Related to: 'Brief Answers to the Big Questions'

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John Murray

New Scientist: The Origin of (almost) Everything

Stephen Hawking, Graham Lawton, Jennifer Daniel
Contributors:
Stephen Hawking, Graham Lawton, Jennifer Daniel

Introduction by Professor Stephen Hawking.From what actually happened in the Big Bang to the accidental discovery of post-it notes, science is packed with surprising discoveries. Did you know, for instance, that if you were to get too close to a black hole it would suck you up like a noodle (it's called spaghettification), why your keyboard is laid out in QWERTY (it's not to make it easier to type) or whether the invention of the wheel was less important to civilisation than the bag (think about it). New Scientist does. And now they and illustrator Jennifer Daniel want to take you on a whistlestop journey from the start of our universe (through the history of stars, galaxies, meteorites, the Moon and dark energy) to our planet (through oceans and weather to oil) and life (through dinosaurs to emotions and sex) to civilisation (from cities to alcohol and cooking), knowledge (from alphabets to alchemy) ending up with technology (computers to rocket science). Witty essays explore the concepts alongside enlightening infographics that zoom from how many people have ever lived to showing you how a left-wing brain differs from a right-wing one.

Adam Becker

Adam Becker is a science writer with a PhD in astrophysics and an undergraduate degree in philosophy. His writing has appeared in the BBC and New Scientist. He has recorded a video series with the BBC and several podcasts with the Story Collider. He is also a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley's Office for History of Science and Technology. He lives in Oakland, CA.

Alan Titchmarsh

Alan Titchmarsh is known to millions through the popular BBC TV programmes British Isles: A Natural History, How to be a Gardener, Ground Force and Gardeners' World. But he started out in far humbler beginnings, in a rural childhood on the edge of Ilkley Moor in Yorkshire.After a spell at Kew he became a horticultural journalist, as an Editor of gardening magazines, before becoming a freelance broadcaster and writer.He has twice been named 'Gardening Writer of the Year' and for four successive years was voted 'Television Personality of the Year' by the Garden Writers' Guild. In 2004 he received their Lifetime Achievement Award.Alan has appeared on radio and television both as a gardening expert and as an interviewer and presenter, fronting such programmes as Points of View, Pebble Mill, Songs of Praise, Titchmarsh's Travels and Ask the Family, and since 1983 has presented the BBC's annual coverage of The Chelsea Flower Show. He now has his own daytime TV show on ITV, The Alan Titchmarsh Show. Alan has written more than forty gardening books, as well as seven best-selling novels, including his 2008 success, Folly, which have all made the Sunday Times Bestsellers List. Alan has published three volumes of memoirs; Trowel and Error sold over 200,000 copies in hardback when published in 2002, and Nobbut A Lad, about his Yorkshire childhood, was published in October 2006 with similar success, and his third volume of memoir Knave of Spadeswas a Sunday Times bestseller.He was made MBE in the millennium New Year Honours list and holds the Victoria Medal of Honour, the Royal Horticultural Society's highest award. He lives with his wife and a menagerie of animals in Hampshire where he gardens organically.

Alister McGrath

Alister McGrath is the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at Oxford University, and Fellow of Harris Manchester College, Oxford. After initial academic work in the natural sciences, Alister turned to the study of theology and intellectual history, while occasionally becoming engaged in broader cultural debates about the rationality and relevance of the Christian faith. He is the author of many academic and theological works, as well as the bestselling The Dawkins Delusion and, most recently, his acclaimed C. S. Lewis - A Life.

Andrea Wulf

Andrea Wulf was born in India, moved to Germany as a child, and now lives in England. She is the author of several acclaimed books. The Brother Gardeners won the American Horticultural Society Book Award and was long-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize. Her book Founding Gardeners was on the New York Times bestseller list. Andrea has written for many newspapers including the Guardian, LA Times and New York Times. She was the Eccles British Library Writer in Residence 2013 and a three-time fellow of the International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello. She appears regularly on TV and radio.

Anna Pointer

Anna Pointer is a ghostwriter and journalist and with 15 years experience of writing for the national media. She was Editor of a women's celebrity magazine for three years before pursuing a freelance career in spring 2013. Since then she has written for titles as diverse as The Daily Telegraph, The Sun and Grazia magazine. In her career as a journalist and celebrity magazine editor, Anna has immersed herself in the world of Beyoncé. Anna lives in Surrey with her partner.

Bob Fischer

Bob Fischer is a lifelong science fiction and fantasy fan who has previously enjoyed careers as a record shop owner, a solo singer-songwriter and a short-lived Elvis impersonator (one gig). He now works as a radio presenter for BBC Tees, a job that has seen him spill tea over Jack Charlton's antique fireplace and sing on a UK Top 10 hit single ('Bunsen Burner' by John Otway, No 9 in October 2002). Bob has also won a prestigious Sony Radio Award . . . just a bronze though, so don't get too excited. Bob has dabbled with writing before, but Wiffle Lever To Full! is the first major project he's ever actually finished. Or, indeed, started. He lives near Middlesbrough with a tall girlfriend who thinks old-school Doctor Who is 'rubbish', and a medium-sized dog that doesn't mind the Jon Pertwee era, but if pressed would admit to preferring Blake's 7.

Brian Johnston

Brian Johnston was one of the best loved figures on radio and television and will always be remembered as 'The Voice of Cricket'. He commentated on such events as the Coronation and the Boat Race, and presented over 700 episodes of 'Down Your Way', but he was probably known for his years on 'Test Match Special'. When he died in 1994 John Major paid him the tribute: 'Summers will never be the same'.

