A year ago saw me in the weirdest job interview ever. I was sitting on my sofa throwing chemicals into a candle flame while pretend-talking to a class of children on zoom. (Covid makes us do strange things.)
The interview was for the Faraday Institute, Cambridge, a hub of brilliant Faith and Science resources (do go check them out, HERE for Faraday and HERE for Faraday Kids).
Sadly, I was a close second for the post, but the person leading that interview was the lovely Ruth Bancewitz, and she’s the lass behind the most gorgeous science book I’ve ever seen.
It’s called Wonders of the Living World and it plopped onto my doormat a few days ago. The subtitle is ‘Curiosity, Awe and The Meaning of Life’, which encapsulates the tone of this book perfectly.
It has chapters featuring highly-qualified scientists in various spheres (interesting bios at the back), all of whom have a strong personal Christian faith. And, despite the common trope, they (as I) find no contradiction between faith and Zoology, faith and Theoretical Physics, faith and Paleobiology.
Each chapter takes us on a journey exploring the unimaginably complex jungles of our cells, the Map of Life, living ecosystems, the total weirdness of water etc. The scientists are top of their fields, but we don’t need to be emeritus professors of whatsit to understand them. Like knowledgeable safari guides, they lead us along, pointing out the interesting animals to see along the way to collective “Oooh”s and “Ahhhhh”s.
But best of all are the pictures! Of course there are charming photos of daddy seahorses cuddling their babies, of course there are penguins – how can any book about the natural world not have penguins? But capturing my eye on every page are the huge hand-painted illustrations by Danny Allison. Here are some for your to feast your peepers on.
Ain’t they gorgeous?
Have you ever seen a science book SO DARNED PRETTY?
This is my new favourite book.
Perfect for yourself, great as a pressy. Give this to your sceptical friend who says, “Well, I don’t believe in God because I’m a scientist.” Give it to your church friend who says, “Well, I don’t believe in science because I’m a Christian.” (Seriously, I’ve heard that. It was at a Bible study group and the three of us sat opposite her on the sofa just looked at each other. Between us we had five science degrees.)
Published by Lion and available in hardback, paperback and kindle from Amazon, Eden (hardback only) and your favourite bookstore. (If they haven’t got it, ask them to order it in.)