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Are we our brains? How can you map the mind? Can brain scans read our minds?Based on Rob Newman's live stand-up show and new BBC Radio 4 series, his thought-provoking new book explores the scientific breakthroughs that have turned received ideas of brain science upside down. After imagining volunteering for a brain-imaging experiment meant to locate the part of the brain that lights up when you're in love, comedian Robert Newman emerged with more questions than answers. In Neuropolis Newman argues that the current claim that the brain is just a complicated computer derives from science, but from a combination of philosophical stowaways and a version of evolutionary biology that owes little to Darwin. He questions why brain science is devoted to such a peculiarly reductionist world view, when really exciting advances in neuroscience go untold, such as awe-inspiring discoveries about the origins of memory in ancient oceans. He also shows that our brains are inextricably and profoundly intertwined with our bodies, the natural world and the world we have made, including hilarious accounts of his own participation in neurological experiments. Debunking the common, even brainless interpretations of brain science, he celebrates the more intriguing and underreported advances in neuroscience with zest and wit.
THE NEW INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE BIG SHORT AND FLASH BOYS'A gripping account of how two psychologists reshaped the way we think ... What a story it is' Sunday Times 'You'll love it ... full of surprises and no small degree of tragedy' Tim HarfordIn 1969 two men met on a university campus. Their names were Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. They were different in every way. But they were both obsessed with the human mind - and both happened to be geniuses. Together, they would change the way we see the world.'An enchanted collaboration ... During the final pages, I was blinking back tears' The New York Times 'My favourite writer full stop. Engages both heart and brain like no other' Daily Telegraph'Brilliant, a wonderful book, a masterclass' Spectator 'Psychology's Lennon and McCartney ... Lewis is exactly the storyteller they deserve' Observer
How do radically new kinds of organisms evolve? The Origin of Higher Taxa addresses this essential question, specifically whether the emergence of higher taxa such as orders, classes, and phyla are the result of normal Darwinian evolution acting over a sufficiently long period of time, or whether unusual genetic events and particular environmental and ecological circumstances are also involved. Until very recently, the combination of an incomplete fossil record and a limited understanding about how raw mutations lead via modified ontogenic processes to significant phenotypic changes, effectively stymied scientific debate. However, it is now timely to revisit the question in the light of the discovery of considerable new fossil material (and new techniques for studying it), together with significant advances in our understanding of phenotypic development at the molecular level. This novel text incorporates evidence from morphology, palaeobiology, developmental biology, and ecology, to review those parts of the fossil record that illustrate something of the pattern of acquisition of derived characters in lineages leading to actual higher taxa as well as the environmental conditions under which they occurred. The author's original ideas are set within the context of a broad and balanced review of the latest research in the field. The result is a book which provides a concise, authoritative, and accessible overview of this fascinating subject for both students and researchers in evolutionary biology and palaeontology.
By the author of the best-selling, prize-winning Stuff Matters 'A truly delightful read' Jim Al-Khalili, author of Paradox 'Exciting, anarchic and surprising' Katy Guest, The Guardian This fascinating new book by the bestselling scientist and engineer Mark Miodownik is an expert tour of the world of the droplets, heartbeats and ocean waves that we come across every day. Structured around a plane journey which sees encounters with substances from water and glue to coffee and wine, he shows how these liquids can bring death and destruction as well as wonder and fascination. From Laszlo Biro's revolutionary pen and Abraham Gesner's kerosene to cutting-edge research on self-repairing roads and liquid computers, Miodownik uses his winning formula of scientific storytelling to bring the everyday to life. He reveals why liquids can flow up a tree but down a hill, why oil is sticky, how waves can travel so far, and how to make the perfect cup of tea. Here are the secret lives of substances that we rely on but rarely understand. 'An exhilarating, eye-opening ride' Philip Ball, science writer and author of H2O 'A thrilling read, from start to finish' Tim Radford, author of The Consolations of Physics
Where does creativity come from? Why are some people more creative than others? Eminent neuropsychologist Christine Temple navigates a wide range of factors from the hard science (visual memory, spatial ability, brain functions) to the environmental (the 'mad genius' myth, and Gladwell's 10,000 hours of practice) in her study of what contributes to creativity. Using Pablo Picasso as her model of a creative genius, she weighs up each theory as it applies to Picasso and shows how his own creativity came from a combination of many factors. In this book, she looks at Picasso's playful mindset and passionate relationships, investigates the possibility that genius is genetic and can be inherited in families, considers whether creative genii perceive the world in a different way, and determines whether single-mindedness and focus play a part. This is the first book to look at a multitude of traits in creativity, and nail down the key factors that matter (and also which ones don't) to provide an overall picture of this fascinating area, linking the science to the personal.
