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Get into more detail on the subjects you’ve read about with my recommendations for further reading.

Inevitably there is only so much that can be covered in a compact book. Sometimes you get a taster for a subject and want to read more. These are all books I’ve read and have found helpful in exploring the subject matter in greater depth. They are arranged by topic within chapter. Click the picture to see a detailed review and Amazon links.

If you have any recommendations for further reading, drop me an email at


Human hairlessness

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The Eternal Child - theory of how we become more like an infant to be able to survive in large group, resulting in losing much of our body hair.


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Atom - a good mix of biography and science as we follow the trail to discover just what atoms are.


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The Fly in the Cathedral - brilliant story of the race to crack open and understand the atomic nucleus.


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Einstein's Refrigerator - (careful, there's another book of that name, and Segre's book is A Matter of Degrees in the US), it's an excellent exploration of temperature, heat and cold.

Matter and energy

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Why does E=mc2 - getting from relativity to this famous equation isn't trivial. A little heavy in places, but very informative.


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Antimatter - intriguing guide to antimatter: what it is, how it's made and how it's unlikely to be a serious component of a weapon.

String theory

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The Trouble with Physics - exploration of the problems with string theory and how it may not even be science.



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The Double Helix - personal account of the discovery of the structure of DNA from one of those involved. A great story, if subjective.


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Genome - excellent exploration of the human genome, each chapter featuring a gene from one of the chromosomes. Very approachable.


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Microcosm - fascinating study of the E. coli bacterium with lessons for the understanding of life, and our attitude to human genetic info.


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Viruses versus Superbugs - an intriguing look at one alternative to antibiotics: using predatory viruses, to save us from killer bacteria resistant to antibiotics.


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Power, Sex, Suicide - sounds like a political thriller, but it is in fact a fascinating exploration of the role of mitochondria.

Parasites, bacteria

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The Wild Life of our Bodies - an exploration of the way predators, parasites and partners have shaped who we are.


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Neutrino - small book on the hunt for these elusive particles that caused major headlines in 2011



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Light Years - the history of humanity's fascination with light from the earliest explanations to the latest theories.

The Big Bang

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Big Bang - although a little dated on the alternatives to big bang, an excellent description of the origin of the theory and why it has so much support.

The Big Bang

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Before the Big Bang - an exploration of how the universe began, looking at the big bang and alternatives (and if there can be a 'before').


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A Grand and Bold Thing - wonderfully told story of the effort to produce the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and how it has transformed astronomy.


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The Fabric of the Cosmos - great exploration of the nature of space, time and matter, starting with relativity and quantum theory.


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From Eternity to Here - the book A Brief History of Time should have been - really does explore the nature of time in the context of cosmology.


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The 4% Universe - a useful and detailed history of the discovery of the existence of dark matter and dark energy, which make up around 96 percent of the universe.


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Afterglow of Creation - intriguing detective story, tracking back from the cosmic background radiation to the big bang.

Quantum theory

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The Quantum Age - an introduction to quantum physics, intertwined with an exploration of the remarkable ways quantum science has changed our lives from computing to MRI scanners and levitating trains.

Quantum theory

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Quantum Theory Cannot Hurt You - called The Quantum Zoo in the US, the best basic explanation of what quantum theory is all about.

Quantum theory

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The God Effect - the mind boggling quantum entanglement explained, with plenty on the applications from unbreakable encryption to matter transmitters.

Alien life

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Goldilocks and the Water Bears - an exploration of astrobiology. Not without its faults, but worth a look.



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The Disappearing Spoon - entertaining romp through the chemical elements. Kean lumps together rwonderful rambling tales of their discovery and use.


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30-Second Elements - a tour of the chemical elements in 50 short articles - a mix of good basics and fascinating factoids.


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Aspirin - the story of aspirin from quinine substitute to heard medicine. Excellent background and genuinely fascinating.



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Electric Universe - excellent as a teen introduction to the wonders of electricity. Some adults may find it a bit gushing, but otherwise fine.


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Gravity - an in-depth but approachable exploration of gravity, general relativity, quantum gravity, anti-gravity and more.

Time Travel

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Build Your Own Time Machine (How to Build a Time Machine in the US) - the real science of time travel explained.



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The Selfish Gene - although predating many of the discoveries in epigenetics, still an excellent introduction to evolutionary genetics.


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Not a Chimp - convincing exploration of the very real differences between humans and chimps, overlooked by simply comparing the genes.


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The Epigenetics Revolution - insightful explanation of the way that genes and DNA are just the starting point with epigenetics providing much of what makes us human.


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If Dogs could Talk - real eye-opener on the nature and sophistication of the mind of a very familiar creature: the dog.


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After Dolly - excellent combination of a history of Dolly the sheep with an exploration of cloning.


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Mutants - truly remarkable book that uses human mutation to explain how we are all formed while avoiding the voyeurism of the freak show.


Probability and statistics

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Dice World - a fascinating exploration of the way that probability and randomness has an influence on our everyday lives.

Probability and statistics

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The Tiger that Isn't - brilliant excursion into the way we misuse and misunderstand numbers and statistics, and how to see around our probability blindness.

The brain: getting things wrong

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The Invisible Gorilla - why perception lets us down, from the devisors of the basketball video, the asking directions experiment and more.

The brain: getting things wrong

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A Mind of its Own – short and very readable introduction to the many ways our brains deceive us, illustrated throughout by psychological experiments

The brain: getting things wrong

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Brain Bugs - entertaining exploration of the brain, finding out more about it from its failings.

The mind and brain

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Incognito - hugely readable exploration of the way our brains handle sensory input and make decisions, showing how (relatively) little influence the conscious mind has.

Artificial intelligence

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The Most Human Human - the author examines what makes us human as he becomes one of the test subjects in a human versus computer Turing test.


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In Search of Memory - excellent account of the work of Nobel Prize winner Kandel, putting his studies of the cellular nature of memory in the context of his life.

Placebos and alternative medicine

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Trick or Treatment - superb analysis of alternative medicine showing how the early trials often quoted by supporters were often unscientific, and new data prove most to be no different from placebos.

Brain and health

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Science for Life - cuts through the vast swathes of claims in the newspapers on whats good and bad for you to present the best scientific evidence, from health and diet to exercise and brain work.

Codes and ciphers

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The Code Book - the development of codes and ciphers through the ages with lots of historical context and interest.



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Written in Stone - excellent exploration of how our understanding of fossils has developed over time and why science thinks the things it does about the development of animals on Earth.


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The Autobiography - not at all stuffy and Victorian: this short book gives a fascinating insight into Darwin as a human being.


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Why Evolution is True - a persuasive and plain-spoken summary of the evidence for evolution by natural selection.


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The Accidental Species - a fascinating and highly readable explanation of the difficulties of tracing the origins of the human species.
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