The Science of Discworld III
Darwin's Watch

Authors: Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen
Ebury Press
RRP 6.99

0 091 89824 2
Available 03 August 2006

Roundworld is in trouble again, and this time it looks fatal. Having created it in the first place, the wizards of Unseen University feel vaguely responsible for its safety. They know the creatures who lived there escaped the impending Big Freeze by inventing the space elevator - they even intervened to rid the planet of a plague of elves, who attempted to divert humanity onto a different time track. But now it's all gone wrong...

In Darwin's Watch Victorian England has stagnated and the pace of progress would embarrass a limping snail. Unless something drastic is done, there won't be time for anyone to invent spaceflight and the human race will be turned into ice-pops.

Why, though, did history come adrift? Was it Sir Arthur Nightingale's dismal book about natural selection? Or was it the devastating response by an obscure country vicar called Charles Darwin, whose best-selling Theology of Species made it impossible to refute the divine design of living creatures? Either way, it's no easy task to change history, as the wizards discover to their cost. Can the God of Evolution come to humanity's aid and ensure Darwin writes a very different book? And who stopped him writing it in the first place?

Yes, the follow up to The Globe is just as wild and wacky as we've come to expect from this series. From time-travel to philosophical dilemmas, quantum physics to the 'cause and effect' effect, Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen turn the latest scientific research into an easy-to-understand journey through the development of the planet Earth and the human race.

This book tracks the history of geology and DNA, explaining the concepts of black holes and infinity and refuting some of the top theories of current scientific thinking (from James Barbour's timeless probability mist to the mathematical resolution of Zeno's Arrow paradox via Hamiltonian mechanics).

And that's one of the impressive things about this release - it brings science down to a level (without been patronising) that everyone can understand.

Another fantastic addition to the Science of Discworld series.

Pete Boomer

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