Over 7 billion people depend on plants for healthy, productive, secure lives, but few of us stop to consider the origin of the plant kingdom that turned the world green and made our lives possible. And as the human population continues to escalate, our survival depends on how we treat the plant kingdom and the soils that sustain it. Understanding the evolutionary history of our land floras, the story of how plant life emerged from water and conquered the continents to dominate the planet, is fundamental to our own existence. In Making Eden David Beerling reveals the hidden history of Earth's sun-shot greenery, and considers its future prospects as we farm the planet to feed the world. Describing the early plant pioneers and their close, symbiotic relationship with fungi, he examines the central role plants play in both ecosystems and the regulation of climate. As threats to plant biodiversity mount today, Beerling discusses the resultant implications for food security and climate change, and how these can be avoided. Drawing on the latest exciting scientific findings, including Beerling's own field work in the UK, North America, and New Zealand, and his experimental research programmes over the past decade, this is an exciting new take on how plants greened the continents.
The bestselling author of The Drunkard's Walk unlocks the secrets of flexible thinking What do Pokemon Go and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein have in common? Why do some businesses survive, and others fail at the first sign of change? What gives the human brain the edge over computers? The answer: Elastic Thinking. It's an ability we all possess, and one that we can all learn to hone in order to succeed, at work and in our everyday lives. Here Leonard Mlodinow, whose own flexible thinking has taken him from physics professor to TV scriptwriter and bestselling author, takes us on a revelatory exploration of how elasticity works. He draws on cutting-edge neuroscience to show how, millennia ago, our brains developed an affinity for novelty, idea generation and exploration. He discovers how flexible thinking enabled some of the greatest artists, writers, musicians and innovators to create paradigm shifts. He investigates the organisations that have demonstrated an elastic ability to adapt to new technologies. And he reveals how you can test your own brain power and increase your capacity for elastic thinking. By uncovering the secrets of our flexible minds, Elastic explains how to thrive in an endlessly dynamic world, at a time when an ability to adapt is more important than ever before.
`Inferior is more than just a book. It's a battle cry - and right now, it's having a galvanising effect on its core fanbase' Observer Are women more nurturing than men? Are men more promiscuous than women? Are males the naturally dominant sex? And can science give us an impartial answer to these questions? Taking us on an eye-opening journey through science, Inferior challenges our preconceptions about men and women, investigating the ferocious gender wars that burn in biology, psychology and anthropology. Angela Saini revisits the landmark experiments that have informed our understanding, lays bare the problem of bias in research, and speaks to the scientists finally exploring the truth about the female sex. The result is an enlightening and deeply empowering account of women's minds, bodies and evolutionary history. Interrogating what these revelations mean for us as individuals and as a society, Inferior unveils a fresh view of science in which women are included, rather than excluded.
The bestselling author of Fermat's Last Theorem and The Code Book tells the story of the brilliant minds that deciphered the mysteries of the Big Bang. A fascinating exploration of the ultimate question: how was our universe created? Albert Einstein once said: `The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.' Simon Singh believes geniuses like Einstein are not the only people able to grasp the physics that govern the universe. We all can. As well as explaining what the Big Bang theory actually is and why cosmologists believe it is an accurate description of the origins of the universe, this book is also the fascinating story of the scientists who fought against the established idea of an eternal and unchanging universe. Simon Singh, renowned for making difficult ideas much less daunting than they first seem, is the perfect guide for this journey. Everybody has heard of the Big Bang Theory. But how many of us can actually claim to understand it? With characteristic clarity and a narrative peppered with anecdotes and personal histories of those who have struggled to understand creation, Simon Singh has written the story of the most important theory ever.
The past few years have seen a revolution in our ability to map whole genome DNA from ancient humans. With the ancient DNA revolution, combined with rapid genome mapping of present human populations, has come remarkable insights into our past. This important new data has clarified and added to our knowledge from archaeology and anthropology, helped resolve long-existing controversies, challenged long-held views, and thrown up some remarkable surprises. The emerging picture is one of many waves of ancient human migrations, so that all populations existing today are mixes of ancient ones, as well as in many cases carrying a genetic component from Neanderthals, and, in some populations, Denisovans. David Reich, whose team has been at the forefront of these discoveries, explains what the genetics is telling us about ourselves and our complex and often surprising ancestry. Gone are old ideas of any kind of racial 'purity', or even deep and ancient divides between peoples. Instead, we are finding a rich variety of mixtures. Reich describes the cutting-edge findings from the past few years, and also considers the sensitivities involved in tracing ancestry, with science sometimes jostling with politics and tradition. He brings an important wider message: that we should celebrate our rich diversity, and recognize that every one of us is the result of a long history of migration and intermixing of ancient peoples, which we carry as ghosts in our DNA. What will we discover next?
