Nuclear Power: A Very Short Introduction

Nuclear Power: A Very Short Introduction

With the World desperate to find energy sources that do not emit carbon gasses, nuclear power is back on the agenda and in the news, following the increasing cost of fossil fuels and concerns about the security of their future supply. However, the term 'nuclear power' causes anxiety in many people and there is confusion concerning the nature and extent of the associated risks. Here, Maxwell Irvine presents a concise introduction to the development of nuclear physics leading up to the emergence of the nuclear power industry. He discusses the nature of nuclear energy and deals with various aspects of public concern, considering the risks of nuclear safety, the cost of its development, and waste disposal. Dispelling some of the widespread confusion about nuclear energy, Irvine considers the relevance of nuclear power, the potential of nuclear fusion, and encourages informed debate about its potential. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Nuclear Weapons

A Very Short Introduction

Nuclear Weapons

This title explains the history and politics of the bomb, from the technology of nuclear weapons, to the revolutionary implications of the H-bomb, and the politics of nuclear deterrence. The issues are set against a backdrop of the changing international landscape, from the early days of development through the Cold War. Despite not having been used in anger since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Bomb is still the biggest threat that faces us in the 21st century. But what significant lessons can be learnt from the history of the nuclear weapons era?

Renewable Energy: a Very Short Introduction

Renewable Energy: a Very Short Introduction

Energy is vital for a good standard of living, and much of the world's population does not have enough. Affordable and adequate sources of power that do not cause climate change or pollution are crucial; and renewables provide the answer. Wind and solar farms can now provide the cheapest electricity in many parts of the world. Moreover, they could provide all of the world's energy needs. But while market forces are fast helping the transition from fossil fuels to renewables, there are opposing pressures, such as the USA's proposed withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, and the vested interests in fossil fuels. This Very Short Introduction describes the main renewable sources of energy- solar, wind, hydropower, and biomass- as well as the less well-developed ones- geothermal, tidal, and wave. Nick Jelley explains the challenges of integrating renewables into electricity grids, and the need for energy storage and for clean heat; and discusses the opportunities in developing countries for renewable energy to empower millions. He also considers international efforts and policies to support renewables and tackle climate change; and explains recent innovations in wind and solar energy production, battery storage, and in the emerging power-to-gas provision for clean heating. Throughout, he emphasises what renewable energy can deliver, and its importance in tackling climate change, and in improving health, welfare, and access to electricity. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Radioactivity: A Very Short Introduction

Radioactivity: A Very Short Introduction

Radioactivity - the breakdown of unstable atomic nuclei, releasing radiation - is a fundamental process in nature, and used to provide important applications in science, medicine, and energy production. But it remains misunderstood and feared. In this Very Short Introduction, Claudio Tuniz explains the nature and mechanisms of radioactivity.

Waves

A Very Short Introduction

Waves

From sound waves to gravitational waves, and from waves of light to crashing rollers on the ocean, Mike Goldsmith explores the fundamental features shared by all waves in the natural world, and considers the range of phenomena resulting from wave motion, including reflection, diffraction, and polarization in light, and beats and echoes in sound.

Energy Systems

Energy Systems

Modern societies require energy systems to provide energy for cooking, heating, transport, and materials processing, as well as for electricity generation. Energy systems include the primary fuel, its conversion, and transport to the point of use. In many cases this primary fuel is still a fossil fuel, a one-use resource derived from a finite supply within our planet, causing considerable damage to the environment. After 300 years of increasing reliance on fossil fuels, particularly coal, it is becoming ever clearer that the present energy systems need to change. In this Very Short Introduction Nick Jenkins explores our historic investment in the exploitation of fossil energy resources and their current importance, and discusses the implications of our increasing rate of energy use. He considers the widespread acceptance by scientists and policy makers that our energy systems must reduce emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, and looks forward to the radical changes in fuel technology that will be necessary to continue to provide energy supplies in a sustainable manner, and extend access across the developing world. Considering the impact of changing to an environmentally benign and low-carbon energy system, Jenkins also looks at future low-carbon energy systems which would use electricity from a variety of renewable energy sources, as well as the role of nuclear power in our energy use. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction

