Magic Universe: A Grand Tour of Modern SciencePaperback
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- Publisher: Oxford University Press
- Format: Paperback | 768 pages
- Dimensions: 158mm x 233mm x 42mm | 1,153g
- Publication date: 1 December 2005
- Publication City/Country: Oxford
- ISBN 10: 0192806696
- ISBN 13: 9780192806697
- Edition: New edition
- Edition statement: New
- Illustrations note: 1 line drawing
- Sales rank: 468,346
This is a marvellously engaging tour covering the whole of modern science, from transgenic crops to quantum tangles. Written by one of the most experienced and well-known names in science writing, it is also assuredly reliable science. Although arranged for convenience and quick reference as a collection of topics in alphabetical order, it is very different from any conventional encyclopedia. Each topic tells a story, making the book eminently browsable. Packed with information, yet carrying its immense learning lightly, this is a book that would appeal to anyone with the slightest interest in how the world works.
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Nigel Calder is a long-established and widely known science writer, and a former Editor of lNew Scientist.
'probably the broadest sweep of current science in one book... Each essayis excellently written in a style which is both entertaining and informative. Magic Universe takes us on an amazing tour through the length and breadth of science. The reader can open the book anywhere and find some fascinating facts, historical insights or just a good story. Once picked up, this book is difficult tp put down, and readers will find themselves returning to it time after time for well-written science at its interdisciplinary best. David Chamberlain, Chemistry World It's this truly immense feat of multi-disciplinary conciliation, as much as the essays themselves, which explains the sublime nature of existence. Calder's own trick is that in a mere instant he can apparently transform the general reader into a superbrain. His dispatches from some of the farthest outreaches of contemporary science are concise and precise, as opposed to simple, but he has a gift for making the conceptually baffling seem approachable. 'Magic Universe' may be a little unwieldly to hold, it is exceedingly difficult to put down. Laurence Phelan, Independent on Sunday
Table of contents
INTRODUCTION: Welcome to the spider's web ; OVER 130 ARTICLES, FROM... ; ALCOHOL: Genetic revelations of when yeast invented booze ; ALTRUISM AND AGGRESSION: Looking for the origins of those human alternatives ; ANTIMATTER: Does the coat that Sakharov made really explain its absence? ; ARABIDOPSIS: The modest weed that gave plant scientists the big picture ; ASTRONAUTICS: Will interstellar pioneers be overtaken by their grandchildren? ; BERNAL'S LADDER: Pointers ; BIG BANG: The inflationary Universe's sleight-of-hand ; BIODIVERSITY: The mathematics of co-existence ; BIOLOGICAL CLOCKS: Molecular machinery that governs life's routines ; BIOSPHERE FROM SPACE: 'I want to do the whole world' ; BITS AND QUBITS: The digital world and its looming quantum shadow ; BLACK HOLES: The awesome engines of quasars and active galaxies ; BRAIN IMAGES: What do all the vivid movies really mean? ; BRAIN RHYTHMS: The mathematics of the beat we think to ; BRAIN WIRING: How do all those nerve connections know where to go? ; BUCKYBALLS AND NANOTUBES: Doing very much more with very much less ; ...TO... ; SMALLPOX: The dairymaid's blessing and the general's curse ; SOLAR WIND: How it creates the heliosphere in which we live ; SPACE WEATHER: Why it is now more troublesome than in the old days ; SPARTICLES: A wished-for superworld of exotic matter and forces ; SPEECH: A gene that makes us more eloquent than chimpanzees ; STARBURSTS: Galactic traffic accidents and stellar baby booms ; STARS: Hearing them sing and sizing them up ; STEM CELLS: Tissue engineering, natural and medical ; SUN'S INTERIOR: How sound waves made our mother star transparent ; SUPERATOMS, SUPERFLUIDS AND SUPERCONDUCTORS: The march of the boson armies ; SUPERSTRINGS: Retuning the cosmic imagination ; TIME MACHINES: The biggest issue in contemporary physics? ; TRANSGENIC CROPS: For better or worse, a planetary experiment has begun ; TREE OF LIFE: Promiscuous bacteria and the course of evolution ; UNIVERSE: 'It must have known we were coming' ; VOLCANIC EXPLOSIONS: Where will the next big one be?