The Exquisite Machine

The Exquisite Machine

The New Science of the Heart

By Sian E. Harding

How science is opening up the mysteries of the heart, revealing the poetry in motion within the machine.





How science is opening up the mysteries of the heart, revealing the poetry in motion within the machine.

Your heart is a miracle in motion, a marvel of construction unsurpassed by any human-made creation. It beats 100,000 times every day—if you were to live to 100, that would be more than 3 billion beats across your lifespan. Despite decades of effort in labs all over the world, we have not yet been able to replicate the heart's perfect engineering. But, as Sian Harding shows us in The Exquisite Machine, new scientific developments are opening up the mysteries of the heart. And this explosion of new science—ultrafast imaging, gene editing, stem cells, artificial intelligence, and advanced sub-light microscopy—has crucial, real-world consequences for health and well-being.

Harding—a world leader in cardiac research—explores the relation between the emotions and heart function, reporting that the heart not only responds to our emotions, but it also creates them. The condition known as Broken Heart Syndrome, for example, is a real disorder that can follow bereavement or stress. The Exquisite Machine describes the evolutionary forces that have shaped the heart's response to damage, the astonishing rejuvenating power of stem cells, how we can avoid heart disease, and why it can be so hard to repair a damaged heart. It tells the stories of patients who have had the devastating experiences of a heart attack, chaotic heart rhythms, or stress-induced acute heart failure. And it describes how cutting-edge technologies are enabling experiments and clinical trials that will lead us to new solutions to the worldwide scourge of heart disease.


$28.95 T ISBN: 9780262047142 232 pp. | 5.25 in x 8 in 15 b&w illus.


  • “How the heart works, how it fails and what can be done about it. A remarkable read from a world renowned researcher.”

    Stephen Westaby

    author of the Sunday Times best sellers Fragile Lives and The Knife's Edge

  • “This lively account on recent advances in heart research stands out by its accessibility to a broader audience—I just loved her analogies to pastry or 'the heart as a city'!”

    Elisabeth Ehler

    Professor of Cardiac Cell Biology, King's College London, author of Cardiac Cytoarchitecture

  • “Exquisitely packed with facts, this book relates all you need to know about the heart and shares a scientist's crystal ball of future treatments.”

    Roy Taylor

    Professor of Medicine and Metabolism, University of Newcastle, and author of Life Without Diabetes

  • “A remarkable book that presents the miraculous reality that is our heart in spellbinding clarity. Elucidating the incredible dialogue between its beating cells to the rapidly advancing realm of personalized medicine, Sian Harding draws on her vast experience as one of the world's top cardiac scientists, writing with precision, yet simultaneously creating a book that is compelling & accessible to all.”

    Sophie Farooque

    allergy specialist and author of Understanding Allergy