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What do computers and light switches have in common? Yutaka Nishiyama illuminates the connection between light bulbs, logic and binary arithmetic.

Most of us are aware that Einstein proved that everything was relative ... or something like that. But we go no further, believing that we aren't clever enough to understand what he did. Hardeep Aiden sets out to persuade readers that they too can understand an idea as elegantly simple as it was original.

The topic of this book  the BanachTarski Paradox  is a result so strange and counterintuitive that the author says he didn't believe it when he first saw it. The "paradox"  in fact an impeccable mathematical theorem  says that a small sphere, for example a pea, can be cut into as few as five pieces which can then be reassembled so as to make a far bigger sphere, for example the sun.

Over the last few years there has been a rush of 'The Science of ...' books  popular science titles written to tie in with the recent release of a popular film or book. These include: The Science of The Xfiles, The Science of Star Wars, The Science of Superheroes, The Science of Supervillains, The Science of Discworld (volumes I, II and III), and The Science of Harry Potter. And into this fray now strides Michael Hanlon with his own offering to the genre.

Riaz Ahmad's mathematical career has led him from the complexities of blood flow to the risks of the financial markets via underwater acoustics. Plus found out how maths can explain all this and more.


Physicist and cosmologist Paul Davies has made an unusual move into the infant discipline of astrobiology. He tells Plus about his interest in the big questions: what is life, how would we recognise aliens  and are they all around us?
