Category: PDZ

Youniverse: A Short Guide to Modern Science

Your guide to science, from the Big Bang to AI

Whether you wish to discover the basics of science or catch up on its latest developments, this short accessible guide is for you.

YOUNIVERSE describes in simple terms the world you are inseparably a part of: what it is, how it works and your place in it – insofar as these things are known. The text has been vetted by 13 distinguished scientists.

Journey now through time and space, a world of the unimaginably big and the inconceivably small – though the marvels of science.

*PRAISE FOR YOUNIVERSE*

‘This is a fine piece of work… very entertaining and informative… It should appeal and be useful to the generalist who wants an overview of science.’ Sir Peter Ratcliffe, 2019 Nobel Prize winner and head of clinical research at the Francis Crick Institute

Through Two Doors at Once

The clearest, most accessible explanation yet of the amazing world of quantum mechanics. 

How can matter behave both like a particle and a wave? Does a particle exist before we look at it or does the very act of looking bring it into reality? Are there hidden elements to reality missing from the orthodox view of quantum physics? And is there a place where the quantum world ends and our perceivable world begins?

Many of science’s greatest minds have grappled with these questions embodied by the simple yet elusive "double-slit" experiment. Thomas Young devised it in the early 1800s to show that light behaves like a wave, and in doing so opposed Isaac Newton’s theories. Nearly a century later, Albert Einstein showed that light comes in particles, and the experiment became key to a fierce debate with Niels Bohr over the nature of reality. Richard Feynman held that the double slit embodies the central mystery of the quantum world. Hypothesis after hypothesis, scientists have returned to this ingenious experiment to help them answer the deep questions about the fabric of our universe.

With his extraordinary gift for making the complicated comprehensible, Anil Ananthaswamy travels around the world and through history, down to the smallest scales of physical reality we have yet fathomed for the answers.

***PRAISE FOR THROUGH TWO DOORS AT ONCE***

A Physics Book of the Year

A Forbes Best Book of the Year

A Kirkus Best Book of the Year

A Smithsonian Favourite Book of the Year 

Publisher’s Weekly Best Books of Autumn

‘A fascinating read and a must for anyone who would like to find out the latest experimental advances made in this most fundamental of quantum experiments.’ Physics World

‘Ananthaswamy cleverly comes at quantum physics from a different direction… An excellent addition to the ‘Quantum physics for the rest of us’ shelf.’ Brian Clegg, author of Are Numbers Real? and The Quantum Age

‘A challenging and rewarding survey of how scientists are grappling with nature’s deepest, strangest secrets.’ Wall Street Journal

‘A fascinating tour through the cutting-edge physics the experiment keeps on spawning.’ Scientific American

‘Ananthaswamy gives an absolutely mind-boggling tour of how quantum physicists try to explain this “reality” that one of the most powerful scientific models of our era.’ Smithsonian 

‘Offers beginners the tools they need to seriously engage with the philosophical questions that likely drew them to quantum mechanics.’ Science

‘At a time when popular physics writing so valorizes theory, a quietly welcome strength of Ananthaswamy’s book is how much human construction comes into focus here. This is not “nature” showing us, but us pressing “nature” for answers to our increasingly obsessional questions.’ Washington Post

‘Ananthaswamy’s book is simply an outstanding exploration of the double slit experiment and what makes it so weird.’ Forbes

‘A thrilling survey of the most famous, enduring, and enigmatic experiment in the history of science.’ Kirkus, starred review

Ingredients

Cheese puffs. Coffee. Sunscreen. Vapes. Hand sanitiser. George Zaidan reveals the weird science behind everyday items that may or may not kill you, depending on whom you ask.

If you want easy answers, this book is not for you. But if you’re curious which health studies to trust, what dense scientific jargon really means, and how to make better choices when it comes to food and health – dive right in!

Zaidan makes chemistry more fun than potions class as he reveals exactly what science can (and can’t) tell us about the packaged ingredients we buy in the supermarket. He demystifies the ingredients of life and death – and explains how we know whether something is good or bad for you – in exquisite, hilarious detail at breakneck speed.

