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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 30 March 2017
not bad for a physicist!
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on 21 August 2017
Cox at his best
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on 20 July 2017
A great read and reference book
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on 8 May 2013
haven't read it all yet, but it is clear, understandable and well worth buying. i recommended it to all my friends- they all were happy with this book.
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on 6 May 2013
Nice easy to read and understand..as usual anything by Brian Cox is a good read
Definitely recommend it.makes me feel intelligent.
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on 23 February 2014
love it
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on 25 January 2013
Received the book today, and as soon as I had unpacked it I couldn't resist the urge to start reading, even though the series hasn't even started yet.
Though I will save reading the book in its entirety until I have seen the whole TV series, I wanted to show my enthusiasm after reading the first couple of chapters here.

Much like the other books in the "Wonders Of..' series, this is a beautifully made piece, with fantastic photography and well designed diagrams together with an actually rather vast amount of information contained within.
The diagrams and examples given flow naturally on the pages and only enhance the clarity of what is being explained.

There is a significant amount of subjects even in the first chapter (Called 'Home'). It deals with evolutionary history, Biodiversity and sunlight, right through to fine detailing about water, light spectra and bacteria. After reading the first chapter, I was quite amazed that these subjects are approached and dealt with in such detail and in such a small amount of pages. I wish that my science textbooks back in school were this informative, clear, well detailed and inspiring.
The book continues on in a similar vein, seamlessly blending subjects and the history behind them without it ever feeling slapdash or clunky.

For laymen such as myself, this book (Like the others) is a triumph for not only what it gives in clear, concise yet detailed information but also in inspiration for the scientifically understood joys and wonders of the solar system, universe and now the world in which we live. Brian Cox and Andrew Cohen have made a wonder of their own in this book and its predecessors.

Whether you are buying this to read before, after or during the series as a companion, or even if you will never see the series, this is a delightful and most worthwhile read whichever way you approach it.

The series looks set to be the most inspiring and informative yet.
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on 3 February 2013
The premise of this book - and the accompanying TV series - is that, when trying to understand the mechanisms involved in living processes, it is necessary to begin with chemistry and physics rather than biology. The universal scientific laws existed first; life simply made use of them. This is a fascinating and compelling perspective; I'm not a scientist so for me it has been an entirely new way of viewing the world. For example, I was completely unaware of the way in which the apparatus in the ear that allows humans to hear evolved from the gill arches of ancient jawless fish in order to detect sound waves through the medium of air rather than water. What an astonishing fact!

The book is, like the previous 'Wonders' volumes, beautifully illustrated. Without breaking the text up with pictures and diagrams in this manner, the content could have been rather difficult to follow for non-scientists. The use of quotations from the text as captions also helps to consolidate the main points. Cox and Cohen also underline the point that their mission is not to pick a fight with religion; in an engaging introduction, Cox writes 'I see no necessary contradiction between religion and science.' This attitude is typical of the integrity and warmth of their approach. There is no political agenda here; their aim is to enthuse and inform, not to convert. I did not feel I was being manipulated or preached to, and the use of anecdote and humour did not detract from the sound academic focus.

One very minor gripe - I did sometimes feel that I was just beginning to understand something and turned the page expecting more on the same topic only to find that the text had moved onto a different topic entirely. However, there is nothing to stop me doing some further reading - which is presumably the response the authors are hoping for!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 12 April 2013
This beautifully illustrated book which accompanies the BBC TV series 'Wonders of Life' gives an exciting and accessible account of how a few fundamental physical laws have given rise to the compexity and diversity of life on Earth.
After a brief but enlightening introduction there follows five engrossing chapters titled 'Home'; 'What Is Life?'; 'Size Matters'; 'Expanding Universe' & 'Endless Forms Most Beautiful'.
Particle physicist Professor Brian Cox confesses that his biology education terminated in 1984 and so had to learn much of the material that appears in 'Wonders of Life'. Despite this, he and co-author Andrew Cohen have created a marvellous book that should inspire a wider interest in the life sciences.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 2 February 2013
The hallmark of an expert presenting to a lay audience is the skill of delivering the complexities of a subject into a more simplified form without losing the emphasis and interest of the contents. I read, and still have, 'Introduction to Biology' by D.G Mackean, in 1962. It explained the subject in terms that were fascinating in the clarity of its topics. The preface contained 'our knowledge of Biology is not cut and dried, but science is itself living and growing'. This inspired me to a career in medicine. Brian Cox and co-author Andrew Cohen have taken this premise into the 21st century and have followed the philosophy of 50 years' further revelations and scientific discovery and translated them into a magnificent book. It is lavishly illustrated both photographically and diagramatically to complement the text and television series presented in such an informative and readable way. It is also a stand alone publication.

The authors take us from the cellular basis of life in all forms through an evolutionary process over billions of years. The scientific element may be daunting but it is an enormous achievement to produce it with such clarity and in an understandable format. If this publication encourages an increased awareness of the make-up of ourselves and our surrounding living environment whether 'animal vegetable or mineral', the purpose of the book will have been justified. Both entertaining and educational as well as retaining the fun and exploration of what science can deliver, Brian Cox and his collaboraters are to be congratulated.
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