B2 Reading Multiple Matching Exam 15
Four popular science books
Oliver Mansell reviews Jour hooks, all of which tell us more about ourselves.
(A) In the Blood by Steve Jones
This is the book for anyone who wants to keep up-to-date wall the latest intlnenu.il theories. Did you know, for example, that whoever our parents may be, we are all united by DNA. 'The basic stuff of life', which contains our genes? And Jul you know- that most of the population of the world may have descended from fewer than 100 people?
New and surprising discoveries like this are being made almost every week, which is why genetics is now at the forefront of twenty-first-century science. Before they'd heard of genes, people believed that family traits were carried in the blood. Today we know that they were wrong. Issues like these are among those discussed in this thrilling new book by Professor Jones. As with his earlier books on other subjects, you will find it hard to put down, even if you don't have a scientific background.
(B) The Human Face by Brian Bates with John Cleese
This fascinating book collects together the findings of various scientific studies, old and new. , concerning the human face. One of these has shown that 30 minutes after birth, when our eyes can hardly focus, we gaze at laces rather than anything else. And it seems that we continue to be fascinated with them all through life. There have been a number of psychological tests designed to investigate beauty. but their conclusions only prove what the Ancient Greeks always knew — a beautiful race is one with regular features.
So, maybe this is not the book to buy if you want to be surprised with new facts, but it does provide some fascinating insights into how faces have developed over the years, and whether one can judge a person by their appearance alone. Although rather serious in places, the book is packed with eye-catching photos, making it an ideal birthday present even for the most reluctant student of science.
(C) Brain Story by Susan Greenfield
As Director of the Royal Institution of Science, Susan Greenfield's main objective is to encourage the greater public understanding of scientific ideas. In this book, she introduces us to the inside of our heads and shows the kind of enthusiasm about the brain that other writers reserve for tine art or football. The idea of 'intelligence' worries her. however, because this suggests that a person's 'brain power is predetermined.
She agrees with those who insist that the brain, which is capable of amazing things, is constantly developing, and gets better and better with age. providing you look after it. Although this book develops the ideas introduced in her previous one, The Private life of the Brain, it clearly has television audiences in mind (a tie-in series has just begun on BBC1) and as a consequence it is rather shorter on detail, focusing instead on one or two interesting examples.
(D) The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker
Where does our feeling for language come from? How do we learn to speak it so effortlessly? Why is it so hard for adults to learn a foreign language? Cleverly structured, with many amusing anecdotes, linguist Steven linker's book examines why we use language and where this ability comes from. His personal belief is that language is as instinctive to us as flying is to geese, and that we use it to great effect in order to communicate. He illustrates his theory with examples of language taken from various sources, including children's conversations, pop culture and politicians' speeches. A clever user of language himself. Pinker has packed his book full of original thoughts. Because of this, it does not make for light reading, but it will nonetheless appeal both to specialists and anyone who is interested in language and human beings in the widest sense.