Perched on the exterior of our delicate and intricate body, we see our skin, touch it and live in it every moment of our lives. And yet how often do we consider what the skin has to deal with, faced with the joys and terrors, pleasures and pain of the outside world?
Everything that hits us strikes our skin first - it is a habitat for a mesmerizingly complex world of micro-organisms and its physical functions are vital to our health and survival.
Everyone who sees us, views our skin first - it is a doorway to ideas of identity, imbued with social significance and psychological meaning.
Whether male or female, old or young, we all have unanswered questions about this underrated and overlooked organ. Does our diet affect our skin? What makes the skin age? Why can't we tickle ourselves? Through the lenses of science, sociology and history Skin: An intimate journey across uur outer covering explores the comedy, tragedy and exquisite humanity of the skin.
Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller, but even when he stays safely in his own study at home, he can't contain his curiosity about the world around him. This book is his quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization.
Who hasn't noticed how well-behaved French children are, compared to our own? How come French babies sleep through the night? Why do French children happily eat what is put in front of them? How can French mothers chat to their friends while their children play quietly? This book deals with these questions.
The quantum computer is no longer the stuff of science fiction. Pioneering physicists are on the brink of unlocking a new quantum universe which provides a better representation of reality than our everyday experiences and common sense ever could. The birth of quantum computers - which, like Schrodinger's famous 'dead and alive' cat, rely on entities like electrons, photons or atoms existing in two states at the same time - is set to turn the computing world on its head.
In his fascinating study of this cutting-edge technology, John Gribbin updates his previous views on the nature of quantum reality, arguing for a universe of many parallel worlds where 'everything is real'. Looking back to Alan Turing's work on the Enigma machine and the first electronic computer, Gribbin explains how quantum theory developed to make quantum computers work in practice as well as in principle. He takes us beyond the arena of theoretical physics to explore their practical applications - from machines which learn through 'intuition' and trial and error to unhackable laptops and smartphones. And he investigates the potential for this extraordinary science to create a world where communication occurs faster than light and teleportation is possible.
Born to parents who were enthusiastic naturalists, and linked through his wider family to a clutch of accomplished scientists, the author was bound to have biology in his genes. But what were the influences that shaped his life? This book tells his personal journey.
Erwin Schrodinger was an Austrian physicist famous for his contribution to quantum physics. Schrodinger was working at one of the most fertile and creative moments in the whole history of science. By the time he started university in 1906, Einstein had already published his revolutionary papers on relativity.
Charles Darwin's masterpiece, "On the Origin of Species", shook society to its core on publication in 1859. This title takes on creationists, including followers of 'Intelligent Design' and all those who question the fact of evolution through natural selection.
Life is the most extraordinary phenomenon in the known universe; but how does it work? Even in this age of cloning and synthetic biology, the remarkable truth remains: nobody has ever made anything living entirely out of dead material. Life remains the only way to make life. Are we missing a vital ingredient in its creation?
Like Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, which provided a new perspective on evolution, Life on the Edge alters our understanding of life's dynamics as Jim Al-Khalili and Johnjoe Macfadden reveal the hitherto missing ingredient to be quantum mechanics. Drawing on recent ground-breaking experiments around the world, they show how photosynthesis relies on subatomic particles existing in many places at once, while inside enzymes, those workhorses of life that make every molecule within our cells, particles vanish from one point in space and instantly materialize in another.
Each chapter in Life on the Edge opens with an engaging example that illustrates one of life's puzzles - How do migrating birds know where to go? How do we really smell the scent of a rose? How do our genes manage to copy themselves with such precision? - and then reveals how quantum mechanics delivers its answer. Guiding the reader through the maze of rapidly unfolding discovery, Al-Khalili and McFadden communicate vividly the excitement of this explosive new field of quantum biology, with its potentially revolutionary applications, and also offer insights into the biggest puzzle of all: what is life?
What can a brain scan, or our reaction to a Caravaggio painting, reveal about the deep seat of guilt?
How can reading Heidegger, or conducting experiments on rats, help us to cope with anxiety in the face of the world's economic crisis?
Can ancient remedies fight sadness more effectively than anti-depressants?
What does the neuroscience of acting tell us about how we feel empathy, and fall for an actor on stage?
What can writing poetry tell us about how joy works?
And how can a bizarre neurological syndrome or a Shakespearean sonnet explain love and intimacy?
We live at a time when neuroscience is unlocking the secrets of our emotions. But is science ever enough to explain why we feel the way we feel?
Giovanni Frazzetto takes us on a journey through our everyday lives and most common emotions. In each chapter, his scientific knowledge mixes with personal experience to offer a compelling account of the continual contrast between rationality and sentiment, science and poetry. And he shows us that by facing this contrast, we can more fully understand ourselves and how we feel.
Winner of the Medical Journalists' Open Book Award 2005, this book is about John Hunter. Revered and feared in equal measure, Hunter was the most famous surgeon of eighteenth-century London. An inspiration for Dr Jekyll and Dr Dolittle, he was a maverick medical pioneer, and even anticipated the evolutionary theories of Darwin.
Could it be, however, that the creation story in "Genesis" was written as it was because that is in fact the correct order of events at the beginning of the world? This title brings the discoveries to bear on this question and reveals how the world and all of the life on it came into being.