WorldCat Identities

Ball, Philip 1962-

Works: 218 works in 773 publications in 3 languages and 32,133 library holdings
Genres: History  Popular works  Biography  Criticism, interpretation, etc  Mathematical formulae 
Roles: Author, Collector, Contributor, Editor, Other
Classifications: Q172.5.C45, 541.22
Publication Timeline
Most widely held works about Philip Ball
Most widely held works by Philip Ball
Stories of the invisible : a guided tour of molecules by Philip Ball( Book )

15 editions published between 2001 and 2002 in English and Swedish and held by 1,632 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Spiced with quotations from Primo Levi, Flann O'Brien, and Thomas Pynchon, Stories of the invisible takes us on a tour of a world few of us knew existed. The author describes, for instance, the remarkable molecular structure of spider's silk--a material that is pound for pound much stronger the steel--and shows how the Kevlar fibers in bulletproof vests were invented by imitating the alignment of molecules found in the spider's amazing thread. We also learn about the protein molecules that create movement, without which bacteria would be immobile, cells could not divide, there would be no reproduction and therefore no life. The book describes molecules shaped like miniature sculptures, containers, soccer balls, threads, rings, levers and geodesic domes, all made by sticking atoms together. Perhaps most important, Ball provides a fresh perspective on the future of molecular science, revealing how researchers are promising to reinvent chemistry as the central creative science of the 21st century
Bright earth : art and the invention of color by Philip Ball( Book )

35 editions published between 2001 and 2013 in English and held by 1,602 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Bright Earth provides a glimpse into a little-explored avenue in the history of art and science: the creation of pigments and dyes and their influence on painting, as well as on fashion, merchandising, and the textile and chemical industries. For as long as artists have turned their dreams into images, they have relied on technical knowledge to supply their materials. Today almost every shade imaginable is easily available in off-the-shelf tubes; every hue and tincture is manufactured and ready for immediate use by the painter. But up until the eighteenth century, most artists ground and mixed their own pigments, and by necessity had considerable skill as a practical chemists."--Jacket
Critical mass : how one thing leads to another by Philip Ball( Book )

38 editions published between 2003 and 2006 in English and Spanish and held by 1,590 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Critical mass asks the question, Why is society the way it is? How does it emerge from a morass of individual interactions? Are there laws of nature that guide human affairs? Is anything inevitable about the ways humans behave and organize themselves, or do we have complete freedom in creating our societies? In short, just how, in human affairs, does one thing lead to another?"
Life's matrix : a biography of water by Philip Ball( Book )

17 editions published between 2000 and 2001 in English and held by 1,549 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Life's Matrix tells of water's origins, its history, and its fascinating pervasiveness: there are, for example, at least fourteen different forms of ice. An exploration of water on other planets highlights the possibilities of life beyond Earth. Life's Matrix reveals the unexpected in the most ordinary places - a drop of dew, a frozen pond, a cup of coffee - and the familiar in unexpected settings. There is water on the sun and the moon, at the heart of molecular biology, at the core of a cell, and there may be enough of it beneath the surface of the Earth to refill the oceans thirty times over. Life's Matrix also surveys the grim realities of our natural resources, and shows how water will become a scarce commodity in the twenty-first century."--Jacket
The music instinct : how music works and why we can't do without it by Philip Ball( Book )

25 editions published between 2010 and 2012 in English and held by 1,512 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

In The Music Instinct Philip Ball provides the first comprehensive, accessible survey of what is known--and what is still unknown--about how music works its magic, and why, as much as eating and sleeping, it seems indispensable to humanity.--Publisher description
Designing the molecular world : chemistry at the frontier by Philip Ball( Book )

17 editions published between 1994 and 1996 in English and Spanish and held by 1,151 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Ball invites readers to look behind the headlines of scientific breakthroughs for a deeper understanding of the unfolding world of research and experimental chemistry. His grand tour along the leading edge of scientific discovery will appeal to all curious readers, with or without any scientific training, to chemistry students looking for future careers, and to practicing chemical researchers looking for information on other specialties within their discipline
Curiosity : how science became interested in everything by Philip Ball( Book )

23 editions published between 2012 and 2014 in English and held by 1,060 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Looking closely at the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, Ball vividly brings to life the age when modern science began, a time that spans the lives of Galileo and Isaac Newton. In this entertaining and illuminating account of the rise of science as we know it, Ball tells of scientists both legendary and lesser known, from Copernicus and Kepler to Robert Boyle, as well as the inventions and technologies that were inspired by curiosity itself, such as the telescope and the microscope. The so-called Scientific Revolution is often told as a story of great geniuses illuminating the world with flashes of inspiration. But Curiosity reveals a more complex story, in which the liberation--and subsequent taming--of curiosity was linked to magic, religion, literature, travel, trade, and empire. Ball also asks what has become of curiosity today: how it functions in science, how it is spun and packaged for consumption, how well it is being sustained, and how the changing shape of science influences the kinds of questions it may continue to ask
Made to measure : new materials for the 21st century by Philip Ball( Book )