 

PRAISE FOR INGREDIENTS

‘If you ever thought that chemistry might be really interesting (it is), but your eyes glazed over in high school chem class, this is the book for you. George Zaidan will keep you laughing out loud as he shares the wonders of our most useful, practical science, with brilliant analogies that even an 11-year old can understand.’ Daniel J. Levitin, author of Successful Aging and This is Your Brain on Music

If you crossed Bill Nye with Stephen Colbert, you’d get George Zaidan. Ingredients is a masterful piece of science writing.’ Daniel H. Pink, author of When and Drive

Ingredients lifts the film from our eyes with humour and reassurance.’ Hank Green, author of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

At last, a book on nutrition that tries to make you understand how little we know instead of offering blanket prognostications. If instead of a simple solution, you want a guide to how to think about health, this is it.’ Zach and Kelly Weinersmith, New York Times best-selling authors of Soonish

Ingredients, is everything that should lead you to expect: funny, edgy, fascinating, dismaying, reassuring, and overall just incredibly smart.’ Deborah Blum, Pulitzer prize-winning author of The Poison Squad

You should buy Ingredients because it teaches you how to think better – like a smart, informed, and wickedly funny scientist.’ Sam Kean, author of The Disappearing Spoon

Omfg this book is FABULOUS! It’s hilarious, insightful, sassy, and reassuring. A delightful roller-coaster of science communication.’ Kallie Moore, Co-host of PBS Eons

 

The Secret Life of Bones

Bone is a marvel, an adaptable and resilient building material developed over 500 million years of evolutionary history. It has manifested itself in wings, sails, horns, armour, and an even greater array of appendages since the time of its origin. In dinosaur fossils, skeletons are biological time capsules that tell us of lives we’ll never see in the flesh. Inherited from a common fishy ancestor, it is the stuff that binds all of us vertebrates together into one great family. Swim, slither, stomp, fly, dig, run – all are expressions of what bones make possible. But that’s hardly all.

In The Secret Life of Bones, Brian Switek frames the history of our species through the importance of bone from instruments and jewellery, to objects of worship and conquest from the origins of religion through the genesis of science and up through this very day. While bone itself can reveal our individual stories, the truth very much depends on who’s telling it. Our skeletons are as embedded in our culture as they are in our bodies. Switek, an enthusiastic osteological raconteur, cuts through biology, history, and culture to understand the meaning of what’s inside us and what our bones tell us about who we are, where we came from and the legacies we leave behind.

Every Breath You Take

A fascinating journey through the atmosphere that will leave you breathless.

With seven million early deaths a year linked to air pollution, air quality is headline news around the world. But how do we measure air pollution and what on earth is an odour panel? Why are property prices higher upwind of cities? Should we buy, hold on to, or avoid a diesel car? And will our grandchildren inherit an atmosphere worth breathing?

From the atmosphere on distant planets to the stuff that gets into your lungs, from holes in the ozone layer to lazy and disappearing gases, air quality specialist and full-time breather Dr Mark Broomfield combines scientific evidence with personal stories and advice on what you can do to improve air quality, giving you the low-down on what’s up high.

***PRAISE FOR EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE***

NewBooks Book of the Month

The Revelator, 13 Best Environmental Books of July 2019

‘Written in an easily accessible style yet get across important facts about the world and what we are doing to it.’ Peter Wadhams, author of A Farewell to Ice

‘Not without raising a wry smile, the author takes us from the atmospheres of the planets to the air outside our front door… a fascinating read.’ Professor Duncan Laxen, Associate of Air Quality Consultants

‘Mark Broomfield s writing is just the breath of fresh air needed to lift the fog on atmospheric sciences.’ Piers Forster, Professor of Physical Climate Change, University of Leeds

The Singularity Is Near

‘Startling in scope and bravado.’ The New York Times

A radical and optimistic view of the future course of human development from the bestselling author of How to Create a Mind and who Bill Gates calls ‘the best person I know at predicting the future of artificial intelligence.’

For over three decades, Ray Kurzweil has been one of the most respected and provocative advocates of the role of technology in our future. In his classic The Age of Spiritual Machines, he argued that computers would soon rival the full range of human intelligence at its best. Now he examines the next step in this inexorable evolutionary process: the union of human and machine, in which the knowledge and skills embedded in our brains will be combined with the vastly greater capacity, speed, and knowledge-sharing ability of our creations.

