HOW TO MAKE A HUMAN BEING
A Body of Evidence
Review in Nature magazine
Christopher Potter illuminates the human in all its manifestations from single cell to creator of culture. Finely judged quotes from scientific and literary luminaries such as John Archibald Wheeler and Marcel Proust alternate with erudite musings on our compatibility with the cosmos (backed by clear expositions of theoretical physics), human biology, neurology, culture, morality and religion. The scattershot narrative somehow coalesces into a brilliant whole and a compelling case for anti-reductionism.
YOU ARE HERE
A Portable History of the Universe
Review in The Telegraph
With marvellous clarity, compassion, erudition, humour and open-mindedness, Potter blasts us through the vast vacuum of space. Packing in facts about satellites, planets and rotating black holes, he takes us to the outer limits of an expanding universe. Then he sucks us back through the mini-universes inside ourselves, to atoms and their component particles and on into quantum theory. He explains the theories of Aristotle, Newton, Einstein, Darwin and Dirac, giving the “unfeeling” science a human context by quoting from poets, prophets and philosophers of all eras and ethnicities. We’re guided through the mysteries of the Large Hadron Collider and asked to consider forces deemed “unworthy” of science, like love. We’re reminded that all knowledge is provisional and reassured that: “To be at peace with the universe is not easy."
Christopher Potter, a science historian and former publisher, has taken a considered risk in telling the tale of how we first came to see our planet from the outside. It pays off beautifully. The result is a fresh and elegantly wrought account of mankind's journey from firing lumps of jerry-rigged metal from cabbage fields to crunching around in the dust of another world. - The Times
Potter delivers an enthralling account of the politics of the golden age of manned space travel that emphasizes the transcendent experiences of everyone involved, and he makes a convincing case that America lost something vital when it ended. - Kirkus (starred review)
It takes a true master of literature to interweave history and science into one unified narrative. Potter uses his expert skills as researcher, and publisher, to bring to light the miraculous and often diastrous and heartbreaking process required for landing a man on the moon. - Booklist