3 editions published between 1997 and 1999 in English and held by 1,059 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Now scientists literally put new materials together on the drawing board in the same way that a blueprint is specified for a house or an electronic circuit. But the designers are working not with skylights and alcoves, not with transistors and capacitors, but with molecules and atoms
The ingredients : a guided tour of the elements by Philip Ball( Book )

7 editions published between 2002 and 2004 in English and held by 1,038 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

A guide to the elements discusses their discovery and properties and how they have shaped technology and civilization
The self-made tapestry : pattern formation in nature by Philip Ball( Book )

24 editions published between 1998 and 2004 in English and Spanish and held by 965 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Nature commonly weaves its tapestry by self-organization, employing no master plan or blueprint but instead simple, local interactions between its component parts -- be they grains of sand, diffusing molecules or living cells. And the products of self-organization are typically universal patterns: spirals, spots, and stripes, branches, honeycombs. This book explains, in non-technical language, and with profuse illustrations, how nature's patterns are made."--Jacket
Nature's patterns : a tapestry in three parts by Philip Ball( Book )

84 editions published between 2008 and 2011 in English and held by 942 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Patterns are everywhere in nature--in the ranks of clouds in the sky, the stripes of an angelfish, the arrangement of petals in flowers. Where does this order and regularity come from? As Philip Ball reveals in Nature's Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts, this order creates itself. The patterns we see come from self-organization. Indeed, scientists have found that there is a pattern-forming tendency inherent in the basic structure and processes of nature, whether living or non-living, so that from a few simple themes, and the repetition of simple rules, endless beautiful variations can arise
The devil's doctor : Paracelsus and the world of Renaissance magic and science by Philip Ball( Book )

23 editions published between 2006 and 2014 in English and held by 916 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Philip Theophrastus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim - known to later ages as Paracelsus - stands on the borderline between medieval and modern; a name that is familiar but a man who has been hard to perceive or understand." "But who was Paracelsus and what did he really believe and practice? He has been seen both as a charlatan and as a founder of modern science, but Philip Ball's book reveals a more complex man - who used his eyes and ears to learn from nature how to heal, and who wrote influential books on medicine, surgery, alchemy and theology while living a drunken, combative, vagabond life. Above all Ball reveals a man who was a product of his time - an age of great change in which Christendom was divided, the classics were rediscovered and the earth was displaced from the centre of the cosmos - and whose bringing together of the seemingly diverse disciplines of alchemy and biology signalled the beginning of the age of rationalism."--Jacket
Invisible : the dangerous allure of the unseen by Philip Ball( Book )

17 editions published between 2014 and 2016 in English and held by 777 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"If offered the chance--by cloak, spell or superpower--to be invisible, who wouldn't want to give it a try? We are drawn to the idea of stealthy voyeurism and the ability to conceal our own acts, but as desirable as it may seem, invisibility is also dangerous. It is not just an optical phenomenon, but a condition full of ethical questions. As esteemed science writer Philip Ball reveals in this book, the story of invisibility is not so much a matter of how it might be achieved but of why we want it and what we would do with it. In this lively look at a timeless idea, Ball provides the first comprehensive history of our fascination with the unseen. This sweeping narrative moves from medieval spell books to the latest nanotechnology, from fairy tales to telecommunications, from camouflage to ghosts to the dawn of nuclear physics and the discovery of dark energy. Along the way, Invisible tells little-known stories about medieval priests who blamed their misdeeds on spirits; the Cock Lane ghost, which intrigued both Samuel Johnson and Charles Dickens; the attempts by Victorian scientist William Crookes to detect forces using tiny windmills; novelist Edward Bulwer-Lytton's belief that he was unseen when in his dressing gown; and military efforts to enlist magicians to hide tanks and ships during WWII. Bringing in such voices as Plato and Shakespeare, Ball provides not only a scientific history but a cultural one--showing how our simultaneous desire for and suspicion of the invisible has fueled invention and the imagination for centuries. In this unusual and clever book, Ball shows that our fantasies about being unseen--and seeing the unseen--reveal surprising truths about who we are."--Publisher's description
Serving the Reich : the struggle for the soul of physics under Hitler by Philip Ball( Book )

19 editions published between 2013 and 2014 in English and held by 759 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"After World War II, most scientists in Germany maintained that they had been apolitical or actively resisted the Nazi regime, but the true story is much more complicated. In Serving the Reich, Philip Ball takes a fresh look at that controversial history, contrasting the career of Peter Debye, director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics in Berlin, with those of two other leading physicists in Germany during the Third Reich: Max Planck, the elder statesman of physics after whom Germany's premier scientific society is now named, and Werner Heisenberg, who succeeded Debye as director of the institute when it became focused on the development of nuclear power and weapons. Mixing history, science, and biography, Ball's gripping exploration of the lives of scientists under Nazism offers a powerful portrait of moral choice and personal responsibility, as scientists navigated 'the grey zone between complicity and resistance.' Ball's account of the different choices these three men and their colleagues made shows how there can be no clear-cut answers or judgement of their conduct. Yet, despite these ambiguities, Ball makes it undeniable that the German scientific establishment as a whole mounted no serious resistance to the Nazis, and in many ways acted as a willing instrument of the state"--Publisher's Web site
Universe of stone : a biography of Chartres Cathedral by Philip Ball( Book )

