BookSeriesList
Quercus

How to Count to Infinity

Marcus Du Sautoy
Authors:
Marcus Du Sautoy

Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it... Not falling in love, but counting. Animals and humans have been using numbers to navigate their way through the jungle of life ever since we all evolved on this planet. But this book will help you to do something that humans have only recently understood how to do: to count to regions that no animal has ever reached. By the end of this book you'll be able to count to infinity...and beyond.On our way to infinity we'll discover how the ancient Babylonians used their bodies to count to 60 (which gave us 60 minutes in the hour), how the number zero was only discovered in the 7th century by Indian mathematicians contemplating the void, why in China going into the red meant your numbers had gone negative and why numbers might be our best language for communicating with alien life.But for millennia contemplating infinity has sent even the greatest minds into a spin. Then at the end of the nineteenth century mathematicians discovered a way to think about infinity that revealed that it is a number that we can count. Not only that. They found that there are an infinite number of infinities, some bigger than others. Just using the finite neurons in your brain and the finite pages in this book, you'll have your mind blown discovering the secret of how to count to infinity.

Quercus

How to Draw Anything

As children, when we learn to write, we gain an important life skill - a practical means of communicating that we end up using almost every day of our lives, if only to jot down a shopping list or dash out an email. As children, we also know instinctively that drawing is a great way to communicate, but later in life it isn't universally valued and nurtured in the way that writing is. It's not seen as a necessity, it's seen as a specialism. As a result, most of us are robbed of a powerful, rewarding and perfectly achievable skill by a set of assumptions that are just plain wrong. In the 18th and 19th centuries drawing was central to a good education, not because we were training future artists, but because we were training future doctors, nurses, scientists, engineers, builders, cartographers, carpenters, plumbers and gardeners. We recognised the power of drawing to reveal, explain and clarify where words alone fell short. Florence Nightingale's visualisations of mortality data in the Crimean War saved many lives. From the scruffy sketchbook pages of Alexander Graham Bell came the first telephone. Charles Darwin grabbed a scrap of paper and mapped out the tree of life. They all understood that a good drawing is not one that is beautiful but one that does its job. Not a work of art, but art that works.How to Draw Anything sets out to repair our broken relationship with drawing. Firstly, this book asks you to pick up that pencil from where you left it all those years ago and start making pictures again. It will give you back the confidence and joy in drawing you never should have lost. And secondly, How to Draw Anything will equip you with new means of solving problems, sharing ideas and telling stories. It will take drawing out of the art world and put it into your world, introducing you to drawing as a practical tool for everyday life that will change the way you work, think and communicate.

Quercus

How to Land a Plane

Mark Vanhoenacker
Authors:
Mark Vanhoenacker

Hello! Welcome! Wow, you look surprisingly relaxed. That's great to see. Have a seat on the left side of the cockpit - that's the captain's seat. Yes, you're now the captain. And yes, that's the runway down there. So fasten your seat belt, order yourself a cup of tea, and let's get cracking.Imagine the pilot of the plane you're on is suddenly ill. Only you can take over. What do you do? Mark Vanhoenacker, the airline pilot who makes poetry out of the science of flight technology, turns the nerve-wracking reality of hitting the runway into a practical but also meaningful experience, in this fascinating guide to the magical art of flying.Flight shows us a new immensity, but also reminds us where we come from. And even as it puts us in our proper relationship to the infinite, even as it makes us feel so tiny, it uplifts us. But flying also comes with a whole lot of rather tedious manuals. In this short, humorous and spiritual guide, the bestselling author of SKYFARING makes these manuals more accessible and fun as he describes one of the most important and liminal phases of flight:the transition from air to ground. You'll understand the difference between 'controls' and 'instruments', you'll know what 'roll', 'pitch' and 'yaw' signify, and you'll also learn to notice the breathtaking beauty of amazing cloudscapes and stunning sunsets. You just needed someone to show you how.

Quercus

How To Understand E = MC2

Christophe Galfard
Authors:
Christophe Galfard

The beginning of the 20th century heralded a scientific revolution: what a few brilliant minds uncovered about our reality in the first twenty years has shaped the history of our species. And one of them in particular stands out: Einstein, with his celebrated E=mc2.In this remarkable and insightful book, Christophe Galfard describes how E=mc2 is a direct consequence of the Theory of Special Relativity, the theory of how objects move and behave, at speeds close to the speed of light. He considers Einstein's legacy in the light of the 21st century, with fresh hindsight, and considers its impact on our vision of reality. The reader will discover that far from being just a formula, it is a brand new understanding of the nature of space and time.Some of the greatest scientific breakthroughs in the history of science have been made by geniuses who managed to merge and unite hitherto separated domains of knowledge. Galfard explores two unifications with Einstein's theories, and looks at the even bigger picture of how E=mc2 has changed our world, and what it entails for the future.Throughout, Galfard takes the reader on an extremely entertaining journey, using simple, jargon-free language to help the reader gain a deeper understanding of science. With humour and patience, he guides us through the world of particles, anti-matter and much more to bring us closer to an ultimate understanding of reality as we understand it today.

1