Why do we do develop habits? And how can we change them? We can always change. In The Power of Habit, award-winning New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg translates cutting-edge behavioural science into practical self-improvement action, distilling advanced neuroscience into fascinating narratives of transformation. Why can some people and companies change overnight, and some stay stuck in their old ruts? The answer lies deep in the human brain, and The Power of Habits reveals the secret pressure points that can change a life. From Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps to Martin Luther King Jr., from the CEO of Starbucks to the locker rooms of the NFL, Duhigg explores the incredible results of keystone habits, and how they can make all the difference between billions and millions, failure and success - or even life and death. The Power of Habit makes an exhilarating case: the key to almost any door in life is instilling the right habit. From exercise to weight loss, childrearing to productivity, market disruption to social revolution, and above all success, the right habits can change everything. Habits aren't destiny. They're science, one which can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.
Patricia Churchland, the distinguished founder of neurophilosophy, reaches beyond the familiar argument of nature versus nurture to bring together insights from philosophy and revolutionary research in neuroscience. Scientific research may not be able to say with certainty what is ethical, and the definition of morality varies from person to person. But, from birth, our brains are configured to form bonds, to co-operate and to care. Delving into research studies, including work on twins and psychopaths, Churchland deepens our understanding of the brain's role in creating an ethical system. She then turns to philosophy to explore why morality is central to all societies, how it is transmitted through the generations and why different cultures live by different moral systems.
Can you taste words, feel flavours as a shape, or hear colors? If so you may well have synaesthesia, a neurological condition that gives rise to a 'merging of the senses'. This Very Short Introduction describes synaesthesia's many forms, and delves into the underlying neuroscience. Explaining the scientific basis for synaesthesia, Julia Simner considers how we can measure the effects synaesthesia has on the everyday lives of people living with it. Exploring the fascinating stories of different synaesthetes' experiences of the world, she also discusses the documented links between synaesthesia, childhood development, memory, personality, and artistic creativity, and the potential limitations synaesthesia might impose. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Longlisted for the National Book Award for Nonfiction and A New York Times Notable Book of 2018. Our understanding of the `tree of life', with powerful implications for human genetics, human health and our own human nature, has recently completely changed. This book is about a new method of telling the story of life on earth - through molecular phylogenetics. It involves a fairly simple method - the reading of the deep history of life by looking at the variation in protein molecules found in living organisms. For instance, we now know that roughly eight per cent of the human genome arrived not through traditional inheritance from directly ancestral forms, but sideways by viral infection. In The Tangled Tree, acclaimed science writer David Quammen chronicles these discoveries through the lives of the researchers who made them - such as Carl Woese, the most important little-known biologist of the twentieth century; Lynn Margulis, the notorious maverick whose wild ideas about `mosaic' creatures proved to be true; and Tsutomu Wantanabe, who discovered that the scourge of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a direct result of horizontal gene transfer, bringing the deep study of genome histories to bear on a global crisis in public health. Quammen explains how molecular studies of evolution have brought startling recognitions about the tangled tree of life - including where we humans fit into it. Thanks to new technologies, we now have the ability to alter even our genetic composition - through sideways insertions, as nature has long been doing. The Tangled Tree is a brilliant exploration of our transformed understanding of evolution and of life's history itself.
This book describes the biomedical information of albinism to determine the disability of the genetic disorder in albinism (Chapter 1).
Secondly, it describes the international and regional frameworks of disability (Chapter 2). Thirdly, it analyses the human rights perspective of disability as related to albinism (Chapter 3). Human rights apply to all human beings regardless of disability, and focus will be on the relevant Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Fourthly, the book demonstrates the understanding of albinism through beliefs, cultures and superstitions (Chapter 4).
The book suggests a way forward, intending to provide some suggestions and recommendations to improve the life of person with disabilities in general and albinism in particular (Chapter 5).
Finally, the role of non-governmental organisations is analysed - which is to raise awareness, boost the self-esteem of their members, advocate for their needs and possibly lobby for an inclusive society (Chapter 6).
Developed specifically for students in the behavioral and brain sciences, this is the only textbook that provides an accessible and practical overview of the range of human neuroimaging techniques. Methods covered include functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography, electroencephalography, magnetoencephalography, multimodal imaging, and various brain stimulation methods. Experimental design, image processing, and statistical inference are also addressed, with chapters for both basic and more advanced data analyses. Key concepts are illustrated through research studies on the relationship between brain and behavior, and practice questions are included throughout to test knowledge and aid self-study. Offering just the right amount of detail for understanding how major imaging techniques can be applied to answer neuroscientific questions, and the practical skills needed for future research, this is an essential text for advanced undergraduate and graduate students in psychology, neuroscience, and cognitive science programs taking introductory courses on human neuroimaging.