6 editions published in 2008 in English and held by 610 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Universe of Stone shows that the Gothic cathedrals encode a far-reaching shift in the way medieval thinkers perceived their relationship with their world. For the first time, they began to believe in an orderly, rational world that could be investigated and understood. This change marked the beginning of Western science and also the start of a long and, indeed, unfinished struggle to reconcile faith and reason
Elegant solutions : ten beautiful experiments in chemistry by Philip Ball( Book )

16 editions published in 2005 in English and held by 603 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Offering ten suggestions of what may be the most beautiful experiments in chemistry, Philip Ball provides an insight into the way chemists think and work, and demonstrates how what they do affects the rest of science and the wider world." "This exploration of beauty in experimental chemistry will stimulate scientists and non-scientists alike to think anew about how we come to know about the world, and how science and art are related. It looks at how the experiments were received at the time, how they changed the way we think, and how they have sometimes been distorted in the retelling."--Jacket
Patterns in nature : why the natural world looks the way it does by Philip Ball( Book )

4 editions published in 2016 in English and held by 535 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Though at first glance the natural world may appear overwhelming in its diversity and complexity, there are regularities running through it, from the hexagons of a honeycomb to the spirals of a seashell and the branching veins of a leaf. Revealing the order at the foundation of the seemingly chaotic natural world, Patterns in Nature explores not only the math and science but also the beauty and artistry behind nature's awe-inspiring designs."
Nature's patterns : a tapestry in three parts by Philip Ball( Book )

5 editions published between 2009 and 2011 in English and held by 533 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Ball takes us on an inspiring journey into the depths of nature, encompassing all the sciences, in which we discover that broad and elegant principles underpin the formation of the countless beautiful patterns around us."--Inside jacket
The elements : a very short introduction by Philip Ball( Book )

2 editions published in 2004 in English and held by 471 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"This Very Short Introduction traces the history and cultural impact of the elements on humankind, and examines why people have long sought to identify the substances around them. Looking beyond the Periodic Table, the author examines our relationship with matter, from the uncomplicated vision of the Greek philosophers, who believed there were four elements - earth, air, fire, and water - to the work of modern-day scientists in creating elements such as hassium and meitnerium. Packed with anecdotes, The Elements is a highly engaging and entertaining exploration of the fundamental question: what is the world made from?"--Jacket
Why society is a complex matter : meeting twenty-first century challenges with a new kind of science by Philip Ball( Book )

13 editions published in 2012 in English and held by 94 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

"Society is complicated. But this book argues that this does not place it beyond the reach of a science that can help to explain and perhaps even to predict social behaviour. As a system made up of many interacting agents - people, groups, institutions and governments, as well as physical and technological structures such as roads and computer networks - society can be regarded as a complex system. In recent years, scientists have made great progress in understanding how such complex systems operate, ranging from animal populations to earthquakes and weather. These systems show behaviours that cannot be predicted or intuited by focusing on the individual components, but which emerge spontaneously as a consequence of their interactions: they are said to be 'self-organized'. Attempts to direct or manage such emergent properties generally reveal that 'top-down' approaches, which try to dictate a particular outcome, are ineffectual, and that what is needed instead is a 'bottom-up' approach that aims to guide self-organization towards desirable states. This book shows how some of these ideas from the science of complexity can be applied to the study and management of social phenomena, including traffic flow, economic markets, opinion formation and the growth and structure of cities. Building on these successes, the book argues that the complex-systems view of the social sciences has now matured sufficiently for it to be possible, desirable and perhaps essential to attempt a grander objective: to integrate these efforts into a unified scheme for studying, understanding and ultimately predicting what happens in the world we have made. Such a scheme would require the mobilization and collaboration of many different research communities, and would allow society and its interactions with the physical environment to be explored through realistic models and large-scale data collection and analysis. It should enable us to find new and effective solutions to major global problems such as conflict, disease, financial instability, environmental despoliation and poverty, while avoiding unintended policy consequences. It could give us the foresight to anticipate and ameliorate crises, and to begin tackling some of the most intractable problems of the twenty-first century."--Publisher's website
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Audience level: 0.24 (from 0.04 for The elemen ... to 0.47 for Why societ ...)

Stories of the invisible : a guided tour of molecules
Alternative Names
Ball, P. 1962-

Ball, Ph 1962-

Ball, Philip

Ball, Phillip.

Philip Ball Brits scheikundige

Philip Ball brytyjski chemik, fizyk, popularyzator nauki

Philip Ball englischer Chemiker, Physiker und Autor

Philippus Ball

볼, 필립 1962-

ボール, フィリップ

English (390)

Spanish (3)

Swedish (1)

Bright earth : art and the invention of colorCritical mass : how one thing leads to anotherLife's matrix : a biography of waterThe music instinct : how music works and why we can't do without itDesigning the molecular world : chemistry at the frontierMade to measure : new materials for the 21st centuryThe ingredients : a guided tour of the elementsThe self-made tapestry : pattern formation in nature