Heavenly beauty: Doppelmayr’s Atlas Coelestis

It seems something of a disservice to a work of this seriousness to say how beautiful it is, but that is what will first strike the reader. Open this book and if you can prise yourself away from its wonderful marbled end papers, with their swirls and drifts of deepest blue, brilliant flashes of rusty orange, rivulets of ochre, inky spheres and floating masses of fiery red, you will find yourself taken back to the Enlightenment world of Johann Gabriel Doppelmayr’s Celestial Atlas and an age in which Europe’s polymaths were as interested in the discoveries of science as they were in the literary and artistic culture of the day.

Made me buzz like an electron: Science – Clear+Vivid with Alan Alda reviewed

Given my affection for M*A*S*H, I can’t think why I haven’t listened to Alan Alda’s podcasts before now, besides the fact that they look quite uninviting. There is Clear+Vivid, on the power of communication, and Science: Clear+Vivid, on the power of scientific research. As someone who used to fall asleep listening to cassettes for A-Level physics, I am not easily excited by protons, and was prepared to give the latter particularly short shrift. Five hours on, however, Alda is still in my ears, and I am buzzing like an electron. Unlike many presenters, Alda, 85, doesn’t pretend not to know something just so that his interviewee will explain it to