By Tim James
SELECTED AS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2018 BY THE DAILY MAIL 'A hugely entertaining tour of the periodic table and the 118 elements that are the basic building blocks of everything' Daily MailIn 2016, with the addition of four final elements - nihonium, moscovium, tennessine and oganesson - to make a total of 118 elements, the periodic table was finally complete, rendering any pre-existing books on the subject obsolete.Tim James, the secondary-school science teacher we all wish we'd had, provides an accessible and wonderfully entertaining 'biography of chemistry' that uses stories to explain the positions and patterns of elements in the periodic table. Many popular science titles tend to tell the history of scientific developments, leaving the actual science largely unexplained; James, however, makes use of stories to explain the principles of chemistry within the table, showing its relevance to everyday life.Quirkily illustrated and filled with humour, this is the perfect book for students wanting to learn chemistry or for parents wanting to help, but it is also for anyone who wants to understand how our world works at a fundamental level. The periodic table, that abstract and seemingly jumbled graphic, holds (nearly) all the answers. As James puts it, elements are 'the building blocks nature uses for cosmic cookery; the purest substances making up everything from beetroot to bicycles.'Whether you're studying the periodic table for the first time or are simply interested in the fundamental building blocks of the universe - from the core of the sun to the networks in our brains - Elemental is the perfect guide.
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.
Einstein's Dice and Schrödinger's Cat
By Paul Halpern
When the fuzzy indeterminacy of quantum mechanics overthrew the orderly world of Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Erwin Schrödinger were at the forefront of the revolution. Neither man was ever satisfied with the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics, however, and both rebelled against what they considered the most preposterous aspect of quantum mechanics: its randomness. Einstein famously quipped that God does not play dice with the universe, and Schrödinger constructed his famous fable of a cat that was neither alive nor dead not to explain quantum mechanics but to highlight the apparent absurdity of a theory gone wrong. But these two giants did more than just criticize: they fought back, seeking a Theory of Everything that would make the universe seem sensible again.In Einstein's Dice and Schrödinger's Cat , physicist Paul Halpern tells the little-known story of how Einstein and Schrödinger searched, first as collabourators and then as competitors, for a theory that transcended quantum weirdness. This story of their quest,which ultimately failed,provides readers with new insights into the history of physics and the lives and work of two scientists whose obsessions drove its progress.Today, much of modern physics remains focused on the search for a Theory of Everything. As Halpern explains, the recent discovery of the Higgs Boson makes the Standard Model,the closest thing we have to a unified theory, nearly complete. And while Einstein and Schrödinger failed in their attempt to explain everything in the cosmos through pure geometry, the development of string theory has, in its own quantum way, brought this idea back into vogue. As in so many things, even when they were wrong, Einstein and Schrödinger couldn't help but get a great deal right.
Easy as Pi
By Liz Strachan
If you're brilliant at everything else, but lack confidence when it comes to maths, join Liz Strachan, a maths teacher with many, many years of experience, on this magical tour through the seeming mysteries of numbers, algebra and geometry.In the same inimitable, entertaining way she did in her previous bestselling books, A Slice of Pi and Numbers Are Forever, Liz will take readers from number-phobics to mathematical know-it-alls in no time at all. Peppered with absolutely terrible maths jokes and quirkily illustrated by Steven Appleby, this light-hearted but informative book will appeal to anyone with an enquiring mind.
End Of Science
By John Horgan
By Chad Orzel
Even in the twenty-first century the popular image of a scientist is a reclusive genius in a lab coat, mixing formulas or working out equations inaccessible to all but the initiated few. The idea that scientists are somehow smarter than the rest of us is a common, yet dangerous, misconception, getting us off the hook for not knowing,or caring,how the world works. How did science become so divorced from our everyday experience? Is scientific understanding so far out of reach for the non-scientists among us?As science popularizer Chad Orzel argues in Eureka , even the people who are most forthright about hating science are doing science, often without even knowing it. Orzel shows that science isn't something alien and inscrutable beyond the capabilities of ordinary people, it's central to the human experience. Every human can think like a scientist, and regularly does so in the course of everyday activities. The disconnect between this reality and most people's perception is mostly due to the common misconception that science is a body of (boring, abstract, often mathematical) facts. In truth, science is best thought of as a process: Looking at the world, Thinking about what makes it work, Testing your mental model by comparing it to reality, and Telling others about your results. The facts that we too often think of as the whole of science are merely the product of this scientific process. Eureka shows that this process is one we all regularly use, and something that everybody can do.By revealing the connection between the everyday activities that people do,solving crossword puzzles, playing sports, or even watching mystery shows on television,and the processes used to make great scientific discoveries, Orzel shows that if we recognize the process of doing science as something familiar, we will be better able to appreciate scientific discoveries, and use scientific facts and thinking to help address the problems that affect us all.
