees as there are in all of North America. And each tree is an ecosystem in itself, bearing fungi, lichens, mosses, reptiles, mammals, birds, spiders, scorpions, beetles and uncountable legions of insects. Campbell knows each tree on his study sites as an individual.

River of Light is the story of the Amazonian rainforest of Brazil, its flora and fauna, and of the people who try to live on this frontier so vast that they seem eclipsed by it - the colonists from eastern Brazil, the caboclos who eke out a living in the river or forest, and the Native Americans, who once understood every nuance of the forest and had a name for every one of its species, but are now dislocated and confused, coveting Western ways but unable to grasp them. These people, wittingly or unwittingly, are destroying the forest, and Campbell's book is at once a description of a world that is vanishing fast and a plea for its survival.

In The Crystal Desert, his first, highly-praised book, David Campbell wrote about Antarctica, a place where only a handful of species have managed to climb ashore and survive. In the Amazon Valley there are more species of lichens, liverworts, mosses and algae on a single palm leaf than there are growing on the entire continent of Antarctica. It is a fine canvas for Campbell to paint his extraordinary word pictures upon.

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