The sequel to the popular How Many Moons Does the Earth Have, What Colour is the Sun?, contains two full scale quizzes of eight rounds each purely on science questions. Not the kind of boring questions you got asked at school - these are questions to intrigue and delight including:
• Why do hands and feet go wrinkly in the bath?
• What is a chiliagon?
• What is measured in slugs?
• Which scientific term is the most commonly used noun in written English?
• What would win in a fight between T. rex and Godzilla?
• Who can breath metals and still survive?
… and, yes, What colour is the Sun? (which QI gets wrong).
Although the quizzes can be run as actual events, there’s far more to it that than that. You can test yourself on each question, supported by intriguing factoids, then turn the page to not only on find the answer but a page that expands on the result to give an intriguing exploration of science.
As well as six ordinary rounds each quiz has two special bonus rounds featuring photographs or a science-based puzzle challenge. An ideal gift for any science lover at £7.99
What Colour is the Sun? - Paperback
If you’d like a signed copy of What Colour is the Sun? - it makes a great gift - purchase direct below. If you want a personalised inscription, just drop the author an email at firstname.lastname@example.org at the same time with the details.
How long is 'now'? The short answer is 'somewhere between 2 and 3 seconds'. The long answer involves an incredible journey through neuroscience, our subconscious and the time-bending power of meditation. Living in the present may never feel the same.
Ready for some more? Okay.
Why isn't Pluto a planet? Why are dogs' noses wet? Why do hens cluck more loudly after laying an egg? What happens when one black hole swallows another? Do our fingerprints change as we get older? How young can you die of old age? And what is at the very edge of the Universe?
Life is full of mind-bending questions. And, as books like What If? and Why Don't Penguins' Feet Freeze? have shown, the route to find each answer can take us on the weirdest and most wonderful journeys. How Long is Now? is a fascinating new collection of questions you never thought to ask, along with answers that will change the way you see everything.
And just £7.99 - even cheaper from Amazon last time we looked.
Chance - Paperback
Nowadays, the world is full of people trying to tell us things. So much so that we have taught our brains not to pay much attention. After all, click the mouse, tap the screen, flick the channel and it’s on to the next thing. But Dave Gorman thinks it’s time to have a closer look, to find out how much nonsense we tacitly accept.
Suspicious adverts, baffling newspaper headlines, fake twitter, endless cat videos, insane TV shows where the presenters ask the same questions over and over… Although borderline science, certainly of interest to the popular science reader.
A bit of a stretch, but just about a stocking filler at £11.99.
Too Much Information - Paperback
Introducing Infinity combines short, bite-sized text segments with superb graphics by Oliver Pugh, designed to reinforce the message. Infinity is a topic you can’t talk about without waving your hands around - and the graphics included here make a huge difference.
Infinity is a profoundly counter-intuitive and brain-twisting subject that has inspired many great thinkers, and driven others to the brink of insanity. See what it can do for you.
An ideal gift pocket book at just £6.99.
Introducing Infinity - Paperback
If you’d like a signed copy of Introducing Infinity - it makes a great gift - purchase direct below. If you want a personalised inscription, just drop the author an email at email@example.com at the same time with the details.
Your body is teeming with tens of trillions of microbes. It’s an entire world, a colony full of life.
In other words, you contain multitudes.
These microscopic companions sculpt our organs, protect us from diseases, guide our behaviour, and bombard us with their genes. They also hold the key to understanding all life on earth.
In I Contain Multitudes, Ed Yong opens our eyes and invites us to marvel at ourselves and other animals in a new light, less as individuals and more as thriving ecosystems.
We learn the invisible and wondrous science behind the corals that construct mighty reefs and the squid that create their own light shows. We see how bacteria can alter our response to cancer-fighting drugs, tune our immune system, influence our evolution, and even modify our genetic make-up. And we meet the scientists who are manipulating these microscopic partners to our advantage.
In a million tiny ways, I Contain Multitudes will radically change how you think about the natural world, and how you see yourself.
Good looking hardback at £20 (£15.99 from Amazon)
I Contain Multitudes - hardback
Weaving together the great ideas of science, The Reality Frame takes us on a thrilling journey from empty space all the way to the human mind.
