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"We are buried beneath mountains of fast-accumulating data. In such circumstances, this book, rather than adding to the data load, aims to offer real understanding." -James Lovelock Human beings are extraordinary creatures. Intelligent, agile, and curious, we have adapted and invented our way to becoming the most important species on the planet. So great is the extent of our influence, that many speak of a new geological era, the Anthropocene, an age defined by human-induced change to the blue and green globe we call home. Our lofty status comes with responsibility as much as possibility: How should we approach our present and future? What knowledge should we carry with us? Conceived by James Lovelock, inventor of the Gaia theory, this illustrated essay collection brings together an all-star lineup of thinkers and scientists to offer essential understanding about who we are, how we live, and where we might be going. Much as the Gaia theory considers our Earth as an integrated whole of living systems, The Earth and I encourages holistic understanding. Across 12 chapters, we take in both the intricate details and immense structures of our species and our planet, from our ever-expanding universe to our minuscule but mighty cells. We see stellar explosions and the layers of life beneath our feet, delve into the neuroscience of decision-making, get to grips with our climate, and contemplate our increasing intimacy with technology. The book's world-class contributors include quantum physicist Lisa Randall, Astronomer Royal Martin Rees, Pulitzer Prize-winning biologist Edward O. Wilson, and Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel. With lively illustrations from British artist Jack Hudson, the result is an inspiration for curious minds young and old, and a trusted tool kit for an informed and enlightened future.
Over the years, millions of school children must have written out their address in the same way - their house number and street, their town, their country, their continent, planet Earth, the universe... Following this simplest of patterns, taking each line of the address as a starting point, Tim Radford explores our place in the scheme of things - why we are attached to a particular geographical place and what significance do we have when faced with the realms of astronomy and astrophysics. Fascinating, entertaining and completely original, The Address Book tackles some of the most fundamental questions facing us, and allows us see ourselves completely afresh.
The Consolations of Physics is an eloquent manifesto for physics. In an age where uncertainty and division is rife, Tim Radford, science editor of the Guardian for twenty-five years, turns to the wonders of the universe for consolation. From the launch of the Voyager spacecraft and how it furthered our understanding of planets, stars and galaxies to the planet composed entirely of diamond and graphite and the sound of a blacksmith's anvil; from the hole NASA drilled in the heavens to the discovery of the Higgs Boson and the endeavours to prove the Big Bang, The Consolations of Physics will guide you from a tiny particle to the marvels of outer space.
'A beautiful, inspiring reflection on science, humanity, space, and matter - this would blow Boethius's mind.' SARAH BAKEWELL The Consolations of Physics is an eloquent manifesto for physics. In an age where uncertainty and division is rife, Tim Radford, science editor of the Guardian for twenty-five years, turns to the wonders of the universe for consolation. From the launch of the Voyager spacecraft and how it furthered our understanding of planets, stars and galaxies to the planet composed entirely of diamond and graphite and the sound of a blacksmith's anvil; from the hole NASA drilled in the heavens to the discovery of the Higgs Boson and the endeavours to prove the Big Bang, The Consolations of Physics will guide you from a tiny particle to the marvels of outer space.
At the start of each school term, at the age of about 10, I did something that I suppose a million other 10-year-olds have done! The Address Book starts with some of the fundamental questions asked by everyone, in every culture since the beginning of civilisation. Who am I? Where am I? Where am I going? Tim Radford attempts to answer them by drafting in a technique he first used as a school-boy, when he wrote his address in the inside front cover of his exercise book every term, starting with the house number, the street name, the town, and proceeding upwards through levels of scale - the hemisphere, the planet, the solar system, the galaxy - until he reached the final line, the universe itself. So - this is a book written on a vertical rather than a horizontal axis. We open with Tim in the present day, in Hastings, sitting at his desk, thinking about his house, his possessions, how they have shaped him and how he has affected them, how a house becomes part of our identity and what binds us to the objects in it. The next chapter deals with Hastings itself; the town as a unit of scale, why we associate ourselves with one place rather than another. And so on, upwards through levels of magnitude. As the units of space grow larger, so Tim himself dwindles and the bigger, colder forces of astronomy and astrophysics come into play. By the time we reach the address's final line we are beginning to understand that there is no final answer to the question "Where am I?" - behind every answer lies a new question, receding into unthinkable distance, to the spectacle of galaxies falling away from each other into nothingness. The Address Book is fascinating, entertaining, unsettling and insatiably curious.
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