farewell-to-ice

We’re doomed! Or are we?

A Farewell To Ice by Peter Wadhams One theme that has emerged in much of my reading of late is that of icy and mostly northern climes. From Beryl Bainbridge’s Titanic novel Every Man for Himself to Midge Raymond’s Antarctic penguins in My Last Continent to Eowyn Ivey’s Alaska in To The Bright Edge of the World, then Stef Read More

all the birds

Science vs Magic in a Dystopian World

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders The minute I read the tag-line on the press release for this book, I knew I had to read it: ‘A witch, a scientist and the end of the world’. This novel tries to do something that is not often seen in genre fiction – melding fantasy and Read More

Travelling

Life with the Hawkings

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. Firstly, a brief note about time… On Jan 25th, I went to see the film The Theory of Everything – the story of Jane and Stephen Hawking, based on Jane’s memoir.  It was bloody brilliant!  And its two young stars – Eddie Redmayne Read More

Throw Away Unopened

Three Slightly Shorter Reviews

I’ve got a series of posts lined up for the week in between Christmas and New Year with my hits, misses, finds and stats, so it’s time to catch up with my review pile backlog and some shorter reviews… The Undertaker’s Daughter by Kate Mayfield For anyone who loved the TV series Six Feet Under, Read More

Throw Away Unopened

My new reviews at Shiny New Books

The third issue of Shiny New Books came out on Monday. Now it’s time for me to highlight some of my reviews that appear therein and point you in their direction. As it ended up, I didn’t write as many reviews for this edition, but I shall still split them into a few posts in Read More

Throw Away Unopened

How do you define an expert scientist?

Are We All Scientific Experts Now? by Harry Collins Harry Collins is a professor at Cardiff University, where he lectures on the sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK), and his areas of research include: the Nature of Scientific Knowledge and knowledge in general; public Understanding of Science; and the Nature of Skills and Expertise, amongst other topics. Read More

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ATOM! Abingdon Festival of Science & Technology

Our town of Abingdon-on-Thames is situated in one of the real science hubs of the UK. Apart from all the science faculties in Oxford to the north, just south of the town is the Harwell campus – home of the Diamond Light Source and the Rutherford Appleton Lab. To the SE is the Culham Centre Read More

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“Marvellous Materials That Shape Our Man-Made World”

Stuff Matters by Mark Miodownik What would we do without man-made materials?  We can’t live without them these days. Mark Miodownik, whom some of you may recognise from his regular TV appearances on Dara O’Briain’s Science Club on BBC2, wants to tells us all about the things our man-made world is shaped from. Mark, like me Read More

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Through the keyhole …

Snoop: What Your Stuff Says About Youby Sam Gosling I defy any browsing bibliomane not to pick this book up on seeing the arrangements of books and comfy armchair through the keyhole on its cover! I’m sure that you, like me, sniff out the bookcases as soon as you go in someone’s house. If they Read More

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The making of a scientist

Konstantinby Tom Bullough When I met Tom Bullough at the Penguin Blogger’s Night last month, I was instantly taken with his reading from his novel Konstantin.  Later, talking to him, he was excited by the finished article and showed me the lovely fold out cover. An oversized paperback original, the dust-jacket is scattered with gilt Read More

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I should be so lucky ….

The Luck Factor: The Scientific Study of the Lucky Mind by Dr Richard Wiseman Richard Wiseman’s speciality is a fascination with the quirkier side of psychology, (his website and blog are here).  A magician and psychologist based at the University of Hertfordshire, (which is still Hatfield Poly in my mind), he and his team investigate the Read More

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Air-freighted asparagus? Never again!

 How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything by Mike Berners-Lee. I love popular science books and programmes.  As a trained scientist, who still does useful but not challenging science at work, (I’m a school lab technician), at best, these books are great at keeping the science bit of your brain ticking over while Read More

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Q&A with science writer Marcus Chown

It’s my great pleasure today to introduce you to Marcus Chown, author of We Need To Talk About Kelvin who is on a blog tour to promote the book (which I reviewed here). Apart from writing great popular science books, Marcus is cosmology consultant of magazine New Scientist, having formerly been a radio astronomer at Read More

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Making Quantum Physics Accessible

On Wednesday, I am delighted that Marcus Chown, author of We Need to Talk About Kelvin: What Everyday Things Tell Us About the Universe” will be visiting my blog to do a Q&A as part of his blogtour to promote the book. Marcus is a best-selling science author and cosmology consultant for New Scientist magazine. Read More

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Medical Myths debunked

Don’t Swallow Your Gum: and Other Medical Myths Debunked by Dr Aaron Carroll and Dr Rachel Vreeman This short book looks into about seventy-five medical myths and old wives tales, examines the evidence, and debunks them. Many will have read Ben Goldacre’s bestselling book Bad Science – (If you haven’t read it, do! My review Read More

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We’ll weather the weather, whatever the weather ?…

Turbulence by Giles Foden Do you remember the old poem ? Whether the weather be mild or whether the weather be not, Whether the weather be cold or whether the weather be hot, We’ll weather the weather whatever the weather, Whether we like it or not. This definitely wasn’t the case in the planning for Read More

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Quality debunking of poor scientific thinking

Bad Science by Ben Goldacre This is an important book with two main themes. The first is what really goes on behind medical trials – the placebo effect; how many trials are poorly designed; how their data is reported and manipulated; and then how the media takes it, twists it and sensationalises it. The second Read More

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This novel snaps, crackles and pops with electricity

The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt This Orange prize short-listed novel has had some mixed reviews. To be honest, it’s a bit of a mixture itself, refusing to be easily genrified being: part fictionalised biography of mad physicist Nikola Tesla, part love story, part time-travel SF/fantasy, and part mainstream novel set in New Read More