Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Publish or Perish

Your guide to new science books published this month

Books: We Write, Read, Love, Need Them

By John L. Bradshaw

Why write books? For some, it's a need — to find out what we think, and get the record down for all of history to see. And in science, there's the need to update what's known, something Emeritus Professor John Bradshaw has done.

Imagining the Future: Invisibility, Immortality and 40 Other Incredible Ideas

By Simon Torok and Paul Holper
144 pages, CSIRO Publishing, June 2016, $24.95
ISBN: 9781486302727
Pitched at 9–13-year-olds

We’re living in a rapidly changing world. Around the year 1900, the amount of human knowledge doubled every 100 years. It now doubles almost every year, and by 2020 could double every day. When most of today’s students in primary school grow up, they’ll have jobs that don’t exist right now. They’ll be using technologies that haven’t been invented to solve things that we don’t know are problems yet.

Southern Surveyor: Stories from Onboard Australia's Ocean Research Vessel

By Michael Veitch

Michael Veitch dives into Australian marine research in his new book about the former CSIRO Marine National Facility research vessel Southern Surveyor.

It’s a funny thing writing a book: you spend all that time alone in a darkened (if you write at night, like I do) room: just you and your head, nutting out a story, tapping away into the night. Then you give it away and a few months later – it’s ripped from its cosy little womb and exposed into the searing light of day, as well as the public’s gaze.

Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?

By Loretta Marron

When celebrity culture and science clash.

Whether it be through modelling, music, movies or sports, award-winning University of Alberta-based academic, Professor of Health Law & Science Policy and a Canada Research Chair, Timothy Caulfield, loves celebrity culture. His book Is Gwyneth Paltrow wrong about everything? is a journey unravelling the considerable influence of celebrities on what we think and on our resulting health and life choices.

A Scientist in Wonderland

By Loretta Marron

A review of Edzard Ernst's autobiography.

Edzard Ernst is the world expert in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), but this accolade did not come easily, neither personally nor professionally. Passion emerges from his book, "A Scientist in Wonderland: a memoir of looking for truth and finding trouble" – in his love for his wife, friends and family, music, living a full life, and dedication to the pursuit of scientific inquiry.

This is juxtaposed with his hatred for the Nazis and shame for the past of his own people.

New books

Your guide to new books

Will Mozart Make My Baby Smart?

Andrew Whitehouse, UWA Publishing, $27.99

Few areas attract myths like pregnancy and early child-rearing. From being able to tell the sex of a child to techniques to boost fertility or claims about what it takes to produce model offspring, everyone has heard a rumour. Professor Andrew Whitehouse of the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research tackles 13 beliefs, such as the effect of mobile phones on sperm, the behavioural impact of sugar and the idea that pregnant women can’t focus.

The Curious Country

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

The creation of the gap between humans and animals


Why is ours the only surviving lineage in a multitude of human forms?

Great apes have not always been humans’ closest living relatives. Only 2000 generations ago we still shared this planet with several upright-walking, fire-controlling, tool-manufacturing cousins, including big Neanderthals (Homo neanderthalensis) and small “Hobbits” (Homo floresiensis). With its various bipeds, it was a world reminiscent of Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Our ancestors 40,000 years ago would have had much less reason than we have today to believe they were far removed from the rest of the Earth’s creatures. We were but one of a group of similar species.

New books

Your guide to new books this month.

The Best Australian Science Writing 2013

Jane McCredie and Natasha Mitchell (Eds), New South, $39.99

The Best Australian Science Writing series this year combines entries in the Bragg New South Science Writing Prize and the work of prominent figures such as Peter Doherty and Tim Flannery. From Becky Crew’s mock diary of a deep sea angler fish to Clive Hamilton’s indictment of those who think we can fix the climate by reshaping the planet, the 2013 edition spans the breadth of science, from the humorous to the deeply serious.

What a Wonderful World

New books

Your guide to new books this month.

Ian Frazer: The Man Who Saved a Million Lives

Madonna King, University of Queensland Press, $29.95

The title is a little overblown, since Prof Ian Frazer’s vaccines against cervical cancer have not been applied long enough for the anticipated decrease in cervical cancer rates to appear. Nevertheless, with 275,000 women each year dying as a result of strains of the human papillomavirus that are largely prevented by Gardasil and Cervarix, the potential lives saved could eventually be far higher.