By Rowan Hooper
This is a book about what it feels like to be exceptional - and what it takes to get there. Why can some people achieve greatness when others can't, no matter how hard they try? What are the secrets of long life and happiness? Just how much potential does our species have?In this inspirational book, New Scientist Managing Editor Rowan Hooper takes us on a tour of the peaks of human achievement. We sit down with some of the world's finest minds, from a Nobel-prize winning scientist to a double Booker-prize winning author; we meet people whose power of focus has been the difference between a world record and death; we learn from international opera stars; we go back in time with memory champions, and we explore the transcendent experience of ultrarunners. We meet people who have rebounded from near-death, those who have demonstrated exceptional bravery, and those who have found happiness in the most unexpected ways.Drawing on interviews with a wide range of superhumans as well as those who study them, Hooper assesses the science of peak potential, reviewing the role of genetics alongside the famed 10,000 hours of practice.For anyone who ever felt that they might be able to do something extraordinary in life, for those who simply want to succeed, and for anyone interested in incredible human stories, Superhuman is a must-read.
The Shaping of Us
By Lily Bernheimer
"You are going to be transported by what Bernheimer has to say. You'll make different decisions and figure out how your brain is working and what should be prioritized in your life" Jo Good, BBC LondonWhat 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.
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.
Superstition and Science
By Derek Wilson
'A dazzling chronicle, a bracing challenge to modernity's smug assumptions' - Bryce Christensen, Booklist'O what a world of profit and delightOf power, of honour and omnipotenceIs promised to the studious artisan.'Christopher Marlowe, Dr FaustusBetween the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, Europe changed out of all recognition and particularly transformative were the ardent quest for knowledge and the astounding discoveries and inventions which resulted from it. The movement of blood round the body; the movement of the earth round the sun; the velocity of falling objects (and, indeed, why objects fall) - these and numerous other mysteries had been solved by scholars in earnest pursuit of scientia. Several keys were on offer to thinkers seeking to unlock the portal of the unknown:Folk religion had roots deep in the pagan past. Its devotees sought the aid of spirits. They had stores of ancient wisdom, particularly relating to herbal remedies. Theirs was the world of wise women, witches, necromancers, potions and incantations.Catholicism had its own magic and its own wisdom. Dogma was enshrined in the collective wisdom of the doctors of the church and the rigid scholastic system of teaching. Magic resided in the ranks of departed saints and the priestly miracle of the mass.Alchemy was at root a desire to understand and to exploit the material world. Practitioners studied the properties of natural substances. A whole system of knowledge was built on the theory of the four humours.Astrology was based on the belief that human affairs were controlled by the movement of heavenly bodies. Belief in the casting of horoscopes was almost universal.Natural Philosophy really began with Francis Bacon and his empirical method. It was the beginning of science 'proper' because it was based on observation and not on predetermined theory.Classical Studies. University teaching was based on the quadrivium - which consisted largely of rote learning the philosophy and science current in the classical world (Plato, Aristotle, Galen, Ptolemy, etc.). Renaissance scholars reappraised these sources of knowledge.Islamic and Jewish Traditions. The twelfth-century polymath, Averroes, has been called 'the father of secular thought' because of his landmark treatises on astronomy, physics and medicine. Jewish scholars and mystics introduced the esoteric disciplines of the Kabbalah.New Discoveries. Exploration connected Europeans with other peoples and cultures hitherto unknown, changed concepts about the nature of the planet, and led to the development of navigational skills.These 'sciences' were not entirely self-contained. For example physicians and theologians both believed in the casting of horoscopes. Despite popular myth (which developed 200 years later), there was no perceived hostility between faith and reason. Virtually all scientists and philosophers before the Enlightenment worked, or tried to work, within the traditional religious framework. Paracelsus, Descartes, Newton, Boyle and their compeers proceeded on the a príori notion that the universe was governed by rational laws, laid down by a rational God.. This certainly did not mean that there were no conflicts between the upholders of different types of knowledge. Dr Dee's neighbours destroyed his laboratory because they believed he was in league with the devil. Galileo famously had his run-in with the Curia.By the mid-seventeenth century 'science mania' had set in; the quest for knowledge had become a pursuit of cultured gentlemen. In 1663 The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge received its charter. Three years later the French Academy of Sciences was founded. Most other European capitals were not slow to follow suit. In 1725 we encounter the first use of the word 'science' meaning 'a branch of study concerned either with a connected body of demonstrated truths or with observed facts systematically classified'. Yet, it was only nine years since the last witch had been executed in Britain - a reminder that, although the relationship of people to their environment was changing profoundly, deep-rooted fears and attitudes remained strong.
