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Curiosity
  • Language: en
  • Pages: 480

Curiosity

With the recent landing of the Mars rover Curiosity, it seems safe to assume that the idea of being curious is alive and well in modern science—that it’s not merely encouraged but is seen as an essential component of the scientific mission. Yet there was a time when curiosity was condemned. Neither Pandora nor Eve could resist the dangerous allure of unanswered questions, and all knowledge wasn’t equal—for millennia it was believed that there were some things we should not try to know. In the late sixteenth century this attitude began to change dramatically, and in Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything, Philip Ball investigates how curiosity first became sanctioned...

Bright Earth
  • Language: en
  • Pages: 448

Bright Earth

  • Type: Book
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  • Published: 2012-08-31
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  • Publisher: Random House

Colour in art - as in life - is both inspiring and uplifting, but where does it come from? How have artists found new hues, and how have these influenced their work? Beginning with the ancients - when just a handful of pigments made up the artist's palette - and charting the discoveries and developments that have led to the many splendoured rainbow of modern paints, Bright Earth brings the story of colour spectacularly alive. Packed with anecdotes about lucky accidents and hapless misfortunes in the quests for new colours, it provides an entertaining and fascinating new perspective on the science of art.

Life's Matrix
  • Language: en
  • Pages: 417

Life's Matrix

In "Life's Matrix", Philip Ball writes of water's origins, history, and unique physical character. His provocative exploration of water on other planets highlights the possibilities of life beyond Earth. It also examines the grim realities of depletion of natural resources and its effects on the availability of water in the 21st century. Illustrations.

Branches
  • Language: en
  • Pages: 221

Branches

  • Categories: Art

"Nature's patterns is a trilogy composed of Shapes, Flow, and Branches."

Stories of the Invisible
  • Language: en
  • Pages: 204

Stories of the Invisible

What are things made of? 'Everything is composed of small mollycules of itself, and they are flying around in concentric circles and arcs and segments,' explains Sergeant Fottrell in Flann O'Brien's The Dalkey Archive. Philip Ball shows that the world of the molecule is indeed a dynamic place. Using the chemistry of life as a springboard, he provides a new perspective on modern chemical science as a whole. Living cells are full of molecules in motion, communication, cooperation, and competition. Molecular scientists are now starting to capture the same dynamism in synthetic molecular systems, promising to reinvent chemistry as the central creative science of the new century.

Flow
  • Language: en
  • Pages: 208

Flow

  • Categories: Art

Philip Ball explores the elusive rules that govern flow in nature - from the swirl of a wisp of smoke and eddies in rivers, to the huge persistent storm that is the Great Spot on Jupiter. Whether the movement of wind, water, sand, or flocks of birds, he explains the science of the extraordinary forms and patterns that emerge.

Shapes
  • Language: en
  • Pages: 312

Shapes

  • Categories: Art

"Nature's patterns is a trilogy composed of Shapes, Flow, and Branches."

The Music Instinct Brain Shot
  • Language: en
  • Pages: 25

The Music Instinct Brain Shot

  • Type: Book
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  • Published: 2010-07-02
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  • Publisher: Random House

All human cultures seem to make music - today and through history. But why they do so, why music can excite deep passions, and how we make sense of musical sound at all are questions that have, until recently, remained profoundly mysterious. Now in The Music Instinct Brain Shot Philip Ball provides the first comprehensive, accessible survey of what is known - and what is still unknown - about how music works its magic, and why, as much as eating and sleeping, it seems indispensable to humanity. BRAIN SHOT: Byte-sized survey of what is known - and what is still unknown - about how music works and why it is indispensible to humanity

The Water Kingdom
  • Language: en
  • Pages: 341

The Water Kingdom

In The Water Kingdom popular science writer Philip Ball navigates the turbulent and often confusing currents of Chinese history and culture by tracing peoples' relationships with water, from pre-historical founding myths to today. Water has been an enduring metaphor for philosophical thought and artistic expression in China, and from the Han emperors to Mao, the ability to manage water became a barometer of political legitimacy. Attempts at controlling China's vast waterways has involved engineering works on a scale unmatched the world over - for better or worse. Yet the strain that economic growth is putting on the country's water resources today may be the greatest threat to China's future. In characteristic style, Ball delivers an original portrait and as yet unseen cultural history of a country that becomes easier to understand when water is brought to the table.

The Elements: A Very Short Introduction
  • Language: en
  • Pages: 179

The Elements: A Very Short Introduction

This Very Short Introduction traces the history and cultural impact of the elements on humankind, and examines why people have long sought to identify the substances around them. Looking beyond the Periodic Table, the author takes the reader on an engaging and entertaining tour: from the Greek philosophers who propounded a system with four elements - earth, air, fire, and water - to the modern-day scientists who are able to create their own.