Darwin, Whales and Rainforests – New Science Books for September

From the early years of Darwin’s scientific career, to rainforests, tropical plants, and what makes New Zealand tick (geologically speaking!). Have a browse of some of our picks of the new science books this month:

Syndetics book coverCharles Darwin, geologist / Sandra Herbert.
“Most people associate Charles Darwin solely with evolution. Yet Darwin worked in a variety of other scientific areas and considered himself first and foremost a geologist. In 1859, in fact, the Geological Society of London awarded him its highest honor, the Wollaston Medal, for his contributions to the field; eight months later, The Origin of Species was published, and Darwin’s work in geology was relegated to the background. Herbert (history, Univ. of Maryland Baltimore Cty.; ed., The Red Notebook of Charles Darwin) documents Darwin’s interest in geology from age nine or ten, when he first began collecting stones. With the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, Britain sealed its claim as the most powerful nation, particularly on the sea. This newfound stature, along with his family’s wealth, enabled Darwin to pursue a life of scientific inquiry and embark on expeditions that provided him with the ingredients necessary to formulate his theories.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverAmong giants : a life with whales / Charles “Flip” Nicklin with K.M. Kostyal ; foreword by James Darling.
“Flip Nicklin is National Geographic’s whale guy. Any time the magazine runs a story on whales, Nicklin is the photographer sent to illustrate the story. It all began in 1963, when the author’s father was running a dive ship in San Diego. When the father and a couple of buddies discovered a Bryde’s whale tangled in a gill net, they photographed the whale and then freed it. Inspired by both photography and diving, Nicklin bummed around until he got a chance to work as an assistant with humpback whale research in Maui. There he got an iconic photograph of a male whale head down in the water, singing, and he was on his way. Nicklin has created an exciting tale combining the adventure (and drudgery) of field research and the discovery of what whales do and why. Humpbacks in Hawaii, narwhals and belugas in the Arctic, killer whales in Canada, sperm whales in Sri Lanka, and dolphins in Galveston Bay all tell their stories in Nicklin’s marvelous images.–Bent, Nanc. Copyright 2010 BooklistFrom Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.” (Booklist)

Syndetics book coverEngineering animals : how life works / Mark Denny, Alan McFadzean.
“Incorporating their knowledge of systems engineering into the study of how animals navigate their environment, authors Denny, a retired aerospace engineer who specialized in radar and sonar system, and McFadzean, an oil and gas consultant, have written a fascinating study sure to delight naturalists, hunters, and communications specialists. The two apply their technical expertise to a range of problems taken from the animal kingdom: how animals target their prey, the population dynamics underlying predator-prey relationships, how bird migratory patterns depend upon sense perception, global solar energy flows, and more. Hunters, science buffs, and techies alike will especially be fascinated by discussions of target acquisition and tracking. The authors provide a wide overview combined with convincing details, while emphasizing the wide gap between our ability to model the behavior of living beings and create robotic devices and the power and precision of nature. After reading this book a walk through the woods will never be the same. 100 line illustrations, 18 halftones. (May) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverRainforest safari / James Parry.
“Rainforests are special places. Strung around the globe across five continents, they are natural cathedrals on the grandest scale, their lush, humid precincts not only places of great beauty but also home to more than fifty per cent of the world’s known wildlife species. This is biodiversity at its most dramatic: a bewildering variety of plants, birds, mammals and invertebrates depend on the rainforest environment, with the total number of species continuing to grow almost daily as scientists make constant new discoveries. Yet, while we still have so much more to learn about rainforests, they are disappearing – cleared and burned, thanks to human greed for land and demand for timber and other forest resources.In “Rainforest Safari”, James Parry explores these extraordinary landscapes with reference to 25 sites, and reveals the fascinating range of wildlife they support. The book looks at the various types of rainforest, at their different ecosystems and at the diverse features that make them such exciting places to visit.” (Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverScience and the akashic field : an integral theory of everything / Ervin Laszlo.
“Mystics and sages have long maintained that there exists an interconnecting cosmic field at the roots of reality that conserves and conveys information, a field known as the Akashic record. Recent discoveries in vacuum physics show that this Akashic Field is real and has its equivalent in science’s zero-point field that underlies space itself. This field consists of a subtle sea of fluctuating energies from which all things arise: atoms and galaxies, stars and planets, living beings, and even consciousness. This zero-point Akashic Field is the constant and enduring memory of the universe. It holds the record of all that has happened on Earth and in the cosmos and relates it to all that is yet to happen.” (Amazon.co.uk)

Syndetics book coverEncyclopedia of tropical plants : identification and cultivation of over 3000 tropical plants / Ahmed Fayaz.
“Encyclopedia of Tropical Plants brings together over 3,000 species of tropical plants selected to reflect the major plant groups in the tropics all over the world. It uses the most up-to-date nomenclature and systematics and arranges the species in family order, rather than by the usual alphabetical genus name, which makes identification and comparison of similar plants easier. Species descriptions include the plant’s leaves, flowers, stems and fruit, as well as its native habitat, distribution, blooming season and zone. Full-color photographs illustrate the major features of the plants described.”

Syndetics book coverA continent on the move : New Zealand geoscience into the 21st century / chief editor, Ian J. Graham.
“Adrift in the South Pacific Ocean, separated from the rest of the world by vast distances and blessed with some of the most varied and spectacular natural landscapes on Earth, New Zealand is rather special. Generations of geoscientists have developed an increasing understanding of what makes New Zealand geologically unique and why. Highlights of this research, including many discoveries of global significance, are presented in this book. A Continent on the Move explains what makes New Zealand tick geologically, and illustrates the ways that geoscience research can make this country a better place in which to live.”

Syndetics book coverBiological diversity : exploiters and exploited / Paul Hatcher and Nick Battey.
“Biological Diversity takes a fresh, innovative approach to the teaching of biodiversity. Rather than detailing and cataloguing the major taxa and their evolutionary relationships, the authors have selected 18 groups of organisms and used these as a framework in which to discuss the species and their interactions with man and each other.”