In his most wide-ranging book, Brian Clegg builds up reality piece by piece, from space, to time, to matter, movement, the fundamental forces, life, and the massive transformation that life itself has wrought on the natural world. He reveals that underlying it all is not, as we might believe, a system of immovable absolutes, but the ever-shifting, amorphous world of relativity.
From religion to philosophy, humanity has traditionally sought out absolutes to explain the world around us, but as science has developed, relativity has swept away many of these certainties, leaving only a handful of unchangeable essentials – such as absolute zero, nothingness, light – leading to better science and a new understanding of the essence of being human.
A stylish hardback gift at £20 (£16.59 from Amazon).
The Reality Frame - Hardback
If you’d like a signed copy of The Reality Frame - it makes a great gift - purchase direct below. If you want a personalised inscription, just drop the author an email at firstname.lastname@example.org at the same time with the details.
In 1953, a man was found dead from cyanide poisoning near the Philadelphia airport with a picture of a Nazi aircraft in his wallet. Taped to his abdomen was an enciphered message. In 1912, a book dealer named Wilfrid Voynich came into possession of an illuminated cipher manuscript once belonging to Emperor Rudolf II, who was obsessed with alchemy and the occult. Wartime codebreakers tried--and failed--to unlock the book's secrets, and it remains an enigma to this day. In this lively and entertaining book, Craig Bauer examines these and other vexing ciphers yet to be cracked. Some may reveal the identity of a spy or serial killer, provide the location of buried treasure, or expose a secret society--while others may be elaborate hoaxes.
Unsolved! begins by explaining the basics of cryptology, and then explores the history behind an array of unsolved ciphers. It looks at ancient ciphers, ciphers created by artists and composers, ciphers left by killers and victims, Cold War ciphers, and many others. Some are infamous, like the ciphers in the Zodiac letters, while others were created purely as intellectual challenges by figures such as Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard P. Feynman. Bauer lays out the evidence surrounding each cipher, describes the efforts of geniuses and eccentrics--in some cases both--to decipher it, and invites readers to try their hand at puzzles that have stymied so many others.
Unsolved! takes readers from the ancient world to the digital age, providing an amazing tour of many of history's greatest unsolved ciphers.
Unsolved! - Hardback
The trio of physicist/singer Helen Arney, physicist/fire-fan Steve Mould and mathematician/more mathematician Matt Parker provide a funny and sometimes surprising canter through all sorts of things about graphs, charts, diagrams and more. If there's a possibility that you don't find this concept fills you with thrills, it's not what they do, it's the way that they do it. Alongside the graphing wizardry is stand up humour, witty songs and some cracking little demonstrations, from plotting a 'bar chart' of an audio sound wave with a series of dancing flames to the impressive Chladni patterns produced with a metal plate, a violin bow... and couscous. I've seen videos of this before (sans couscous), but seeing it in a live show made it come to life.
Priced from around £6 to £12
Just for Graphs: DVD from Amazon or DVD, downloads and VHS direct from the Nerds.
Impress nerdy friends and relatives with coasters featuring particle tracks from a bubble chamber. Beautiful and scientific too.
Priced around £12.
Bubble chamber coasters
Inspired by the classic Erlenmeyer chemistry flask the Earl salt and pepper shakers take on the iconic lab ware aesthetic and combine materials which are recycled, recyclable or sustainable in a practical and contemporary design solution. More to the point - the scientist in your life will love them.
Lab Flasks Salt and Pepper
This mug has the Periodic Table of the Elements around it. We have one in the Popular Science office and love it.
Lab Flasks Salt and Pepper
Features Nuclear Physics terminology and sample graphics. Okay, you might usually think that socks are boring. But everyone needs socks. And nuclear physics socks?!
Nuclear Physics socks
The format is one of a large month-by-month calendar, but instead of having spaces to write in when you take the dog to the vets, the children to the cinema or vice versa, it has two big spreads of the horizon, looking North and looking South on the 15th of the month at 10pm GMT from a UK viewpoint. With this in hand you should be able to explore the night sky and sort out Andromeda from Perseus. As well as constellations it shows the positions of planets, points out interesting stars, and, yes, shows the phase of the moon through the month. A great gift for any amateur astronomer.