Friday, December 14, 2012

3 4 Friday: Bees, Bangs and Barely Imagined Beings

"Science does not know its debt to imagination." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Abingdon sits in the middle of a science triangle: Culham to the East, Harwell and Diamond to the West and of course Oxford to the North (where there may be one of two scientists working). So this week's '3 4 Friday' #FridayReads sees a pick of our favourite science and natural history books of the year - which we feel would satisfy anyone curious about daring discoveries and big ideas...


'A Bee in a Cathedral' by Joel Levy is a brilliant concept executed flawlessly. Published in conjunction with The Science Museum, Levy uses everyday objects and experiences to explain the unbelievably massive, the inconceivably tiny and the unfathomably complex. An attractive book that covers 100 basic scientific concepts through analogies, it is an accessible and engaging read. (The 'Bee in a Cathedral' incidentally proves a great analogy for the space inside an atom...)


In 'The Science Magpie' Simon Flynn invites you to expand your knowledge as you view the history of the Earth on the face of a clock, witness the Big Bang, tremble at the power of the Richter scale and learn how to measure the speed of light in your kitchen. This treasure trove of scientific facts and curiosities is the perfect dip-in-and-out book, as you skip through time with Darwin's note on the pros and cons of marriage, take part in an 1858 Cambridge exam, and meet the African schoolboy with a scientific puzzle named after him.


Finally: from Axolotl to Zebrafish, Casper Henderson's 'Book of Barely Imagined Beings' is a natural history gem. In it, Casper introduces a world of barely imagined beings: real creatures that are often stranger and more astonishing than fiction. Ranging from the depths of the ocean to the most arid corners of the earth, Caspar Henderson captures the beauty and bizarreness of the many living forms we thought we knew and some we could never have contemplated.

Of course, we have our own treasure trove of books on science and natural history - come in for advice on everything from science books for the very young to the discovery of the Higgs Bosun...

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