The Amorous Heart
By Marilyn Yalom
The symmetrical, exuberant heart is everywhere: it gives shape to candy, pendants, the frothy milk on top of a cappuccino, and much else. How can we explain the ubiquity of what might be the most recognizable symbol in the world?In The Amorous Heart, Marilyn Yalom tracks the heart metaphor and heart iconography across two thousand years, through Christian theology, pagan love poetry, medieval painting, Shakespearean drama, Enlightenment science, and into the present. She argues that the symbol reveals a tension between love as romantic and sexual on the one hand, and as religious and spiritual on the other. Ultimately, the heart symbol is a guide to the astonishing variety of human affections, from the erotic to the chaste and from the unrequited to the conjugal.
How Much Brain Do We Really Need?
By Jenny Barnett, Alexis Willett
Your brain is shrinking. Does it matter?How Much Brain Do We Really Need? challenges us to think differently about the brain. Rather than just concentrating on the many wonderful things it can do, this entertaining insight into the complexities and contradictions of the human brain asks whether in fact we can live satisfactorily without some of it.The bad news is that our brains start to shrink from our mid-thirties. But the good news is that we still seem to generally muddle along and our brain is able to adapt in extraordinary ways when things going wrong.Alexis Willett and Jennifer Barnett shed light on what the human brain can do - in both optimal and suboptimal conditions - and consider what it can manage without. Through fascinating facts and figures, case studies and hypothetical scenarios, expert interviews and scientific principles, they take us on a journey from the ancient mists of time to the far reaches of the future, via different species and lands.Is brain training the key to healthy ageing? Do women really experience 'baby brain'? Is our brain at its evolutionary peak or do we have an even more brilliant future to look forward to? We discover the answers to these questions and more.
The Shaping of Us
By Lily Bernheimer
What makes everyday spaces work, how do they shape us, and what do they say about us?The spaces we live in - whether public areas, housing, offices, hospitals, or cities - mediate community, creativity, and our very identity, making us who we are. Using insights from environmental psychology, design, and architecture, The Shaping of Us reveals the often imperceptible ways in which our surroundings influence our behaviour.Wide-ranging and global examples cover the differences between personalities and nationalities, explore grass-roots and mainstream efforts to build environments promoting well-being, and look ahead to what will become of us if we don't listen closely to what we know is good for us.You will learn whether you are a natural 'prospector' or 'refuger' in the office environment, what roundabouts and stoplights say about British and American culture, whether you are guilty of NIMBYism or being drawn to 'ruin porn', and how the half-house may be a common sight in the near future.The environments we inhabit define our identities - from the earliest moments of our evolution to the worlds we build around ourselves.
Good For Nothing
By Abigail Marsh
Titled The Fear Factor in the USAIf humans are fundamentally good, why do we engage in acts of great cruelty? If we are evil, why do we sometimes help others at a cost to ourselves? Whether humans are good or evil is a question that has plagued philosophers and scientists for as long as there have been philosophers and scientists.Many argue that we are fundamentally selfish, and only the rules and laws of our societies and our own relentless efforts of will can save us from ourselves. But is this really true? Abigail Marsh is a social neuroscientist who has closely studied the brains of both the worst and the best among us-from children with psychopathic traits whose families live in fear of them, to adult altruists who have given their own kidneys to strangers. Her groundbreaking findings suggest a possibility that is more optimistic than the dominant view. Humans are not good or evil, but are equally (and fundamentally) capable of good and evil.In Good for Nothing Marsh explores the human capacity for caring, drawing on cutting edge research findings from clinical, translational and brain imaging investigations on the nature of empathy, altruism, and aggression and brings us closer to understanding the basis of humans' social nature.
By Susan Blackmore
Essential reading for anyone seeking to understand their own mind and to find a spiritual path that is compatible with science As an impressionable young student, Susan Blackmore had an intense, dramatic and life-changing experience, seeming to leave her body and travel the world. With no rational explanation for her out-of-body experience (OBE) she turned to astral projection and the paranormal, but soon despaired of finding answers. Decades later, a Swiss neurosurgeon accidentally discovered the spot in the brain that can induce OBEs and everything changed; this crucial spot is part of the brain's self-system and when disturbed so is our experience of self. Blackmore leaped back into OBE research and at last began to unravel what had happened to her. Seeing Myself describes her long quest for answers through spirituality, religion, drugs, meditation, philosophy and neuroscience. Anyone can have an OBE, indeed 15 per cent of us have. Even more have experienced sleep paralysis, lucid dreaming and the creepy sense of an invisible presence. At last, with the advent of brain stimulation, fMRI scanning and virtual reality, all these phenomena are beginning to make sense. Long relegated to the very fringes of research, the new science of out-of-body experiences is now contributing to our understanding of consciousness and our very selves.
