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30-second Theories: The 50 Most Thought-provoking Theories in Science [Hardcover]

Paul Parsons , Martin Rees , Susan Blackmore
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
RRP: 12.99
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Book Description

6 May 2010 30-Second
When it comes to big science, very few things are conclusively known. From Quantum Mechanics to Natural Selection, what we have instead are theories - ideas explain why things happen the way they do. We don't know for certain these are correct - no one ever saw the Big Bang - but with them we can paint beautiful, breathtaking pictures of everything from human behaviour to what the future may hold. Profiling the key scientists behind each theory, 30-Second Theories presents each entry in a unique, eye-catching full-colour design, with thought-provoking extras and stylish illustrations. It is essential for anyone keen on expanding their mind with science's most thrilling ideas.

Frequently Bought Together

30-second Theories: The 50 Most Thought-provoking Theories in Science + 30-Second Philosophies: The 50 Most Thought-provoking Philosophies, Each Explained in Half a Minute + 30-Second Psychology: The 50 Most Thought-provoking Psychology Theories, Each Explained in Half a Minute
Price For All Three: 27.27

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Icon Books Ltd (6 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184831129X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848311299
  • Product Dimensions: 18.7 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 144,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Paul Parsons is former editor of BBC Focus magazine. He has written for publications from the Telegraph to FHM. His The Science of Doctor Who (Icon) was longlisted for the 2007 Royal Society Prize. Martin Rees is Astronomer Royal, President of the Royal Society, and Professor of Cosmology and Astrophysics at Cambridge.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 50 Science Ideas You Really Need to Know 1 Jun 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
We're so lucky to live at a time where our knowledge of the universe is so advanced, but to the interested non-specialist with a busy life, science can sometimes seem like a mishmash of theory, fact, claim, jargon and ugly equations. However do not fear, because this book strips things down to the bare essentials of what you need to know.

Very similar in principle to the "50 Ideas You Really Need to Know" series, except this one book has a broader coverage of the whole of science, cut into 7 sections on Macrocosm, Microcosm, Evolution, Mind/Body, Earth, Universe & Knowledge and punctuated by glossaries of key words and short biogs of 7 key men (Einstein, Darwin etc).

Okay so you're not going to get a deep understanding of most of the stuff, but you'll at least be aware of where science is currently at and you'll maybe be inspired to delve further into one of the topics if it strikes an interest. Also don't be put off by the dull front cover, as inside is pure quality, glossy pages, artwork, easy on the eye, and it really does only take 30 seconds for each....old, young, expert, beginner...a must have reference on your shelf, in fact it should be in every school's library.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Theories That Guide Us 4 April 2011
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 500 REVIEWER
As a theoretical physicist I am oftentimes at pains to explain to people what is it that I actually do. Theory is a loaded term, and it has different meaning depending on the context in which it is used. The colloquial meaning suggests little more than an elaborate opinion, oftentimes not easily refutable. However, in the minds of most scientists theories are the most refined sets of principles that have been validated through many quite rigorous scientific means, and have come to dominate whole sections of the ways that we view the world around us.

Anyone with some degree of post-secondary education is probably familiar with at least some of the theories that are covered in this book. Many others could be easily explained with a quick online search. However, sometimes it's useful to have a quick and handy reference that can help us get a more secure footing. This well designed and attractive introductory book does exactly that: it provides a brief reference for 50 theories from various fields and disciplines. These are explained in short 300 word sections, with an accompanying illustrations and several even shorter references. The topics covered include: the wave theory, universal gravitational theory, placebo effect, continental drift, psychoanalysis, behaviorism, natural selection, and many more. The illustrations are done in a mock fifties style and they convey a slight panache for self-irony. The book is printed on a high-quality glossy paper and can almost function as a coffee table book. It makes a nice little reference or can be used as a thoughtful gift.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too brief 27 July 2011
By Erik
You would say that 30seconds for a single science theory subject is more than enough (it's the reason why I bought it) but you'll find out soon that perhaps the book should have been titled 2-minutes theories; it was just too brief. All in all I enjoyed reading it (and learned from it).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By hfffoman TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I figured this was the ideal gift for someone at the extreme end of non-scientist. a great deal of care has been taken to make it attractive as it flits across subjects at a fast pace, ideal for someone with no appetite for studying science. I mark it down for two reasons: I agree with Jason's excellent review and I couldn't help noticing the person I gave it to opened it for about 5 minutes then put it in a drawer and went back to Cosmopolitan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 30 Seconds or More? 28 Jan 2014
By peter k
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
An excellent book containing succinct descriptions of the past and latest theories. I do wonder if those with little scientific background might not understand parts of it. I make only one criticism of this electronic version When seeking information, while reading a chapter, for a further point of clarification or the career of an associated scientist,-I found it very difficult to find my way back to the original page I was reading. I often found that assimilation and appreciation, of what I read, took somewhat more than the 30 second to read it
It is a very good book in the 30 Second Series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Theory Overview 10 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I'd guess this book is primarily aimed at people without a scientific background to give them a brief overview of the 50 theories and it definitely does exactly that. I don't fit into what I'm guessing the target audience is as I studied physics at university however I thought I'd get it to remind me of all the things I've forgotten and to give me an overview of the non-physics theories and overall it's been very successful at that. I've marked it down 1 star as I've spotted a factual error in one of the descriptions (and it's not a physics one!), for the 'Out of Africa' theory it states that modern humans don't share any genes with neanderthals however I've read in other places that a small percentage of the dna is common between the 2 indicating an element of interbreeding. I haven't spotted any errors in the physics based theories I've read so far however after spotting that error I'm a bit worried that there may be other errors in the non-physics theories that I don't have the base level of knowledge to be able to spot them.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous
I love books like this. They take previously misunderstood or obfuscated topics and explain the broad strokes in plain English. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Garrum
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Actually got my son to read a book about Science....... and he enjoyed it!! Now lets try bigger books and we'll see if it worked!
Published 7 months ago by MRS S D PASK
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
This is a great read for people wanting a straighforward overview of scientific theories. I picked up this book every time I had a spare couple of minutes and thoroughly enjoyed... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Lillybet7
3.0 out of 5 stars Full of interesting facts
Could do with being a bit longer though. I liked the fact that there were interesting topics though, I'm all for expanding my knowedge.
Published 8 months ago by Malcolm Balshaw
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite stimulating
I enjoyed a lot of these which were new to me, though there were some I already knew about; that's the problem of being a scientist :-)
Published 12 months ago by Janie
5.0 out of 5 stars Success in scientific satisfaction!
An accessible and clearly-expressed insight into fundamental scientific theories - perfect for satisfying the interest and curiosity of the non-scientist. Read more
Published 13 months ago by John Rose
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, if a touch basic
It seems like a nice idea to have a book with 50 different science theories, and it was a very pleasant read. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Sprootie
4.0 out of 5 stars Good description of each theory.
Good description of each theory. Some times the theory description is too short it does not give enough information to enable the reader to comprehend fully.
Published 17 months ago by JOJECO
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed this one
Great book to dip in and out of with references to more detailed reading. Ideal for those few spare minutes each day
Published 17 months ago by DrummersDad
3.0 out of 5 stars Its OK
Its not what I expected and if I had picked it up in a bookshop I woudl have scanned it & then put ot back. Perhaps I shoudl do this with kindle versions? Read more
Published 17 months ago by Mr. Adrian F. Davies
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