My latest Books
Book of Inventions
Discover how the world's
greatest inventions work in this funny and accessible
novelty book by inventions expert, Adam Hart-Davis. If
you've ever wondered why the pencil came into existence,
or how a steam engine works, or when we started using
flushing toilets, this book has all the answers. Based
on seven key areas of invention, Adam Hart-Davis tells
the stories behind steam power, lighting, toilets,
clocks, communication, bikes and flight, and how they
are still relevant to our world today.
The Book of Time
From water clocks to
atomic chronometers, people have always tried to keep
track of time, while wondering what it is, and why
women, plants, and fish have cycles linked to the Moon.
How can a jellyfish sting you in less than a
microsecond, although you won’t feel the pain for a
million times longer? Does time really slow down when
you are bored and speed up in emergencies? Was there a
beginning of time, and will there be an end?
Buy now from Amazon:
The Book of Time: Everything You Need to Know About the
Biggest Idea in the Universe
Published by Mitchell Beazley (3
This is an epic visual
guide to the great engineers who have built our world.
Full of great tales of achievement and ingenuity,
"Engineers" celebrates 80 of the greatest engineers that
ever lived and the stamp they have left on the world.
Learn all about how their projects have changed the
course of history and added to human progress from the
men who built the Great Pyramid in Egypt to the
Industrial Revolution and the impressive structures of
Isambard Kingdom Brunel and on to the pioneers of space
travel and the computer scientists of today. From
initial concepts to prototypes and finished designs,
"Engineers" is full to bursting with technical drawings,
specially commissioned artworks, blueprints and virtual
tours that help bring the structures, inventions and
technological breakthroughs to life. "Engineers" is for
anyone who is intrigued by the power of the pioneering
Buy now from Amazon.co.uk
Published by Dorling Kindersley
(1 May 2012)
And some of my other books.
Science - The Definitive
Fascinating, challenging and
enlightening, this book explores all aspects of
scientific discovery from the Stone Age to the present
day. From the development of levers and pulleys to the
latest, cutting edge developments in cloning and
nanotechnology. It captures the subject in a uniquely
accessible, exciting and visual way.
Published September 2009 by Dorling Kindersley
unravelling the history of a twisted piece of twine
Stringlopedia gathers together every
strand of string (and its big brother, rope) to weave a
fascinating overview of this multi-faceted yet often
under-valued material. Among the mass of strands you
will find the world's biggest ball of twine, a stringy
history and the origin of the phrase "to cut the Gordian
knot". On a more practical note, learn how to do magic
tricks, weigh a pig or string-roast a pigeon.
Instructions to tie your laces in seven different ways,
create an impressive string figure or bind up your enemy
will help you to swing into action and immerse yourself
in string. So string along with Adam Hart-Davis as he
teaches you the ropes and untangles your string-phobia.
Published May 2009 by Readers Digest Association
The Cosmos - A
atom-smashing to alien-hunting, this book explores the latest
ideas and experiments in cosmology.
For my new television series, I travelled around the world to
meet the people and the apparatus at the cutting edge – the
gamma-ray-burst team who are on constant readiness for text
messages from a satellite, the physicists deep underground at
CERN near Geneva, the engineers constructing spacecraft in
Amsterdam, the astronomers above the clouds in Chile, the
ingenious planet-hunter SuperWASP on top of an old volcano in
the Canary Islands, and the SETI team building a vast telescope
in northern California in order to listen for messages from
outer space. Is there life elsewhere in the universe, or are we
Read the review and
interview published in
Published 21 June 2007 by BBC Books.
The Definitive Visual Guide
editorial consultant for the vast new history book published by
I did not write
this book – there were many contributors – but I did read the
whole thing and made suggestions, and I was mightily impressed.
The history I learned at
school was a load of lists – dates and names, like the kings and
queens of England (‘Willy, Willy, Harry, Stee, Harry, Dick,
John, Harry III…’). As a result I hated it and never saw the
connections between the various strands. I now realize that
history is important, and that we can all learn from the
triumphs and especially from the mistakes of our ancestors. This
book paints broad pictures of the great sweep of history, as
well as providing sharp biographies of the most important men
and women who shaped the world. It’s a family reference book
which teases out both the sparks of wars and revolutions, and
the deep roots of great civilizations.
review in The Times
article in Local History Magazine.
Published by Dorling Kindersley on 30
Just Another Day
Have you ever wondered why the shower curtain always billows
inwards? Why bran flakes make a good breakfast? Or why
'non-iron' shirts don't need ironing? These are just a few of
the hundreds of intriguing questions I provide answers to in
this fascinating book of knowledge.