Brother Andrew

Brother Andrew was born in Holland and became a Christian while serving in the Dutch army. After leaving the army he applied for Bible school in the UK and studied at the Bible Training Institute (now the International Christian College) in Glasgow, Scotland. He has worked tirelessly to strengthen the persecuted church all over the world, encouraging believers in their faith and sharing the gospel with some of the most unlikely people.His book GOD'S SMUGGLER tells the story of the start of his work, smuggling Bibles into communist countries illegally during the Cold War, which developed into the worldwide ministry now called Open Doors International. GOD'S SMUGGLER became an international best-seller with over ten million copies sold in English.After the fall of communism in Europe, Brother Andrew shifted his focus to China and the Middle East, and the incredible story of his ongoing ministry can be read in his next book LIGHT FORCE.His most recent book is SECRET BELIEVERS: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MUSLIMS TURN TO CHRIST?.

Elizabeth Goudge

Elizabeth de Beauchamp Goudge was born on April 24th 1900 in Wells, Somerset, where her father was Principal of Wells Theological College. Although she had privately intended writing as a career, her parents insisted she taught handicrafts in Oxford. She began writing in her spare time and her first novel ISLAND MAGIC, set in Guernsey, was a great success here and in America. GREEN DOLPHIN COUNTRY (1944) projected her to fame, netting a Literary Guild Award and a special prize of £30,000 from Louis B. Mayer of MGM before being filmed.In her later years Elizabeth Goudge settled in Henley-on-Thames. She died on April 1st, 1984.

Elizabeth Sherill

Elizabeth Sherrill is a prolific Christian writer, based in the USA. She often collaborates on books with her husband John.

Gervase Phinn

Dr Gervase Phinn is a teacher, freelance lecturer, author, poet, educational consultant and visiting professor of education. For fourteen years he taught in a range of schools, then acted as General Adviser for Language Development in Rotherham before moving on to North Yorkshire, where he spent ten years as a school inspector - time that has provided much source material for his books. He has four grown up children and four grandchildren and lives near Doncaster. Visit Gervase's website, www.gervase-phinn.com.

Hannah Critchlow

Dr Hannah Critchlow is the Science Outreach Fellow at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, and has been named a Top 100 UK Scientist by the Science Council for her work in science communication. She is listed as one of the University of Cambridge's 'inspirational and successful women in science' and appears regularly on TV, radio and at festivals to discuss and explore the brain.

Henry Blofeld

Henry began writing about cricket, for The Times, in May 1962 and in 1972 he started his long career as a commentator with the BBC's Test Match Special. During his career he has written for numerous papers and broadcast for both radio and television for many networks around the world especially in Australia and New Zealand. Between 1991 and 1993 he joined Sky Television before returning to Test Match Special after the death of Brian Johnston early in 1994. Since 2002 Henry Blofeld has performed in his humorous one-man show in theatres all round the country, and later he teamed up with his former TMS producer, Peter Baxter, for more than 250 two-man shows. He also had a successful partnership with England Spin Bowler, Graeme Swann. Henry now tours the country with his one man show.

James Bowen

James Bowen is the author of the bestselling A Street Cat Named Bob and The World According to Bob. He found Bob the cat in 2007 and the pair have been inseparable ever since. They both live in London.

John Sherrill

John Sherrill is a prolific Christian writer, based in the USA. He often collaborates on books with his wife Elizabeth.

Lorna Byrne

Lorna Byrne has been seeing and talking to angels since she was a baby. Now that her family is raised she talks openly about what she has learned. She lives quietly in rural Ireland. She is the author of the international bestsellers Angels in My Hair, Stairways to Heaven, A Message of Hope from the Angels and Love From Heaven. Her books have been translated into over twenty languages. For more information, visit www.lornabyrne.com or follow Lorna on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lornabyrneangels

M. G. Wheaton

Born in Texas, M.G. Wheaton worked in a factory assembling computers and servers before becoming a writer for such movie magazines as Total Film, Shivers, SFX, and several others. After leaving journalism, Wheaton worked as a screenwriter and producer, comic book scribe, and video game writer. EMILY ETERNAL is his first speculative novel.

Miranda Hart

Miranda Hart made her mark appearing in shows including Smack the Pony, Absolutely Fabulous and Not Going Out. But when her sitcom Miranda burst on to our screens in 2009, her popularity rocketed. Miranda has since been crowned the Queen of Comedy at the British Comedy Awards and won Best new TV comedy, as well as winning best actress in 2010 and 2011. She has also won three RTS comedy awards and has been nominated for four BAFTAs. Her book Is It Just Me? was the number one best-selling memoir of 2012 and to date it has sold over 580,000 copies. Her stand up show - My, What I Call, Live Show - was a sell-out in 2013. Follow Miranda on Twitter www.twitter.com/mermhart or vist her website www.mirandahart.com

Penny Junor

Penny Junor is a writer and broadcaster. She is the author of many best-selling biographies including of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William, both the Prince and the Princess of Wales and two British Prime Ministers. She also co-wrote best-selling autobiographies of Pattie Boyd and Sir Cliff Richard. For many years she presented The Travel Show on BBC2 and Channel 4's award-winning consumer programme 4 What It's Worth. She is married with children and grandchildren and lives in Wiltshire.