A Slice of Pi
By Liz Strachan
A new look at maths without the Boring Bits . . .How many trillions are there in a googol? Which fractions are vulgar? What famous mathematician refused to eat beans? And which one never travelled without his pet spider in an ivory box?Mathematical theorems and equations are inextricably entangled with the great, and often eccentric thinkers who made breakthrough discoveries. Teacher and numbers expert Liz Strachan takes readers beyond the classroom, combining anecdotes, proofs and party tricks to reveal the foundations of algebra, geometry and trigonometry in a clear and entertaining style.From the Difference Engine to magic squares and from the Fibonacci rabbits to Fermat's Last Theorem, this fascinating tour of the weird world of numbers, imaginary, real or infinite, will appeal to anyone with an enquiring mind.
The Social Brain
By Richard Crisp
Is conflict caused by an inherently hostile human nature? Are efforts to promote peaceful co-existence fated to fail? Is the story of human history destined to play out a clash of civilizations?These are the questions framing contemporary debate over diversity, immigration and multiculturalism. The Social Brain provides an entirely new psychological perspective on this debate. It argues that diversity is critical to our very survival as a species; that contact with different cultures was, and is, the essential element that fuels our creativity, innovation and growth. It asserts that diversity was the key to our intellectual evolution and will be integral to helping us tackle the most pressing social, political and economic concerns of our time.The Social Brain ties the origins of the modern mind to the evolution of human society, and provides an entirely new insight into how we can harness the ingenuity and invention that reside within us all.
The Serpent's Promise
By Steve Jones
The Bible was the first scientific textbook of all; and it got some things right (and plenty more wrong). Steve Jones' new book rewrites it in the light of modern science. Are we all descended from a single couple, a real-life Adam and Eve? Was the Bible's great flood really a memory of the end of the Ice Age? Will we ever get back to Methuselah given that British life expectancy is still rising by six hours a day, every day? Many people deny the power of faith, many more the power of science. In this ground-breaking work, geneticist Steve Jones explores their shared mysteries - from the origins of life and humankind to sex, age, death and the end of the universe. He steps aside from the noisy debate between believers and unbelievers to show how the same questions preoccupy us today as in biblical times - and that science offers many of the answers.Erudite and accessible, The Serpent's Promise is a witty and thoughtful account of the ability and the limits of science to tell us what we are.
Science Left Behind
By Alex Berezow, Hank Campbell
To listen to most pundits and political writers, evolution, stem cells, and climate change are the only scientific issues worth mentioning,and the only people who are anti-science are conservatives. Yet those on the left have numerous fallacies of their own. Aversion to clean energy programs, basic biological research, and even life-saving vaccines come naturally to many progressives. These are positions supported by little more than junk-science and paranoid thinking.Now for the first time, science writers Dr. Alex B. Berezow and Hank Campbell have drawn open the curtain on the left's fear of science. As Science Left Behind reveals, vague inclinations about the wholesomeness of all things natural, the unhealthiness of the unnatural, and many other seductive fallacies have led to an epidemic of misinformation. The results: public health crises, damaging and misguided policies, and worst of all, a new culture war over basic scientific facts,in which the left is just as culpable as the right.
She Shall Be Praised
By Ginny Aiken
When socialite Emma Crowell stops the carriage on the way to Portland to 'exercise' her fussy poodle, she does not expect to become stranded in the woods in decidedly unsuitable attire. The pair of men who find her decide to take her back to their cave, where they've hidden sheep they rustled from a nearby rancher. The rancher turns out to be Peter Lowery, and he arrives, furious, to retrieve his property. But when he discovers Emma, he does the Christian thing and brings her, her dog, and the thieves back to his cabin. Peter may have to shelter the motley group, but he expects them to earn their keep until he can take them to Bountiful, the nearest town. Emma suddenly finds herself in charge of the house and the care of Peter's imaginative young son Robby. She's surprised to find that she enjoys the challenges of life at the cabin, and feels drawn to Peter. But though willing to learn, no matter how she tries, she can never seem to live up to expectations. As she seeks God's guidance, she faces the picture of womanhood shown by the lady in the 31st chapter of Proverbs. Between that picture and the one of Peter's late wife, Emma must decide who she has been, who she is, and who she really wants to be. What is to be her worth as a woman? What is to be her legacy?
The Secret Language Of Color
By Arielle Eckstut, Joann Eckstut
In this beautiful and thorough investigation, The Secret Language of Color celebrates and illuminates the countless ways in which color colors our world.Why is the sky blue, the grass green, a rose red? Most of us have no idea how to answer these questions, nor are we aware that color pervades nearly all aspects of life, from the subatomic realm and the natural world to human culture and psychology.Organized into chapters that begin with a fascinating explanation of the physics and chemistry of color, The Secret Language of Color travels from outer space to Earth, from plants to animals to humans. In these chapters we learn about how and why we see color, the nature of rainbows, animals with color vision far superior and far inferior to our own, how our language influences the colors we see, and much more. Between these chapters, authors Joann Eckstut and Ariele Eckstut turn their attention to the individual hues of the visible spectrum?red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet?presenting each in fascinating, in-depth detail.Including hundreds of stunning photographs and dozens of informative, often entertaining graphics, every page is a breathtaking demonstration of color and its role in the world around us. Whether? you see red, are a shrinking violet, or talk a blue streak, this is the perfect book for anyone interested in the history, science, culture, and beatuty of color in the natural and man-made world.