Just Another Day follows me through my typical day, as I
reveal not only the science and technology we are surrounded by
in our everyday lives, but also the history behind inventions.
This book is packed full of wonderful facts, such as how a
modern radio-controlled alarm clock works compared with the
first one ever made - by Ktesibios in Alexandria in the third
century BC - as well as the real function of toothpaste and what
our ancestors used before such a thing was available. You will
learn how Roman lavatories worked and how the ancients used to
shave, as well as whether you stay drier by walking or running
in the rain and why ice cubes crack in your drink.
Published on 21 September 2006 by Orion.
My thanks go to the British Library
for assisting in parts of my research.
Taking the Piss
Nine years ago I offered a publisher a
quartet of reference books – EncycLOOpedia, EncycloPOOdia,
EncycloPEEdia, and Enfarta, but they turned me down, and all
that came out was a little book about lavatories, called
Thunder, Flush, and Thomas Crapper. It would have been longer,
but my editor was ruthless, and told me to cut the crap.
Seven years later my radio producer John
Byrne, champion of wacky ideas, suggested we should make a radio
programme called Taking the Piss out of London (see
radio). We did, and it won an award, and
a publisher then asked whether I could write a book about it.
Luckily I had both my old files and an enthusiastic co-author
and we set to work. There turns out to be a mountain – or
perhaps a lake – of material about urine, just waiting to be
sucked up. Peeing is such a routine function in life that people
have not only found weird and wonderful ways and places to do
it, and a plethora of uses for the stuff, but have also written
about it extensively, and used urine in every medium of art.
This is not a comprehensive account – we have left out more than
we could cram in – but we hope it is an enjoyable taster.
Emily Troscianko. Illustrations courtesy of Jolyon
Published on 10 October 2006 by The Chalford Press.
Why Does a Ball Bounce? And 100 other questions from the world
|Why does a ball bounce?
and 100 other questions from the
world of science was published by Ebury Press in September
2005. It is full of my own photographs, with a scientific
question about each, and answers to most.
|I interviewed some of the most influential scientists and thinkers of
our time and let them tell me about their passion for their work. I talked
to Jocelyn Bell Burnell (Bath, UK), Sir
Michael Berry (Bristol, UK), Colleen Cavanaugh (Harvard, US),
Richard Dawkins (Oxford, UK), Loren Graham (MIT, US),
Richard Gregory (Bristol, UK), Eric Lander (MIT, US), Lord May
of Oxford (UK), John Maynard Smith (Sussex, UK), Rosalind Picard (MIT, US), Peter Raven (St Louis, US), Sir Martin Rees
(Cambridge, UK), Eugenie Scott (Oakland, US), and Lewis Wolpert (UCL, UK).
Read a review here
(South Coast Magazine, February 2005).
the Past Did for Us
What the Past Did for Us accompanied a major 9-part
series (see my TV page), in which I
led you through the history of inventions while testing
some of these in my 'studio'.
What the Tudors and Stuarts Did for Us
What the Tudors and
Stuarts did for us.
250 pages with wonderful pictures and more detail than in the TV series.
and the Eddystone Lighthouse
amazing joker who came to an extraordinary end.
Thunder, flush and Thomas Crapper
was published by Michael
O'Mara in 1997.
have written two books on the lavatory.
Even more of my
Mensa Math Sterling 2004
Michael O'Mara 2003
The Book of Victorian Heroes Sutton 2001
What the Victorians did for us Headline 2001
Chain Reactions National Portrait Gallery 2001
Local Heroes DIY Science (with Paul Bader) BBC 2000
100 Local Heroes (with Paul Bader) Sutton 1999
Eurekaaargh! inventions that failed
Michael O'Mara 1999
More Local Heroes (with Paul Bader) Sutton 1998
Amazing Maths Puzzles Sterling 1998
Local Heroes Book of British Ingenuity (with Paul Bader) Sutton
Science Tricks Harper Collins 1997
Flush and Thomas Crapper Michael O'Mara 1997
Your Psychic Powers (with Susan Blackmore) Thorsons 1995
Weirdest “True” Ghost Stories Sterling (New York) 1991
Mathematical Eye Unwin Hyman 1989
Scientific Eye Bell & Hyman 1986
Where there’s life... (with Hilary Lawson) Rainbird /
Michael Joseph 1982
Don’t just sit there! Corgi Carousel 1980
the Oxford Companion to the Body
I wrote the entries on Burp, Defecate, Farting, and Potty Training.
Page last updated:
Monday, 14 January 2013 15:37