cover image of Life at the Extremes

Life at the Extremes

by Frances Ashcroft


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The debut of a female Steve Jones -- likeable, literate, lucid and laconic. A sprightly, lavishly illustrated book on the science of human survival.

How do people survive extremes of heat, cold, depth, speed and altitude? This book explores the limits of human survival and the physiological adaptations which enable us to exist under extreme conditions. In man's battle for survival in the harshest of environments, the knowledge imparted by physiology, the 'logic of life', is crucial. What causes mountain sickness? Why is it possible to reach the top of Everest without supplementary oxygen, yet be killed if a plane depressurises suddenly at the same altitude. Why are astronauts unable to stand without fainting when they return to Earth? Why do human divers get the bends but sperm whales don't? Will men always be able to run faster than women? Why don't penguins get frostbite?

Publication Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date:


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Frances Ashcroft (Author)

Frances Ashcroft is Professor of Physiology at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Trinity College. Her scientific research has garnered many awards. Having contributed to many learned journals and academic studies, she has also written for t...

More about Frances Ashcroft
Life at the Extremes
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