Books

 

Quantum Mechanics (A Ladybird Expert Book)

One of the first three books published as part of the Ladybird Expert Series, this book explores all the key players, breakthroughs, controversies and unanswered questions of the quantum world. 

You'll discover how the sun shines, why light is both a wave and a particle, the certainty of the Uncertainty Principle, Schrodinger's Cat, Einstein's spooky action, how to build a quantum computer, and why quantum mechanics drives even its experts completely crazy.

The Ladybird Expert books provide clear, accessible and authoritative introductions to subjects drawn from science, history and culture.

For an adult readership, the Ladybird Expert series is produced in the same iconic small hardback format pioneered by the original Ladybirds. Each beautifully illustrated book features the first new illustrations produced in the original Ladybird style for nearly forty years.

 

Aliens: Science Asks: Is There Anyone Out There?

It's the biggest question we've ever faced, one that has fascinated generations of humans: do aliens exist? If they did, what would they look like? How would they think? And what would it mean for us if we found them?

Here, Professor Jim Al-Khalili blasts off in search of answers. Featuring twenty pieces by top scientists and experts in the field including Martin Rees, Ian Stewart and Adam Rutherford, Aliens covers every aspect of the subject, from alien consciousness to the neuroscience behind alien abductions. And along the way he'll cover science fiction, the probability of us finding extra-terrestrial life, and whether recently-discovered exoplanets might support life.

Engaging, authoritative and filled with scientific insights fresh from the far edges of the galaxy, Aliens is the perfect book for anyone who has ever looked up into the starry sky and wondered: are we alone?

 
 

Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology

Life is the most extraordinary phenomenon in the known universe; but how does it work? Even in this age of cloning and synthetic biology, the remarkable truth remains: nobody has ever made anything living entirely out of dead material. Life remains the only way to make life. Are we missing a vital ingredient in its creation?

Like Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, which provided a new perspective on how evolution works, Life on the Edge alters our understanding of life's dynamics. Bringing together first-hand experience of science at the cutting edge with unparalleled gifts of exposition and explanation, Jim Al-Khalili and Johnjoe Macfadden reveal the hitherto missing ingredient to be quantum mechanics and the strange phenomena that lie at the heart of this most mysterious of sciences. Drawing on recent ground-breaking experiments around the world, they show how photosynthesis relies on subatomic particles existing in many places at once, while inside enzymes, those workhorses of life that make every molecule within our cells, particles vanish from one point in space and instantly materialize in another.

Each chapter in Life on the Edge opens with an engaging example that illustrates one of life’s puzzles – How do migrating birds know where to go? How do we really smell the scent of a rose? How do our genes manage to copy themselves with such precision? – and then reveals how quantum mechanics delivers its answer. Guiding the reader through the maze of rapidly unfolding discovery, Al-Khalili and McFadden communicate vividly the excitement of this explosive new field of quantum biology, with its potentially revolutionary applications, and also offer insights into the biggest puzzle of all: what is life? As they brilliantly demonstrate here, life lives on the quantum edge. 

 
 
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Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Science

This book contains Jim Al-Khalili’s personal favourite puzzles and conundrums in science, all of which have famously been referred to as paradoxes, but which turn out not to be paradoxes at all when considered carefully and viewed from the right angle.

A true paradox is a statement that leads to a circular and self-contradictory argument, or one that describes a logically impossible situation. In resolving our paradoxes we will have to travel to the furthest reaches of the Universe and explore the very essence of space and time. Hold on tight.

Published on 12/04/2012

 
 
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Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed

Quantum mechanics underpins modern science and provides us with a blueprint for reality itself. And yet it has been said that if you’re not shocked by it, you don’t understand it. But is quantum physics really so unknowable? Is reality really so strange? And just how can cats be half-alive and half-dead at the same time?

To understand this we travel back to the dawn of the twentieth century and witness the birth of quantum theory, which over the next one hundred years was to overthrow so many of our deeply held notions about the nature of our universe. Scientists and philosophers have been left grappling with its implications every since.

Published on 10/04/2003 | Paperback published on 25/10/2012 | Translated into 4 languages

 
 

Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science

In Pathfinders: The Golden Age of Arabic Science, Jim Al-Khalili celebrates the forgotten pioneers who helped shape our understanding of the world.

For over 700 years the international language of science was Arabic. Surveying the golden age of Arabic science, Jim Al-Khalili reintroduces such figures as the Iraqi physicist Ibn al-Haytham, who practised the modern scientific method over half a century before Bacon; al-Khwarizmi, the greatest mathematician of the medieval world; and Abu Rayhan al-Biruni, a Persian polymath to rival Leonardo da Vinci.

Published on 30/09/2010 | Paperback published on 26/01/2012 | Translated into 12 languages

 
 

Black Holes, Wormholes and Time Machines

Bringing the material up to date, this second edition captures the new ideas and discoveries made in physics since the publication of the best-selling first edition. The book continues to make the ideas and theories of modern physics easily understood by anyone, from researchers to students to general science enthusiasts. Taking you on a journey through space and time, author Jim Al-Khalili covers some of the most fascinating topics in physics today, including black holes, space warp, the Big Bang, time travel, wormholes, and parallel universes.

In addition, Professor Al-Khalili helps you see how time traveling may not be so far-fetched after all.

Published 01/01/1999 | Second edition published on 12/01/2012 | Translated into 13 languages

 
 

Nucleus: A Trip Into the Heart of Matter

Intended for a general audience, this book unravels the scientific mysteries that surround the subject of the nucleus. Anyone with a passing interest in science will delight in this guide to the nuclear age. The authors, who include expert nuclear physicists and acclaimed science journalists, tell the story of the nucleus from the early experimental work of the quiet New Zealander Lord Rutherford to the huge atom-smashing machines of today and beyond. Nucleus is also the tale of the people behind the struggle to understand this fascinating subject more fully, and of how a vibrant research community uses the power of the nucleus to probe unanswered scientific questions while others seek to harness the nucleus as a tool of twenty-first-century medicine.

Published 03/12/2001 | Second edition published on 01/03/2012 | Translated into 6 languages