Pages: 272
Subject: Popular Science
Imprint: Oneworld


From Infrared to X-rays, the Curious History of Invisible Light

Bob Berman

All the light you cannot see, is it friend or foe?
9781786073730 (3 May 2018)
RRP £9.99

The Book

It comes from deep space and from the sun. It zooms at you from nuclear power plants, microwaves, mobiles, CT scanners and mammogram machines. You cannot see, hear, smell or feel it, but there is never a moment when it isn't flying through your body. Too much of it will kill you, but without it you wouldn't make it through a year.

Bob Berman traces infrared, microwaves, ultraviolet, X-rays, gamma rays, radio waves and other forms of radiation from their historic, world-altering discoveries in the 19th century to their role in our world today. He sets the record straight on costs and benefits to our health and peeks into the future to see how invisible light will make waves in medicine and computing. Packed with fun facts, fascinating tales and ‘eureka!' moments, Zapped will delight anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of our world.

Additional Information

Subject Popular Science
Pages 272
Imprint Oneworld


About the Author

Bob Berman is a leading astronomy writer and the author of Zoom and The Sun's Heartbeat. He contributed the popular ‘Night Watchman' column for Discover for seventeen years and is currently a columnist for Astronomy, a host on Northeast Public Radio and science editor of The Old Farmer's Almanac. He lives in Willow, New York.


‘A rip-roaring ride along the electromagnetic highway. Inspiring and insightful.'

- Colin Stuart, author of The Big Questions in Science

‘The narrative is briskly conversational: we're on the porch, shooting the breeze with a knowledgeable neighbour. Mr. Berman's avowed goal in writing this book, he says, was "to open a window onto the enormous universe of omnipresent energies”. Once that window is thrown open, it is hard to look at the world the same way.'

- Wall Street Journal

‘Nimbly busts common myths… Erudite but never stuffy, Berman writes with enthusiasm and clarity, making this an informative and digestible read for the science-curious.'

- Booklist

‘Captivating…fear not the long-winded scientific discourse: Berman zings through historical and scientific adventures.'

- American Scholar

‘[Berman is] an unfailingly congenial explainer, always ready with the kinds of fascinating facts his readers might have missed in school.'

- Christian Science Monitor

‘An enthusiastic account… deftly separates fact from myths about cell-phones, brain scans, and other sources of radiation.'

- Kirkus

‘Astronomy writer Berman runs through a fascinating history of the rainbow's invisible bands in this breezy, accessible read... In the style of a favorite professor, Berman injects bits of odd humor and captivating tangents into this complex but familiar topic.'

- Publishers Weekly

‘Like any good pop science book, along the way Zapped offers an endless series of tidbits, from how GPS works to how a software glitch led to the worst incident of radiation poisoning from a medical device (the notorious Therac-25).'

- New Republic

‘[Berman] excels at making complex concepts accessible for lay readers…this is a great option for those curious about history, theories, and function of everyday things.'

- Library Journal

‘Explaining light using anecdotal history and colloquial explication, Zapped makes entertaining sense out of what could be dry maths and physics.'

- Shelf Awareness

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