The Science of Monsters
By Matt Kaplan
Modern audiences do not find dragons frightening. Fascinating as mythical creatures, yes, but terrifying, no. Yet, present them with a story about a virus that can kill a healthy adult in hours and they will have nightmares for weeks. The difference between the two is believability. Monsters are at their most frightening when they carry characteristics that tie them to the real world in some way.Preposterous as they might seem today, dragons were no different in ancient times. Humans long ago stumbled upon skeletons that had sharp teeth and talon-like claws. These fossils were real and some were frighteningly large. Those who looked at them could only guess at how dangerous the animals that they belonged to must have been. From such interactions, dragons were born. Yet, in spite of ample physical evidence that dragons existed, none were ever seen in the flesh. Dragon bones were ultimately proven to be the bones of huge predatory dinosaurs like Tyrannosaurus Rex, but before the mystery was solved, they were the makings of frightening beasts that managed to evade human sight by lurking deep within the shadows of the wild.The Science of Monsters will explore monsters that have haunted humanity throughout the ages, from Medusa to sea serpents, giants, and vampires. In each chapter Kaplan uses scientific principles, current research, and his thorough knowledge of the natural world to explain why specific monsters came to be and what it was about them that was so terrifying to the people who brought them to life.
The Self Illusion
By Bruce Hood
Most of us believe that we possess a self - an internal individual who resides inside our bodies, making decisions, authoring actions and possessing free will. The feeling that a single, unified, enduring self inhabits the body - the 'me' inside me - is compelling and inescapable. This is how we interact as a social animal and judge each other's actions and deeds. But that sovereignty of the self is increasingly under threat from science as our understanding of the brain advances. Rather than a single entity, the self is really a constellation of mechanisms and experiences that create the illusion of the internal you.We only emerge as a product of those around us as part of the different storylines we inhabit from the cot to the grave. It is an ever changing character, created by the brain to provide a coherent interface between the multitude of internal processes and the external world demands that require different selves.
Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life
By Douglas T. Kenrick
&ldquoKenrick writes like a dream.&rdquo- Robert Sapolsky, Professor of Biology and Neurology, Stanford University author of A Primate's Memoir and Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers What do sex and murder have to do with the meaning of life? Everything. In Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life , social psychologist Douglas Kenrick exposes the selfish animalistic underside of human nature, and shows how it is intimately connected to our greatest and most selfless achievements. Masterfully integrating cognitive science, evolutionary psychology, and complexity theory, this intriguing book paints a comprehensive picture of the principles that govern our lives. As Kenrick divulges, beneath our civilized veneer, human beings are a lot like howling hyenas and barking baboons, with heads full of homicidal tendencies and sexual fantasies. But, in his view, many ingrained, apparently irrational behaviours- such as inclinations to one-night stands, racial prejudices, and conspicuous consumption- ultimately manifest what he calls"Deep Rationality.&rdquo Although our heads are full of simple selfish biases that evolved to help our ancestors survive, modern human beings are anything but simple and selfish cavemen. Kenrick argues that simple and selfish mental mechanisms we inherited from our ancestors ultimately give rise to the multifaceted social lives that we humans lead today, and to the most positive features of humanity, including generosity, artistic creativity, love, and familial bonds. And out of those simple mechanisms emerge all the complexities of society, including international conflicts and global economic markets. By exploring the nuance of social psychology and the surprising results of his own research, Kenrick offers a detailed picture of what makes us caring, creative, and complex- that is, fully human. Illuminated with stories from Kenrick's own colourful experiences - from his criminally inclined shantytown Irish relatives, his own multiple high school expulsions, broken marriages, and homicidal fantasies, to his eventual success as an evolutionary psychologist and loving father of two boys separated by 26 years - this book is an exploration of our mental biases and failures, and our mind's great successes. Idiosyncratic, controversial, and fascinating, Sex, Murder, and the Meaning of Life uncovers the pitfalls and promise of our biological inheritance.
The Sun's Heartbeat
By Bob Berman
Did you know that scientists are beginning to think that the sun is safer than sunscreen? That whenever we see the sun on the horizon, it's actually a phantom image because the sun has already set? That career pilots have a one percent higher incidence of cancer because of their time in the sky? Or that the sun's unusual dormancy is causing our climate to be cooler than it otherwise would be? Peppered with memorable anecdotes about spectral curiosities, THE SUN'S HEARTBEAT is a robust narrative that explores the sun's birth, its life as a self-sustaining ultra-H-Bomb fusion explosion, and its spectacular future death. Astronomer Bob Berman's expert observations tell a dramatic story about the familiar star that crosses our sky daily.