PRAISE FOR THE SINGULARITY IS NEAR

‘Artfully envisions a breathtakingly better world.’ Los Angeles Times

‘Elaborate, smart and persuasive.’ The Boston Globe

‘A pleasure to read.’ The Wall Street Journal

An Amazon Best Science Book of 2005

A CBS News Best Autumn Books of 2005

A St Louis Post-Dispatch Best Nonfiction Book of 2005

The Edge of Physics

A scientific and globetrotting exploration of the physics experiments changing the ways we understand our universe.

Why is the universe expanding? What is the nature of dark matter? Do other universes exist? In this timely and original book, science writer Anil Ananthaswamy embarks on a global journey to some of the world’s most inhospitable and dramatic research sites to witness first-hand the audacious physics experiments conducted to answer profound questions about the nature of the universe.

From the Atacama Desert in the Chilean Andes to the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope on Mount Paranal to deep inside an abandoned iron mine in Minnesota and to the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, Ananthaswamy weaves together stories about the people and places at the heart of this cosmological research.

While explaining the immense questions that scientists are trying to answer, Ananthaswamy provides an accessible and unique portrait of the universe and our quest to understand it. An atmospheric, engaging and illuminating read, The Edge of Physics depicts science as a human process and brings cosmology with all its rarefied concepts down to earth.

***PRAISE FOR THE EDGE OF PHYSICS***

‘A travelogue that celebrates the blood, sweat and tears that drive our understanding of the universe.’ Guardian

‘An excellent book. The author has a great knack of making difficult subjects comprehensible. I thoroughly enjoyed it.’ Sir Patrick Moore

‘A remarkable narrative that combines fundamental physics with high adventure.’ New Scientist

‘The ultimate physics-adventure travelogue… brilliant.’ Physics World

‘A grand tour of modern day cosmology’s sacred places… evocative… engaging… refreshing… a taste of science in the heroic mode.’ BBC Sky at Night

‘Clean, elegant prose, humming with interest.’ Robert MacFarlene

‘An accomplished and timely overview of modern cosmology and particle astrophysics.’ Nature

The Physics Of Superheroes

If superheroes stepped off the comic book page, could they actually work their wonders in a world constrained by the laws of physics? How strong would Superman have to be to ‘leap tall buildings in a single bound’? Could Storm of the ‘X-Men’ possibly control the weather? James Kakalios provides an engaging and witty commentary while introducing the lay reader to both classical and cutting-edge concepts in physics, including: what Superman’s strength can tell us about the Newtonian physics of force, mass, and acceleration; what villains like Electro and Magneto tell us about electricity and magnetism; how Iceman’s powers show the principles of thermal dynamics; what the Human Top can tell us about angular momentum; why physics professors gone bad are the most dangerous evil geniuses… and more!

Quantum Enigma

Everyone knows that sub-atomic particles have some very strange qualities. Light sometimes behaves like a particle, sometimes like a wave. Objects separated by vast distances interact faster than the speed of light – what Einstein called ‘spooky action at a distance’. Most strangely, the behaviour of objects somehow seems be determined in retrospect, depending on what the observer is looking for. In this ground-breaking work the authors show how these quantum properties are being observed in larger and larger objects. They set out carefully and cautiously exactly what quantum theory might mean for us. Quantum physics presents an unanswerable challenge to our common sense understanding of the universe, and the final explanation might not come from physics at all, but from the equally strange world of cognitive neuro-science – the mysteries of mind and matter might be one and the same.

Amazing Story Quantum Mechanics

In the pulp magazines and comics of the 1950s, it was predicted that the future would be one of gleaming utopias, with flying cars, jetpacks, and robotic personal assistants. Obviously, things didn’t turn out that way. But the world we do have is actually more fantastic than the most outlandish predictions of the science fiction of the mid-20th century. The World Wide Web, pocket-sized computers, mobile phones and MRI machines have changed the world in unimagined ways. In ‘The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics’, James Kakalios uses examples from comics and magazines to explain how breakthroughs in quantum mechanics led to such technologies. The book begins with an overview of speculative science fiction, beginning with Jules Verne and progressing through the space adventure comic books of the 1950s. Using the example of Dr. Manhattan from the graphic novel and film Watchmen, Kakalios explains the fundamentals of quantum mechanics, and describes nuclear energy via the hilarious portrayals of radioactivity and its effects in the movies and comic books of the 1950s. Finally, he shows how future breakthroughs will make possible ever more advanced medical diagnostic devices – and perhaps even power stations on the moon that can beam their power to earth.