Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

New books

Your guide to new science books published this month

Particle Physics: A Graphic Guide
Tom Whyntie and Oliver Pugh, Allen and Unwin, $12.99

If you’re looking for an advanced course in particle physics then this book is not the place to go. However, if you want a fun introduction that doesn’t overly tax the brain, Particle Physics: A Graphic Guide might be what you want. It’s light on equations but heavy on photographs of great scientists explaining their work, and even a pair of sock puppets explaining symmetry.

Living in a Warmer World
Jim Salinger (Ed), CSIRO, $35.00

Subtitled How a Changing Climate Will Affect Our Lives, this book is made up of 17 articles from leading scientists on how global warming will affect important aspects of the world within the lifetimes of some readers. Sections include Water, Food, Health and Decisions We Need to Make. There is also a section on What Nature Is Telling Us, including an article on the effects already observed on coral reef systems written by Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, whose work has frequently featured in Australasian Science.

50 Great Myths About Atheism
Russell Blackford and Udo Schuklenk, Wiley, $29.95

University of Newcastle lecturer Russell Blackford has joined Canadian Professor Udo Schuklenk to defend atheism and the application of reason against 50 religious attacks. The book is written for a popular audience, and illustrated with cartoons, but carefully referenced.

The Gap: The Science of What Separates Us from Other Animals
Thomas Suddendorf, Basic Books, $29.99

Thomas Suddendorf is Professor of animal cognition at the University of Queensland, and supervised Cool Scientist Emma Collier-Baker (AS, March 2007, p.43). Here he tackles the question of what distinguishes humans from animals, and comes to a frightening conclusion – the gap between us and the most intelligent species is widening as we progressively eliminate those closest to ourselves.

Mt Stromlo Observatory: From Bush Observatory to Nobel Prize
Ragbir Bhathal, Ralph Sutherland and Harvey Butcher, CSIRO, $39.95

The idea of the Mt Stromlo Observatory dates back more than a century, although it only opened in 1924. In the time since it has endured fires and funding cutbacks to provide the base for work that won the 2011 Nobel Prize. Its role as a factory for gun sights helped save the country during World War 2, and its status as one of the first large southern hemisphere telescopes proved invaluable during the 1987 supernova.

The Biology of Government
Greg Lawrence, Vivid Publishing, $17.95

Retired CSIRO Plant Industry scientist Greg Lawrence argues that government is actually applied biology – animal husbandry and ecosystem management. From this premise he explores what governments should do, and provides some basic biology for politicians who probably lack it.