Asserting that religious creeds and philosophical questions can be reduced to purely genetic and evolutionary components, and that the human body and mind have a physical base obedient to the laws of physics and chemistry, Genesis demonstrates that the only way for us to fully understand human behavior is to study the evolutionary histories of nonhuman species. Of these, Wilson demonstrates that at least seventeen-among them the African naked mole rat and the sponge- dwelling shrimp-have been found to have advanced societies based on altruism and cooperation. Whether writing about midges who "dance about like acrobats" or schools of anchovies who protectively huddle "to appear like a gigantic fish," or proposing that human society owes a debt of gratitude to "postmenopausal grandmothers" and "childless homosexuals," Genesis is a pithy yet path-breaking work of evolutionary theory, braiding twenty-first-century scientific theory with the lyrical biological and humanistic observations for which Wilson is known.
Unravelling the Double Helix covers the most colourful period in the history of DNA, from the discovery of 'nuclein' in the late 1860s to the landmark publication of James Watson's The Double Helix in 1968. These hundred years included the advent of the Nobel Prize, antibiotics, X-ray crystallography and the atom bomb as well as two devastating world wars - events which are strung along the narrative thread of DNA like beads on a necklace. The story of DNA is a saga packed with awful mistakes as well as brilliant science, with a wonderful cast of heroes and villains. Surprisingly, much of it is unfamiliar. The elucidation of the double helix was one of the most brilliant gems of twentieth-century science, but some of the scientists who played crucial roles have been airbrushed out of history. Others were plunged into darkness when the spotlight fell on James Watson, Francis Crick, Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin. Watson and Crick solved a magnificent mystery, but Gareth Williams shows that their contribution was to click into place the last few pieces of a gigantic jigsaw puzzle assembled over several decades.
Changes in climate and sea level are nothing new - over the last 700 million years, the Earth has been slowly but constantly changing from within. We now know that our planet's surface, far from being fixed or stable, is composed of tectonic plates in continual movement, drifting in oceans which themselves appear and disappear over millennia. Such insecurity lies at the heart of both the physical and the living world, providing the creative impetus for all life forms to confront change, adapt and evolve.
This exceptional book celebrates the inevitability of global change and highlights our need as human beings to recognize and adjust to it. Its entertaining and accessible text displays a remarkable breadth and diversity of knowledge, drawing upon discoveries in natural history, geology, geography and paleontology to unravel secrets of millions of years. Its unique structure offers the opportunity to pursue two distinct but parallel narratives in one volume - the first characterized by discrete photo-essay spreads, and the second by authoritative running text illustrated with clearly numbered icons. Designed either to be browsed through like a website or read in chronological sequence, each chapter provides a fascinating glimpse into the formation and development of our world.
Glorious panoramic photography by the author, a specialist in interpretive landscape, reveals the physical legacy of the Earth's distant past. This intriguing exploration of key sites, often remote and inaccessible, provides a clear and original perspective on the Earth as a dynamic, interactive planet. The compelling narrative by a bestselling science writer places the history of our planet in a challenging contemporary context in which human beings, like all living things, must embrace change or fail to survive.
As a science writer Ron Redfern has received a number of prestigious literary and academic awards, perhaps most notably the American Institute of Professional Geologists' Outstanding Achievement Award. This was presented to him before his permanent return to England in 1996. The award was in recognition of his contribution to the public understanding in science.
Land of contrast delights with the photographic collection of bold and beautiful images. The book depicts the renowned diversity of the different landscapes and life within the eight biomes of the southern African sub-continent. Each of these landscapes, called biomes, are the result of its geology and climate, which determine the soil and vegetation types and eventually the fauna. Life on land is determined by the availability of fresh water and therefore rivers and wetlands form an intrinsic part of each biome. The biomes vary from fynbos, succulent Karoo, Nama Karoo, desert, grassland, Savanna, thicket and forest.
Bergstrom and Dugatkin's highly regarded text now offers an expanded InQuizitive course. InQuizitive provides adaptive learning activities for students. Its unique coaching pedagogy helps them learn important concepts and develop critical thinking skills. In addition, the text focuses on getting students to think like evolutionary biologists, with critical thinking questions throughout every chapter and expanded end-of-chapter problems emphasising data interpretation.
This tutorial reference serves as a coherent overview of various statistical and mathematical approaches used in brain network analysis, where modeling the complex structures and functions of the human brain often poses many unique computational and statistical challenges. This book fills a gap as a textbook for graduate students while simultaneously articulating important and technically challenging topics. Whereas most available books are graph theory-centric, this text introduces techniques arising from graph theory and expands to include other different models in its discussion on network science, regression, and algebraic topology. Links are included to the sample data and codes used in generating the book's results and figures, helping to empower methodological understanding in a manner immediately usable to both researchers and students.
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