Secrets Of An Accidental Duchess
By Jennifer Haymore
With her pale hair and slim figure, Olivia Donovan looks as fragile as fine china, and has been treated as such by her sisters ever since a childhood bout with malaria. But beneath her delicate facade, Olivia guards a bold, independent spirit and the kind of passionate desires proper young ladies must never confess... It was a reckless wager, and one Max couldn't resist: seduce the alluring Olivia or forfeit part of his fortune. Yet the wild, soon-to-be Duke never imagined he'd fall in love with this innocent beauty. Nor could he have guessed that a dangerously unpredictable rival would set out to destroy them both. Now, Max must beat a Madman at his own twisted game-or forever lose the only woman to have ever won his heart.
By Margaret Mallory
Alex MacDonald is known for his skill as a warrior, his prowess with women, and his vow to never take a wife. But now his chieftain has asked him to make the ultimate sacrifice: wed Glynis MacNeil, a lass famed throughout the Highlands for her exquisite beauty-and defiant ways.Familiar with heartbreak, Glynis refuses to fall for another handsome scoundrel. Yet when Alex's past sins force an unlikely union, Glynis gives in to temptation and becomes his wife. Will their newfound passion be strong enough to fight the enemy that threatens their home, their clan, and their very lives?
Six Easy Pieces
By Matthew Sands, Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton
It was Richard Feynman's outrageous and scintillating method of teaching that earned him legendary status among students and professors of physics. From 1961 to 1963, Feynman delivered a series of lectures at the California Institute of Technology that revolutionized the teaching of physics around the world. Six Easy Pieces , taken from these famous Lectures on Physics, represent the most accessible material from the series. In these classic lessons, Feynman introduces the general reader to the following topics: atoms, basic physics, energy, gravitation, quantum mechanics, and the relationship of physics to other topics. With his dazzling and inimitable wit, Feynman presents each discussion with a minimum of jargon. Filled with wonderful examples and clever illustrations, Six Easy Pieces is the ideal introduction to the fundamentals of physics by one of the most admired and accessible physicists of modern times.
Six Not-So-Easy Pieces
By Matthew Sands, Richard P. Feynman, Robert B. Leighton
It was Feynman's outrageous and scintillating method of teaching that earned him legendary status among students and professors of physics. From 1961 to 1963, Feynman delivered a series of lectures at the California Institute of Technology that revolutionized the teaching of physics. In Six Not-So-Easy Pieces , taken from these famous lectures, Feynman delves into one of the most revolutionary discoveries in twentieth-century physics: Einstein's theory of relativity. The idea that the flow of time is not constant, that the mass of an object depends on its velocity, and that the speed of light is a constant no matter what the motion of the observer, at first seemed shocking to scientists and laymen alike. But as Feynman shows, these tricky ideas are not merely dry principles of physics, but things of beauty and elegance.No one,not even Einstein himself,explained these difficult, anti-intuitive concepts more clearly, or with more verve and gusto, than Richard Feynman. Filled with wonderful examples and clever illustrations, Six Not-So-Easy Pieces is the ideal introduction to fundamentals of physics by one of the most admired and accessible physicists of all times. There is no better explanation for the scientifically literate layman.", The Washington Post Book World
A Separate Country
By Robert Hicks
Set in New Orleans in the years after the Civil War, A SEPARATE COUNTRY is based on the incredible life of John Bell Hood, arguably one of the most controversial generals of the Confederate Army - and one of its most tragic figures. Robert E. Lee promoted him to major general after the Battle of Antietam. The Civil War would mark him forever: at Gettysburg he lost the use of his left arm. at the Battle of Chickamauga his right leg was amputated. After the war he married Anna Marie Hennen and fathered 11 children with her, including three sets of twins. But fate had other plans. Crippled by his war wounds and defeat, ravaged by financial misfortune, Hood had one last foe to battle: Yellow Fever. A SEPARATE COUNTRY is the heartrending story of a man who struggled with his inability to admit his failures - and the story of those who taught him to love, and to be loved, and transformed him.
A Stubbornly Persistent Illusion
By Stephen Hawking
With commentary by the greatest physicist of our time, Stephen Hawking, this anthology has garnered impressive reviews. PW has called it a gem of a collection" while New Scientist magazine notes the thrill of reading Einstein's own words." From the writings that revealed the famous Theory of Relativity, to other papers that shook the scientific world of the 20th century, A Stubbornly Persistent Illusion belongs in every science fan's library.