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11 Explorations into Life on Earth
11 Explorations into Life on Earth

11 Explorations into Life on Earth

Christmas Lectures from the Royal Institution

The RI Lectures


224 Pages, 4.25 x 7

Formats: Cloth

Cloth, $22.95 (US $22.95) (CA $30.95)

Publication Date: November 2017

ISBN 9781782438403

Rights: US & CA

Michael O'Mara Books (Nov 2017)
Michael O'Mara

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The second in a series of books in association with the Royal Institution on their world-renowned Christmas Lectures, this time exploring the secrets of the natural world—with a foreword by Sir David Attenborough. Following on from the success of 13 Journeys Through Space and Time, which took us on a voyage of astronomical discovery through past Christmas Lectures given at the Royal Institution on space and space exploration, this book turns our attention to our own planet and the animals, plants, fish, insects and all the other living things that inhabit it—how they've evolved and the vital roles they play in the intricate webs of life on earth. Taking 11 of the most exciting and revealing Christmas Lectures on the natural world given at the Royal Institution, including Sir David Attenborough's animal-packed Lectures from 1977 and Richard Dawkins's explosive series on the evolution of life, we take an illuminating look at more than a hundred years of scientific exploration to discover the origins of life on our planet and the mysteries so far uncovered.


"A book to be appreciated by all ages." —Parents in Touch

"Effectively examines the seahorse's chameleon qualities, as well as the phenomenon of males giving birth-the only such instance in the animal kingdom. The author is also adept at delineating the seahorse's alleged healing powers, and she offers a fascinating study in the history of aquariums and the pursuit of 'queer fish' [...] the author makes a solid case for a rare and wondrous creature." —Kirkus on Poseidon's Steed

"A true natural history book, covering all aspects of the seahorse's involvement in the world [...] Scales is a marine biologist, and her fascination with the subject (she learned to scuba dive in order to observe this remarkable creature) shines through in her easy-to-read style and the way she uses the seahorse as a hook to discuss broader subjects [...] This is sure to appeal to both teens and readers interested in the natural world." —Library Journal on Poseidon's Steed

"A rewarding glimpse of another world, filled with strange and reclusive creatures . . . There is rich detail in all directions. One does not know what will come next. Often the descriptions made me see shafts of sunlight underwater, irradiating extraordinary places and creatures. That is just what the book does itself." —The Guardian on Spirals in Time

"Splendid . . . Scales clearly loves snails—she has done an elegant, excellent job of explaining her passion . . . she is a most able modern champion of molluscs." —New Scientist on Spirals in Time

"A sprawling, ambitious underwater journey studded with fascinating tidbits." —New York Times Book Review on Eye of the Shoal

"Scales's genuine appreciation and awe for fish are contagious. She continually entices the reader by introducing exciting aspects of fish in each chapter." —Science on Eye of the Shoal

"The artwork is gloriously retro, echoing the original Ladybird house style but containing completely up to date information." —Shiny New Books on Octopuses

Author Biography

Dr Helen Scales is a marine biologist, broadcaster, and writer, appearing regularly on BBC Radio 4, Sky News, and the BBC World Service. She is also scientific advisor to the charity Sea Changers, a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a tutor at the University of Cambridge. Her most recent book, Spirals in Time, was chosen as a book of the year by the Guardian, The Times, and the Economist, and as Book of the Week on Radio 4.