Science publishing in the last ten to fifteen years has breathed life into tired old disciplines by the increasing number of books that aim to convey topical and basic science to that elusive beast, ‘the interested lay reader’. These ‘trade’ books now outweigh textbooks in publishers lists, and one welcome outcome is that they have forced didactic authors to write far more accessibly than they once did. This revolution in public communication of science is partly driven by increasing excellence of television series that are truly informative rather than trivial. The growing interest aroused by science broadcasters creates the trade-book...

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