A new book by Lewis Dartnell, out in April 2014.
If civilisation were brought to its knees by a virus, a nuclear winter or an asteroid – taking with it the accumulated wealth of our technical and scientific prowess – what knowledge would you walk away with? Would you be able to describe the working of an internal combustion engine or a microscope?
Individually, most of us (even scientists, confined to their specialised fields) are more ignorant than we care to admit about the basic processes of the civilisation that supports us. Taking the end of the world as its starting point, this brilliantly original popular science book provides the reader with a toolkit: the essential knowledge the survivors of an apocalypse would need in order to start rebuilding a technological society from scratch, from methods for scavenging in the dead cities, making drugs and purifying water, to the best ways to restart agriculture and a chemical industry, generate power and travel long distances. Both a thought experiment (what crucial technological knowledge should we leave behind?) and a primer on the beautiful basics of science, The Knowledge will transform your understanding of the world.