Reviews: HOW LIFE WORKS: A User’s Guide to the New Biology

UK book cover for How Life Works, A User's Guide to the New BiologyHow Life Works: A User’s Guide to the New Biology by Philip Ball

“There is so much that is amazing. When Ball tackles issues, any textbook chalkiness gets blown away… For Ball, the possession of agency — and purpose, and even meaning — is precisely how you might characterise life. Life, then, is not the servant of the selfish gene. Life happens at other levels. In the cell. In the organism. In us.”
James McConnachie, Sunday Times

“Ball’s marvelous book is both wide-ranging and deep. It explores the fundamental mechanics of biology and leaves the reader full of awe and wonder. More than this, by reframing how we talk about the latest scientific discoveries, How Life Works has exciting implications for the future of the science of biology itself. I could not put it down.”
Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning “The Emperor of All Maladies”



Reviews: BEAUTIFUL EXPERIMENTS: An Illustrated History of Experimental Science

Book cover image of Beautiful Experiments: An Illustrated History of Experimental ScienceBeautiful Experiments: An Illustrated History of Experimental Science by Philip Ball

“Although experimentation is arguably the backbone of modern science, historians of science have often tended to focus their studies on theoretical developments. . . . Ball aims to rectify that disparity in his new book Beautiful Experiments, which outlines sixty investigations carried out from antiquity to the present day. Ball groups the experiments into six chapters, each of which focuses on themes, including the behavior of organisms, the nature of light, and the nature of life. He complements those efforts with five meditative interludes that delve into philosophical or aesthetic topics relating to experimentation, such as how to define an experiment, why thought experiments are useful, and what scientists mean when they say an experiment is beautiful. The richly illustrated book is a treat for the eyes.”
Physics Today

Reviews: THE BOOK OF MINDS: How to Understand Ourselves and Other Beings, from Animals to AI to Aliens

The cover of The Book of Minds by Philip Ball“Ball argues that we must look beyond our own brains and delve into the minds of other creatures if we want to truly understand ourselves and comprehend the possibility of alien or machine intelligence.” New Scientist, “Don’t Miss”

“That even plants might have a degree of consciousness is one aspect of mind considered in Philip Ball’s wide-ranging new book… Peering into other putative minds—animal, plant, AI, alien—Ball breaks the narcissistic trap of our sapiocentrism, our default assumption that the world is ours first, and only later should we condescend to find a little space for the rest of creation… Ball deals equally coolly with the possibility of communicating with other minds in the cosmos—having recently learnt to message the universe after billions of years, why would we expect another life form suddenly to respond? Ball is the laureate of curiosity and a one-stop source of wisdom. This book will teach you a lot about minds; but it will also make you marvel at the capacious and sagacious one possessed by its author.” Prospect

Reviews: BEYOND WEIRD: Why Everything You Thought You Knew About Quantum Physics Is Different

Book Cover of Beyond Weird: Why Everything You Thought You Knew About Quantum Physics Is Different

“Easily the best book I’ve read on the subject.” Margaret Wertheim, Washington Post

“A clear and deeply researched account of what’s known about the quantum laws of nature, and how to think about what they might really mean.” Natalie Wolchover, Nature

“the most original and interesting book on quantum physics for the general public in a long while.” Brian Clegg, Physics World


Reviews: THE MODERN MYTHS: Adventures in the Machinery of the Popular Imagination

Book Cover of The Modern Myths: Adventures in the Machinery of the Popular Imagination

“Ball does an impressive job with the literary histories behind each iconic title, assembling a set of origin stories rich in cultural history and imagination… To Ball, mythic writing is where the conditions of irrationality, superstition, and enchantment persist: forms of wonder that depend on the disconnect between what we know for sure and what we simply believe.” Sophie Gee, New York Times Book Review

Reviews: SERVING THE REICH: The Struggle for the Soul of Physics Under Hitler

Book cover - Serving the Reich: The Struggle for the Soul of Physics Under Hitler by Philip Ball

Selected for science books of the year in the Observer and Times Higher Education. Shortlisted for the 2014 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books.

“The story is intriguing for it reveals the lack of insight of many of the world’s greatest physicists.”Robin McKie, Observer

“Ball’s book shows what can happen to morality when cleverness and discovery are valued above all else.”Philip Maughan, New Statesman

Reviews: CURIOSITY: How Science Became Interested in Everything

Book cover of Curiosity by Philip Ball

“Curiosity is a wonderful book that revises popular assumptions about the Scientific Revolution with great wit and insight. But ultimately it is both a cogent and vigorously argued reflection on what drives modern experimental science… Philip Ball distinguishes himself as unquestionably one of our finest – and most curious – writers on the history and future of science.”Jerry Brotton, Literary Review

Reviews: UNNATURAL: The Heretical Act of Making People

Unnatural: The Heretical Idea of Making People. A book by Philip Ball

“A beautifully written, deeply intelligent book that will force every reader to rethink at least some of their preconceptions.” Jim Endersby, Daily Telegraph

“A fascinating and impressive cultural history.”Manjit Kumar, The Guardian

“Labelling Ball a science writer sells his writing short, for its value lies above all in a range that dissolves the awkward silences between science and the larger culture of which it is part.” Marek Kohn, The Independent

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