John Gribbin, author of Six Impossible Things, shortlisted for the Royal Society Insight Investment Science Book Prize, presents a tour of seven fundamental scientific truths that underpin our very existence.
These ‘pillars of science’ also defy common sense. For example, solid things are mostly empty space, so how do they hold together? There appears to be no special ‘life force’, so how do we distinguish living things from inanimate objects? And why does ice float on water, when most solids don’t? You might think that question hardly needs asking, and yet if ice didn’t float, life on Earth would never have happened.
The answers to all of these questions were sensational in their day, and some still are. Throughout history, science has been able to think the unthinkable – and Gribbin brilliantly shows the surprising secrets on which our understanding of life is based.