Peter Forbes

How We Got to Now by Steven Johnson: Six Innovations that made the Modern World

From Ada Lovelace's vision of digital music to the death ray's journey from science fiction to the supermarket, Johnson's exploration of innovation is as revelatory as it is entertainingSteven Johnson is a maven of the history of ideas. Here, he focuses o

The Copernicus Complex: The Quest for Our Cosmic (In)Significance by Caleb Scharf - book review: Tantalising approach to the mysteries of the universe

Astrobiology is booming: this is the third new book by an astrobiologist I've read in five months. So what is astrobiology? It's the study of life in the universe: how it started on Earth and whether or not it will ever be found beyond our bounds. The ver

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, book review: Eloquent history of what makes us human

It is an impediment to understanding the human story that the innovations that made us human – a long list including the control of fire, articulate language, the development of agriculture and herding, the working of metals, glass and other materials,

Mind Change: How Digital Technologies Are Leaving Their Mark On Our Brains by Susan Greenfield, book review

London taxi drivers' "Knowledge" shows up clearly as an enlarged hippocampus (concerned with memory) in the brain. Similar results are found in anyone who practises difficult mental feats such as playing music, learning foreign languages, performing compl

The Burning Answer: a User's Guide to the Solar Revolution by Keith Barnham

Could photosynthesis solve the world's energy problems? Is there anything new to add to a debate that seems to have reached stalemate? The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has spoken again, but does anyone expect government policies or public

Creation: The Origin of Life/The Future of Life by Adam Rutherford – review

The molecule DNA is a double helix in which the strands run in opposite directions. So how better to celebrate our growing confidence in understanding the origin of life and DNA's synthetic potential than two books in one – back to back and upside down