Philip Ball

Philip Ball is the author of many critically acclaimed books of popular science, including Critical Mass: How One Thing Leads to Another, The Elements: A Very Short Introduction, and Beyond Weird: Why Everything You Thought You Knew about Quantum Physics Is Different.

  • The Beauty of Chemistry

    The Beauty of Chemistry

    Art, Wonder, and Science

    Philip Ball

    Images and text capture the astonishing beauty of the chemical processes that create snowflakes, bubbles, flames, and other wonders of nature.

    Chemistry is not just about microscopic atoms doing inscrutable things; it is the process that makes flowers and galaxies. We rely on it for bread-baking, vegetable-growing, and producing the materials of daily life. In stunning images and illuminating text, this book captures chemistry as it unfolds. Using such techniques as microphotography, time-lapse photography, and infrared thermal imaging, The Beauty of Chemistry shows us how chemistry underpins the formation of snowflakes, the science of champagne, the colors of flowers, and other wonders of nature and technology. We see the marvelous configurations of chemical gardens; the amazing transformations of evaporation, distillation, and precipitation; heat made visible; and more.

    The visuals in The Beauty of Chemistry are drawn from the online exhibition Envisioning Chemistry created by Wenting Zhu and Yan Liang in collaboration with the Chinese Chemical Society. These striking images are accompanied by accessible, engaging explanations by award-winning science writer Philip Ball.

    • Hardcover $39.95 £32.00

Contributor

  • Light Show

    Light Show

    Cliff Lauson

    An investigation of art that explores the experiential and sculptural nature of light, showcasing a range of artworks from the 1960s to the present.

    Light Show explores the experiential and sculptural nature of light, tracing a historical trajectory of artwork that uses light to create specific conditions of viewership. The book, which accompanies an exhibition originating at the Hayward Gallery, London, showcases more than twenty dramatic installations and sculptures from the 1960s to the present, pictured in 150 illustrations, most in color. These include works by artists associated with historical movements such as the “Light and Space” movement of the 1970s; rarely seen installations by such precursors as Dan Flavin and Carlos Cruz-Diez; and work by contemporary artists who have found new ways to use light as a sculptural medium.

    All of the artworks explore different aspects related to light, including color, duration, movement, sunlight, and moonlight. Some, including Dan Flavin's work made from fluorescent tubes, use light to dematerialize space while others, such as Anthony McCall's “solid light” projections, give light an almost tangible quality. Many light works create immersive experiences, including Olafur Eliasson's atmospheric environments; still others use light as a medium for political response, including Jenny Holzer's LED signs that broadcast censored documents from the “war on terror.”

    Light Show features essays by the curator and editor Cliff Lauson, the art historian Anne Wagner, and the science writer Philip Ball, who traces the rich history of light as a medium, from phenomenon to artwork.

    • Hardcover $45.00