The Edge of the Sky
By Roberto Trotta
From the big bang to black holes, from dark matter to dark energy, from the origins of the universe to its ultimate destiny, The Edge of the Sky tells the story of the most important discoveries and mysteries in modern cosmology,with a twist. The book's lexicon is limited to the thousand most common words in the English language, excluding physics , energy , galaxy , or even universe . Through the eyes of a fictional scientist (Student-People) hunting for dark matter with one of the biggest telescopes (Big-Seers) on Earth (Home-World), cosmologist Roberto Trotta explores the most important ideas about our universe (All-there-is) in language simple enough for anyone to understand.A unique blend of literary experimentation and science popularization, this delightful book is a perfect gift for any aspiring astronomer. The Edge of the Sky tells the story of the universe on a human scale, and the result is out of this world.
Exercises for the Feynman Lectures on Physics
By Matthew Sands, Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton
Combined into one volume for the first time, the updated and clarified Exercises for the Feynman Lectures on Physics provides comprehensive, hands-on practice in all the most important areas of physics,from Newtonian mechanics through the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics.A perfect complement to The Feynman Lectures on Physics , these exercises have all been assigned in Caltech's mandatory two-year introductory physics course, either when Richard Feynman was teaching it, or during the nearly two decades that followed when The Feynman Lectures on Physics was used as the textbook. With this modern, easy-to-use volume, students of physics will have a chance to apply what they have learned in the Lectures and to enhance and reinforce the concepts taught by the inimitable Richard Feynman.
The Essential Galileo
By John Gribbin, Mary Gribbin
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was the first scientist in the modern use of the term. Instead of relying on the works of Aristotle, he actually carried out experiments to test theories - legend has it that one of his experiments involved throwing weights off the Leaning Tower of Pisa. His astronomical observations with the telescope shattered the idea that the Earth was at the centre of the Universe, and led to his trial for heresy. He had a great lust for life, three children by a woman he never married, a biting, sarcastic with and the friendship of princes and (in spite of his run in with Pope Urban VIII) cardinals. An introduction, afterword and clear chronological table place Galileo's work in the context of the development of scientific knowledge.
The Essential Einstein
By John Gribbin, Mary Gribbin
The definitive scientific icon of the twentieth century, Albert Einstein is remember for one equation, E=mc², and the image of a white-haired, pipe-smoking professor who didn't wear socks. But the equation comes from a time when all of his great work was done. The real Albert Einstein - the high school drop-out who won the Nobel Prize along with the hearts of so many young women - was young, handsome, dark haired and a natty dresser. And his greatest piece of work was so poorly understood at the time that the Nobel Committee, who couldn't understand it, but in a panic felt they ought to give him a prize for something, honoured him for something else. An introduction, afterword and clear chronological table place Einstein's work in the context of the development of scientific knowledge.
By Frances Moore Lappe
In EcoMind , Frances Moore Lappé,a giant of the environmental movement,confronts accepted wisdom of environmentalism. Drawing on the latest research from anthropology to neuroscience and her own field experience, she argues that the biggest challenge to human survival isn't our fossil fuel dependency, melting glaciers, or other calamities. Rather, it's our faulty way of thinking about these environmental crises that robs us of power. Lappé dismantles seven common thought traps",from limits to growth to the failings of democracy, that belie what we now know about nature, including our own, and offers contrasting thought leaps" that reveal our hidden power. Like her Diet for a Small Planet classic, EcoMind is challenging, controversial and empowering.
By Nick Mann, Theodore Gray
By Jay Jorgensen
All About Eve. Funny Face. Sunset Blvd. Rear Window. Sabrina. A Place in the Sun. The Ten Commandments. Scores of iconic films of the last century had one thing in common: costume designer Edith Head (1897-1981). She racked up an unprecedented 35 Oscar nods and 400 film credits over the course of a fifty-year career. Never before has the account of Hollywood's most influential designer been so thoroughly revealed,because never before have the Edith Head Archives of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences been tapped. This unprecedented access allows this book to be a one-of-a-kind survey, bringing together a spectacular collection of rare and never-before-seen sketches, costume test shots, behind-the- scenes photos, and ephemera.
