Blue Machine.

By Helen Czerski

Printed: 2023

Publisher: Transworld Publishers. London

Dimensions 16 × 24 × 4 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 16 x 24 x 4

Condition: As new  (See explanation of ratings)

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Item information


In the original dustsheet. Blue cloth binding with gilt title on the spine.

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THE TIMES BOOK OF THE WEEK: ‘This beautifully written, sweeping guide shows how the deep movement of the seas have ruled our lives in unexpected ways over millennia.’

‘The world needs a ‘David Attenborough for physics’ and Helen Czerski is a prime contender – she’s brilliant, clear, passionate, modern and inspiring.’ – Emma Freud, BBC Radio 4 Loose Ends

‘A dazzle of stories beautifully told…Outstanding … Her readers will see the seas anew.’

Horatio Clare, Telegraph

‘Excellent and important.’ Spectator’Czerski is a wonderful writer … Blue Machine really does change the way you see the world.’ Daily Mail’In Helen Czerski’s hands, the mechanical becomes magical. An instant classic.’

Tristan Gooley, author of How to Read Water

‘Blue Machine is quite simply one of the best books I have ever read.’

Dr George McGavin, zoologist, entomologist and broadcaster

‘A fascinating dive into the essential engine that drives our world.’

Gaia Vince, science journalist, broadcaster and author of Nomad Century

All of the Earth’s ocean, from the equator to the poles, is a single engine powered by sunlight – a blue machine. Earth is home to a huge story that is rarely told – that of our ocean. Not the fish or the dolphins, but the massive ocean engine itself: what it does, why it works, and the many ways it has influenced animals, weather and human history & culture. In a book that will recalibrate our view of this defining feature of our planet, physicist Helen Czerski dives deep to illuminate the murky depths of the ocean engine, examining the messengers, passengers and voyagers that live in it, travel over it, and survive because of it. From the ancient Polynesians who navigated the Pacific by reading the waves to permanent residents of the deep such as the Greenland shark that can live for hundreds of years, she explains the vast currents, invisible ocean walls and underwater waterfalls that all have their place in the ocean’s complex, interlinked system. Timely, elegant and passionately argued, Blue Machine presents a fresh perspective on what it means to be a citizen of an ocean planet. The understanding it offers is crucial to our future. Drawing on years of experience at the forefront of marine science, Helen Czerski captures the magnitude and subtlety of Earth’s defining feature, showing us the thrilling extent to which we are at the mercy of this great engine.

‘Helen Czerski weaves together physics and biology, history and science, in a beautifully poetic way.’ – Professor Alice Roberts

Review: This is an important book which reviews the current state of oceanography on a global scale. The author has a lovely writing style, with many analogies to help explain some of the sometimes complex ideas being discussed. She has clearly spent time in oceanographic research vessels and this may help to explain her excellent sense of fun and humor. Some of the stories that she uses to illustrate the text are superb, like the ones dealing with underwater acoustic communication and how this relates to whales. Who would have thought that the detailed study of whale’s ear wax would show important aspects of their physiology?  I can recommend this book without reservation.

Helen Czerski is a physicist and oceanographer at University College London’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. The author of The Blue Machine and Storm in a Teacup, she is a columnist for the Wall Street Journal, writing regularly about the physics of everyday life. She lives in London.

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