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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.

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...

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.

Elegant Solutions
  • Language: en

Elegant Solutions

Devising and performing a scientific experiment is an art, and it is common to hear scientists talk about the 'beauty' of an experiment. What does this mean in chemistry, the experimental science par excellence? And what are the most beautiful chemical experiments of all time? This book offers ten suggestions for where beauty might reside in experimental chemistry. In some cases the beauty lies in the clarity of conception; sometimes it is a feature of the instrumental design. But for chemistry, there can also be a unique beauty in the way atoms are put together to make new molecules, substances not known in nature. The ten experiments described here offer a window into the way that chemists...

Branches
  • Language: en
  • Pages: 240

Branches

  • Type: Book
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  • Published: 2009-09-10
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  • Publisher: OUP Oxford

As part of a trilogy of books exploring the science of patterns in nature, acclaimed science writer Philip Ball here looks at the form and growth of branching networks in the natural world, and what we can learn from them. Many patterns in nature show a branching form - trees, river deltas, blood vessels, lightning, the cracks that form in the glazing of pots. These networks share a peculiar geometry, finding a compromise between disorder and determinism, though some, like the hexagonal snowflake or the stones of the Devil's Causeway fall into a rigidly ordered structure. Branching networks are found at every level in biology - from the single cell to the ecosystem. Human-made networks too can come to share the same features, and if they don't, then it might be profitable to make them do so: nature's patterns tend to arise from economical solutions.

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.

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.

Molecules: A Very Short Introduction
  • Language: en
  • Pages: 184

Molecules: A Very Short Introduction

  • Type: Book
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  • Published: 2003-11-27
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  • Publisher: OUP Oxford

The processes in a single living cell are akin to that of a city teeming with molecular inhabitants that move, communicate, cooperate, and compete. In this Very Short Introduction, Philip Ball explores the role of the molecule in and around us - how, for example, a single fertilized egg can grow into a multi-celled Mozart, what makes spider's silk insoluble in the morning dew, and how this molecular dynamism is being captured in the laboratory, promising to reinvent chemistry as the central creative science of the century. 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.

H2O
  • Language: en
  • Pages: 400

H2O

  • Type: Book
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  • Published: 2015-04-30
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  • Publisher: Hachette UK

The brilliantly told and gripping story of the most familiar - yet, amazingly, still poorly understood - substance in the universe: Water. The extent to which water remains a scientific mystery is extraordinary, despite its prevalence and central importance on Earth. Whether one considers its role in biology, its place in the physical world (where it refuses to obey the usual rules of liquids) or its deceptively simple structure, there is still no complete answer to the question: what is water? Philip Ball's book explains what, exactly, we do and do not know about the strange character of this most essential and ubiquitous of substances. H20 begins by transporting its readers back to the Big...