By David Bodanis
For centuries, electricity was viewed as little more than a curious property of certain substances that sparked when rubbed. Then, in the 1790s, Alessandro Volta began the scientific investigation that ignited an explosion of knowledge and invention, transforming our world. The force that once seemed inconsequential was revealed to be responsible for everything from the structure of the atom to the functioning of our brains. A superb storyteller, Bodanis weaves tales of romance, divine inspiration, and fraud through lucid accounts of scientific breakthrough. The great discoverers come to life in all their brilliance and idiosyncrasy, including the visionary Michael Faraday, who struggled against the prejudices of the British class system, and Alexander Graham Bell, driven to invent by his love for a young deaf student. From the cold waters of the Atlantic, to the streets of Hamburg during a World War II firestorm and the interior of the human body, Electric Universe is a mesmerizing journey of discovery by a master science writer.
By Arthur J. Miller
The most important scientist of the twentieth century and the most important artist had their periods of greatest creativity almost simultaneously and in remarkably similar circumstances. This fascinating parallel biography of Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso as young men examines their greatest creations-Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon and Einstein's special theory of relativity. Miller shows how these breakthroughs arose not only from within their respective fields but from larger currents in the intellectual culture of the times. Ultimately, Miller shows how Einstein and Picasso, in a deep and important sense, were both working on the same problem.
The Epic History Of Biology
By Anthony Serafini
The search for our elusive human origins and an understanding of the mysteries of the human body have challenged the most inquisitive and imaginative thinkers from Egyptian times through the twentieth century. In The Epic History of Biology, Anthony Serafini - a distinguished philosopher and historian of science - regales the reader with the triumphs and failures of the geniuses of the life sciences. The subtleties of the animal kingdom - anatomy, zoology, and reproduction - along with the complexities of the plant kingdom, have fascinated humanity as far back as 5000 years ago. Astounding ancient knowledge of the arcane curing powers of herbs as well as early experimentation with different chemical combinations for such purposes as mummification led to today's biological technology. Innovative pioneers such as Aristotle, Galen, Hippocrates, and Vesalius challenged the limits of knowledge and single-mindedly pursued their work, often in the face of blind superstition. In superb, lyrical prose Serafini recreates the ideas and theories of these revolutionaries from ancient times through today, against the backdrop of the dogma and prejudices of their time. He explores the inspired revelations that gave birth to such discoveries as the controversial theory of evolution, the humble origins of genetics, the fantastic predictions of quantum mechanics, and the infinite promise of computer technology. Even today the biological sciences are undergoing rapid and kaleidoscopic changes. Every new insight gives rise to a myriad of new ethical questions and responsibilities. The Epic History of Biology confronts these issues head on and predicts the wondrous new directions biology will follow.
The Einstein Paradox
By Colin Bruce
In this marvellous book, the reader is introduced to the bizarre concepts of modern physics as the only way to solve a casebook of otherwise impossibly paradoxical crimes. Murder on a royal train. Divers dead of heatstroke at the bottom of an icy sea. An epidemic of insanity among the world's top scientists. This is the story of the great paradigm shifts of science, told as never before: in Sherlock Holmes adventures set amid the grandeur and squalor of Victorian London. Holmes, Watson, and other beloved characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle are challenged by mysteries, each of which hinges on a scientific paradox or principle. Colin Bruce has recreated the atmosphere of the original Sherlock Holmes stories to give a truly compulsive read. You won't even realize you've learned something until it's too late!
The End Of Physics
By David Lindley
For more than a century physicists have hoped that they were closing in on the Holy Grail of modern science: a unified theory that would make sense of the entire physical world, from the subnuclear realm of quarks and gluons to the very moment of creation of the universe. The End of Physics is a history of the attempts to find such a theory of everything" a forceful argument it will never be found and a warning that the compromises necessary to produce a final theory may well undermine the rules of good science.At the heart of Lindley's story is the rise of the particle physicists and their attempts to reach far out into the cosmos for a unifying theory. Working beyond the grasp of the largest telescopes or the most powerful particle accelerators, and unable to subject their findings and theories to experimental scrutiny, they have moved into a world governed entirely by mathematical and highly speculative theorizing, none of which can be empirically verified. Lindley argues that a theory of everything derived from particle physics will be full of untested,and untestable,assumptions. And if physicists yield to such speculation, the field will retreat from the high ground of science, becoming instead a modern mythology. This would mean the end of physics as we know it.