Book review – science

A computer will never write the Brandenburg Concertos

20 April 2019 9:00 am

What is creativity? Marcus du Sautoy, a mathematician and Oxford professor for the public understanding of science, offers this pert…

Carbon – the stuff of life we’re shamefully ignorant about

26 May 2018 9:00 am

‘I didn’t realise we were carbon,’ said a friend to whom I mentioned this book. She was the first of…

An imaginative depiction of Archaeopteryx, in the transitional phase between non-avian feathered dinosaurs and modern birds

We still live in the age of dinosaurs

12 May 2018 9:00 am

The age of dinosaurs is a perennial favourite on any time traveller’s wishlist. Even though we’re technically still in it…

For the man who has everything, only a space rocket will do

21 April 2018 9:00 am

Today’s VHNWI wants a PRSHLS. That’s Very High Net-Worth Individual and Partially Reuseable Super Heavy Lift System. Or, in the…

How Siddhartha Mukherjee gets it wrong on IQ, sexuality and epigenetics

28 May 2016 9:00 am

A clear, accurate, up-to-date pop science book on genetics would have been most welcome, says Stuart Ritchie. Sadly, this isn’t it

American nuclear weapons test at Bikini Atoll, July 1946

The frightening, fascinating, inspiring story of radiation

5 March 2016 9:00 am

About a century ago, scientists started meddling with an unfamiliar force of nature and the rest of us were terrified.…

The ZX81

When Britannia ruled the digital waves

27 February 2016 9:00 am

Everyone, we hear these days, must learn to code. Being able to program computers is the only way to be…

Matt Ridley manages to Pangloss over the nastier aspects of evolution

19 September 2015 8:00 am

Before I read this book, I wasn’t aware that I was a creationist. But Matt Ridley tells me I am,…

The Ant Nebula, located a mere 3,000–6,000 light years from Earth in the southern constellation Norma

Physicists have stranger ideas than the most preposterous Old Testament preacher

22 August 2015 9:00 am

The beliefs of physicists are infinitely kookier than anything in the Bible, says Alexander Masters

Henry Coxwell and James Glaisher in their balloon car, studying the moisture content of the atmosphere

The weather: a very British obsession

4 July 2015 9:00 am

As I got into a Brighton taxi this morning, my driver’s first words were ‘apparently it’ll clear in a couple…

White dwarfs and neutron stars — stepping-stones to the black hole

30 May 2015 9:00 am

The idea of black holes sounds so quintessentially modern and 20th-century that it may come as a surprise to learn…

Nautilus

The toughest, smartest, strangest creatures ever to evolve are nearing the end of their continental shelf life

23 May 2015 9:00 am

The rich, strange, finely balanced ecosystems of the oceans — on which our lives depend — are profoundly threatened, says Rose George

Incline your upper body slightly forward and place your feet on a low foot rest. Then all the angles are correct

Digesting all the facts — without getting bogged down

16 May 2015 9:00 am

Funnily enough, after my editor sent me these three books to read, my guts started playing up. Suddenly, food seemed…

The unentertaining fact is that resurrecting animals that died out 65 million years ago is likely to remain far beyond the bounds of possibility for a very long time to come

If we recreate the mammoth, it will be 99.999 per cent white elephant

16 May 2015 9:00 am

Years ago, in an ill-conceived attempt to break into natural history radio, I borrowed a nearly dead car from a…

Bigger mouths and longer legs—all the better to bite you with, and run away

Bigger, better bedbugs bite back with a vengeance

25 April 2015 9:00 am

‘Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite,’ my mother used to say when she tucked me in at…

Stuck at K: we know very little about vitamins except that they’re good for us (in small quantities)

21 March 2015 9:00 am

Before I read this book about vitamins, I thought I knew what it would be like. It would be vaguely…