Nuclear Weapons: A Very Short Introduction

Despite not having been used in anger since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Bomb is still the biggest threat that faces us in the 21st century. As Bill Clinton's first secretary of defence, Les Aspin, aptly put it: 'The Cold War is over, the Soviet Union is no more. But the post-Cold War world is decidedly not post-nuclear'. For all the effort to reduce nuclear stockpiles to zero, it seems that the Bomb is here to stay. This Very Short Introduction reveals why. The history, and politics of the bomb are explained: from the technology of nuclear weapons, to the revolutionary implications of the H-bomb, and the politics of nuclear deterrence. The issues are set against a backdrop of the changing international landscape, from the early days of development, through the Cold War, to the present-day controversy of George W. Bush's National Missile Defence, and the threat and role of nuclear weapons in the so-called Age of Terror. Joseph M. Siracusa provides a comprehensive, accessible, and at times chilling overview of the most deadly weapon ever invented. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Isotopes

A Very Short Introduction

Isotopes

An isotope is a variant form of a chemical element, containing a different number of neutrons in its nucleus. Most elements exist as several isotopes. Many are stable while others are radioactive, and some may only exist fleetingly before decaying into other elements. In this Very Short Introduction, Rob Ellam explains how isotopes have proved enormously important across all the sciences and in archaeology. Radioactive isotopes may be familiar from their use in nuclear weapons, nuclear power, and in medicine, as well as in carbon dating. They have been central to establishing the age of the Earth and the origins of the solar system. Combining previous and new research, Ellam provides an overview of the nature of stable and radioactive isotopes, and considers their wide range of modern applications. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Forensic Science: A Very Short Introduction

Forensic Science: A Very Short Introduction

Forensic science is a subject of wide fascination. What happens at a crime scene? How does DNA profiling work? How can it help solve crimes that happened 20 years ago? In forensic science, a criminal case can often hinge on a piece of evidence such as a hair, a blood trace, half a footprint, or a tyre mark. Complex scientific findings must be considered carefully and dispassionately, and communicated with clarity, simplicity, and precision. High profile cases such as the Stephen Lawrence enquiry and the Madeleine McCann case have attracted enormous media attention and enhanced general interest in this area in recent years. In this Very Short Introduction, Jim Fraser introduces the concept of forensic science and explains how it is used in the investigation of crime. He begins at the crime scene itself, explaining the principles and processes of crime scene management, and drawing on his own personal experience of high profile cases including, the murder of Rachel Nickell and the unsolved murder of Jill Dando. Fraser explores how forensic scientists work; from the reconstruction of events to laboratory examinations. He considers the techniques they use, such as fingerprinting, and goes on to highlight the immense impact DNA profiling has had. Providing examples from forensic science cases in the UK, US, and other countries, he considers the techniques and challenges faced around the world. This new edition has been fully updated to take into account developments in areas such as DNA analysis and drug analysis, and the growing field of digital forensics. Topical areas explored include the growing significance of cognitive bias in forensic science, and recent research that raises doubts about the validity of some forensic techniques. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Organic Chemistry: A Very Short Introduction

Organic Chemistry: A Very Short Introduction

Organic chemistry is the chemistry of compounds of carbon. The ability of carbon to link together to form long chain molecules and ring compounds as well as bonding with many other elements has led to a vast array of organic compounds. These compounds are central to life, forming the basis for organic molecules such as nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids. In this Very Short Introduction Graham Patrick covers the whole range of organic compounds and their roles. Beginning with the structures and properties of the basic groups of organic compounds, he goes on to consider organic compounds in the areas of pharmaceuticals, polymers, food and drink, petrochemicals, and nanotechnology. He looks at how new materials, in particular the single layer form of carbon called graphene, are opening up exciting new possibilities for applications, and discusses the particular challenges of working with carbon compounds, many of which are colourless. Patrick also discusses techniques used in the field. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.