Ten Women Who Changed Science, and the World
By Catherine Whitlock, Rhodri Evans
Ten Women Who Changed Science tells the moving stories of the physicists, biologists, chemists, astronomers and doctors who helped to shape our world with their extraordinary breakthroughs and inventions, and outlines their remarkable achievements.These scientists overcame significant obstacles, often simply because they were women their science and their lives were driven by personal tragedies and shaped by seismic world events. What drove these remarkable women to cure previously incurable diseases, disprove existing theories or discover new sources of energy? Some were rewarded with the Nobel Prize for their pioneering achievements - Madame Curie, twice - others were not and, even if they had, many are not household names.Despite living during periods when the contribution of women was disregarded, if not ignored, these resilient women persevered with their research, whether creating life-saving drugs or expanding our knowledge of the cosmos. By daring to ask 'How?' and 'Why?' and persevering against the odds, each of these women, in a variety of ways, has made the world a better place.AstronomyHenrietta Leavitt (United States of America) (1868-1921) - discovered the period-luminosity relation(ship) for Cepheid variable stars, which enabled us to measure the size of our Galaxy and the Universe.Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin (United Kingdom/United States of America) (1900-1979) - showed that the Sun, and hence the Universe, is composed mainly of hydrogen.PhysicsLise Meitner (Austria) (1878-1968) - fled Nazi Germany in 1938, taking with her the experimental results which showed that she and Otto Hahn had split the nucleus and discovered nuclear fission. Chien-Shiung Wu (United States of America) (1912-1997) - Chinese-American who disproved one of the most accepted 'laws of nature', that not all processes can be mirrored. She showed that the 'law of parity', the idea that a left-spinning and right-spinning sub-atomic particle would behave identically, was wrong.ChemistryMarie Curie (France) (1867-1934) - the only person in history to have won Nobel prizes in two different fields of science. Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (United Kingdom) (1910-1994) - British chemist who won the Nobel prize for Chemistry in 1964. Among the most prominent of a generation of great protein crystallographers. The field was revolutionized under her. She pioneered the X-ray study of large molecules of biochemical importance: the structures of cholesterol, penicillin, vitamin B12 and insulin, leading to DNA structure analysis by Franklin etc.MedicineVirginia Apgar (United States of America) (1909-1974) - of Apgar Score fame.Gertrude Elion (United States of America) (1918-1999) - won the Nobel Prize for Physiology/Medicine in 1988 for developing some important principles for drug development.BiologyRita Levi-Montalicini (Italy) (1909-2012) - the so-called 'Lady of the Cells'. She won the Nobel Prize for Physiology/Medicine in 1986 for her co-discovery in 1954 of NGF (nerve growth factor).Elsie Widdowson (United Kingdom) (1906-2000) - a pioneer of the science of nutrition who was instrumental in devising the WW2 diet, in part through self-experimentation.
Einstein's Greatest Mistake
By David Bodanis
Widely considered the greatest genius of all time, Albert Einstein revolutionised our understanding of the cosmos with his general theory of relativity and helped to lead us into the atomic age. Yet in the final decades of his life he was also ignored by most working scientists, his ideas opposed by even his closest friends. This stunning downfall can be traced to Einstein's earliest successes and to personal qualities that were at first his best assets. Einstein's imagination and self-confidence served him well as he sought to reveal the universe's structure, but when it came to newer revelations in the field of quantum mechanics, these same traits undermined his quest for the ultimate truth. David Bodanis traces the arc of Einstein's intellectual development across his professional and personal life, showing how Einstein's confidence in his own powers of intuition proved to be both his greatest strength and his ultimate undoing. He was a fallible genius. An intimate and enlightening biography of the celebrated physicist, Einstein's Greatest Mistake reveals how much we owe Einstein today - and how much more he might have achieved if not for his all-too-human flaws.
No Need for Geniuses
By Steve Jones
Paris at the time of the French Revolution was the world capital of science. Its scholars laid the foundations of today's physics, chemistry and biology. They were true revolutionaries: agents of an upheaval both of understanding and of politics. Many had an astonishing breadth of talents. The Minister of Finance just before the upheaval did research on crystals and the spread of animal disease. After it, Paris's first mayor was an astronomer, the general who fought off invaders was a mathematician while Marat, a major figure in the Terror, saw himself as a leading physicist. Paris in the century around 1789 saw the first lightning conductor, the first flight, the first estimate of the speed of light and the invention of the tin can and the stethoscope. The metre replaced the yard and the theory of evolution came into being. The city was saturated in science and many of its monuments still are. The Eiffel Tower, built to celebrate the Revolution's centennial, saw the world's first wind-tunnel and first radio message, and first observation of cosmic rays.Perhaps the greatest Revolutionary scientist of all, Antoine Lavoisier, founded modern chemistry and physiology, transformed French farming, and much improved gunpowder manufacture. His political activities brought him a fortune, but in the end led to his execution. The judge who sentenced him - and many other researchers - claimed that 'the Revolution has no need for geniuses'. In this enthralling and timely book Steve Jones shows how wrong this was and takes a sideways look at Paris, its history, and its science, to give a dazzling new insight into the City of Light.
I Love My Computer Because My Friends Live in It
By Jess Kimball Leslie
I Love My Computer Because My Friends Live in It is tech analyst Jess Kimball Leslie's hilarious, frank homage to the technology that contributed so significantly to the person she is today. From accounts of the lawless chat rooms of early AOL to the perpetual high school reunions that are modern-day Facebook and Instagram, her essays paint a clear picture: That all of us have a much more twisted, meaningful, emotional relationship with the online world than we realize or let on. Coming of age in suburban Connecticut in the late '80s and early '90s, Jess looked to the nascent Internet to find the tribes she couldn't find IRL: fellow Bette Midler fans; women who seemed impossibly sure of their sexuality; people who worked with computers every day as part of their actual jobs without being ridiculed as nerds. It's in large part because of her embrace of an online life that Jess is where she is now: happily married, with a wife, son, and dog, and making a living of analyzing Internet trends and forecasting the future of tech. She bets most people would credit technology for many of their successes, too, if they could only shed the notion that it's as a mind-numbing drug on which we're all overdosing.
I Had to Survive
By Dr. Roberto Canessa, Pablo Vierci
On 12 October 1972, a Uruguayan Air Force plane carrying members of the 'Old Christians' rugby team (and many of their friends and family members) crashed into the Andes mountains. I Had to Survive offers a gripping and heartrending recollection of the harrowing brink-of-death experience that propelled survivor Roberto Canessa to become one of the world's leading paediatric cardiologists.Canessa, a second-year medical student at the time, tended to his wounded teammates amidst the devastating carnage of the wreck and played a key role in safeguarding his fellow survivors, eventually trekking with a companion across the hostile mountain range for help.This fine line between life and death became the catalyst for the rest of his life.This uplifting tale of hope and determination, solidarity and ingenuity gives vivid insight into a world famous story. Canessa also draws a unique and fascinating parallel between his work as a doctor performing arduous heart surgeries on infants and unborn babies and the difficult life-changing decisions he was forced to make in the Andes. With grace and humanity, Canessa prompts us to ask ourselves: what do you do when all the odds are stacked against you?
Can't Just Stop
By Sharon Begley
'Filled with emotionally resonant stories, Can't Just Stop helps us understand not only the underpinnings of some forms of mental illness, but also the everyday worries that drive so much of our behaviour. A fascinating peek into the human mind in our age of anxiety.'David Kessler, author of Capture: Unraveling the Mystery of Mental Suffering Do you check your smartphone continuously for messages? Or perhaps do the weekly shop with military precision? Maybe you always ensure the cutlery is perfectly lined up on the table?Compulsion is something most of us have witnessed in daily life. But compulsions exist along a broad continuum, and at the opposite end of these mild forms are life-altering disorders.Sharon Begley's meticulously researched book is the first of its kind to examine the science behind both mild and extreme compulsive behaviour; using fascinating case studies to understand their deeper meaning and reveal the truth about human compulsion - that it is a coping response to varying degrees of anxiety.Through the personal stories of dozens of interviewees exhibiting behaviours such as OCD, hoarding, compulsive acquiring, exercise or even altruism, Begley employs genuine compassion and gives meaningful context to their plight. Along the way she explores the role of compulsion in our fast paced culture, the neuroscience behind it, and strange manifestations of the behaviour throughout history. Can't Just Stop makes compulsion comprehensible and accessible, exploring how we can realistically grapple with it in ourselves and in those we love.
Theodore Gray's Completely Mad Science
By Theodore Gray
Bestselling author Theodore Gray has spent more than a decade dreaming up, executing, photographing, and writing about extreme scientific experiments, which he then published between 2009 and 2014 in his monthly Popular Science column "Gray Matter." Previously published in book form by Black Dog in two separate volumes (Mad Science and Mad Science 2), these experiments, plus 5 more all-new ones, will now be combined in one complete book.Packaged in a smaller, chunkier format Completely Mad Science is 432 pages of dazzling chemical demonstrations, illustrated in spectacular full-color photographs. Some of the completely mad experiments in the book include: Casting a model fish out of mercury (demonstrating how this element behaves very differently depending upon temperature); the famous Flaming Bacon Lance that can cut through steel (demonstrating the amount of energy contained in fatty foods like bacon); creating nylon thread out of pure liquid by combining molecules of hexamethylenediamine and sebacoyl chloride; making homemade ice cream using a fire extinguisher and a pillow case; powering your iPhone using 150 pennies and an apple, and many, many more. It's the ultimate collection for Gray's millions of fans.
Vern Yip's Design Wise
By Vern Yip
WHAT MAKES A HOME BOTH SMART AND BEAUTIFUL?Have you ever wondered exactly how high to hang your artwork? How about the light fixture over your dining table?Do you know how to ideally size a rug for any room, or the best way to arrange your furniture? Trusted designer Vern Yip answers these questions, and more, by revealing the right formulas and measurements that can make any room feel just right." And once you know these key design principles, you're free to confidently create a home that uniquely celebrates your needs and style. Vern shares his favourite insider tips, and opens his doors to show how he's made them work in his own beloved homes. Vern Yip's Design Wise provides both the inspiration and the clear, essential guidelines you need to create a home that perfectly reflects you.