Ageing

Ageing

Ageing is an activity we are familiar with from an early age. In our younger years upcoming birthdays are anticipated with an excitement that somewhat diminishes as the years progress. As we grow older we are bombarded with advice on ways to overcome, thwart, resist, and, on the rare occasion, embrace, one's ageing. Have all human beings from the various historical epochs and cultures viewed aging with this same ambivalence? In this Very Short Introduction Nancy A. Pachana discusses the lifelong dynamic changes in biological, psychological, and social functioning involved in ageing. Increased lifespans in the developed and the developing world have created an urgent need to find ways to enhance our functioning and well-being in the later decades of life, and this need is reflected in policies and action plans addressing our ageing populations from the World Health Organization and the United Nations. Looking to the future, Pachana considers advancements in the provision for our ageing populations, including revolutionary models of nursing home care such as Green House nursing homes in the USA and Small Group Living homes in the Netherlands. She shows that understanding the process of ageing is not only important for individuals, but also for societies and nations, if the full potential of those entering later life is to be realised. 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.

Developmental Biology: A Very Short Introduction

Developmental Biology: A Very Short Introduction

"A concise account of what we know about development discusses the first vital steps of growth and explores one of the liveliest areas of scientific research."--P. [2] of cover.

Demography: A Very Short Introduction

Demography: A Very Short Introduction

The generation into which each person is born, the demographic composition of that cohort, and its relation to those born at the same time in other places influences not only a person's life chances, but also the economic and political structures within which that life is lived; the person's access to social and natural resources (food, water, education, jobs, sexual partners); and even the length of that person's life. Demography, literally the study of people, addresses the size, distribution, composition, and density of populations, and considers the impact the drivers which mediate these will have on both individual lives and the changing structure of human populations. This Very Short Introduction considers the way in which the global population has evolved over time and space. Sarah Harper discusses the theorists, theories, and methods involved in studying population trends and movements, before looking at the emergence of new demographic sub-disciplines and addressing some of the future population challenges of the 21st century. 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.

The Hellenistic Age: A Very Short Introduction

The Hellenistic Age: A Very Short Introduction

The three centuries which followed the conquests of Alexander are perhaps the most thrilling of all periods of ancient history. This was an age of cultural globalization: in the third century BC, a single language carried you from the Rhône to the Indus. A Celt from the lower Danube could serve in the mercenary army of a Macedonian king ruling in Egypt, and a Greek philosopher from Cyprus could compare the religions of the Brahmins and the Jews on the basis of first-hand knowledge of both. Kings from Sicily to Tajikistan struggled to meet the challenges of ruling multi-ethnic states, and Greek city-states came together under the earliest federal governments known to history. The scientists of Ptolemaic Alexandria measured the circumference of the earth, while pioneering Greek argonauts explored the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic coast of Africa. Drawing on inscriptions, papyri, coinage, poetry, art, and archaeology, in this Very Short Introduction Peter Thonemann opens up the history and culture of the vast Hellenistic world, from the death of Alexander the Great (323 BC) to the Roman conquest of the Ptolemaic kingdom (30 BC). 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.

Intelligence: a Very Short Introduction

Intelligence: a Very Short Introduction

Some people are cleverer than others. This everyday observation is the subject of an academic field that is often portrayed as confused and controversial, when in fact, the field of intelligence holds some of psychology's best-replicated findings. This Very Short Introduction describes what psychologists have discovered about how and why people differ in their thinking powers. Drawing on large scale data Ian Deary considers how many types of intelligence there are, and how intelligence changes with age. Along the way he tackles some of the most burning questions surrounding intelligence, such as whether larger brains are cleverer, and how genes and environments contribute to people's intelligence differences. He also considers the new field of cognitive epidemiology, which draws links between intelligence and better health, less illness, and longer life, and asks whether intelligence is increasing. In this new edition Deary also addresses the controversial question of whether men and women differ in intelligence. Throughout he provides a clear description of the data we can use to answer these questions and more. 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.

Biometrics: a Very Short Introduction

Biometrics: a Very Short Introduction

We live in a society which is increasingly interconnected, in which communication between individuals is mostly mediated via some electronic platform, and transactions are often carried out remotely. In such a world, traditional notions of trust and confidence in the identity of those with whom we are interacting, taken for granted in the past, can be much less reliable. Biometrics -- the scientific discipline of identifying individuals by means of the measurement of unique personal attributes -- provides a reliable means of establishing or confirming an individual's identity. These attributes include facial appearance, fingerprints, iris patterning, the voice, the way we write, or even the way we walk. The new technologies of biometrics have a wide range of practical applications, from securing mobile phones and laptops to establishing identity in bank transactions, travel documents, and national identity cards. This Very Short Introduction considers the capabilities of biometrics-based identity checking, from first principles to the practicalities of using different types of identification data. Michael Fairhurst looks at the basic techniques in use today, ongoing developments in system design, and emerging technologies, all aimed at improving precision in identification, and providing solutions to an increasingly wide range of practical problems. Considering how they may continue to develop in the future, Fairhurst explores the benefits and limitations of these pervasive and powerful technologies, and how they can effectively support our increasingly interconnected society. 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.

Dynasty

Dynasty

For thousands of years bloodlines have been held as virtually unassailable credentials for leadership, with supreme political power perceived as a family affair across the globe and throughout history. At the heart of royal dynasties, kings were inflated to superhuman proportions, yet their status came at a price: whilst they may have reigned, they were very often ruled by others who sheltered behind the ruler's proclaimed omnipotence. Descent through the female line also occurred, subverting our common view of dynasty as built on father-son succession. Everywhere, women were important as mothers of boy-kings, and could even rule in their own right in some places. In this Very Short Introduction Jeroen Duindam connects the earliest history of kings and queens to contemporary examples of family-based leadership. His sweeping overview of five millennia of dynastic rule brings to light recurring predicaments of families on the throne. Examining persistent family conflict and the dilemmas of leadership, he shows how the challenge of governing the family was balanced by the necessity of family scions, close or distant, for the survival of dynasties. Tensions between ageing fathers and eager sons can be found among ancient kings as well as in modern business empires. Guidebooks for rulers throughout history provided counsel that will appear strikingly familiar to contemporary leaders. The thoughts and confessions of rulers added a more personal touch to these rules of thumb. Throughout, Duindam sheds light not only on similarities, but also on divergence and change in dynastic practice. 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.

Hormones: A Very Short Introduction

Hormones: A Very Short Introduction

Hormones play an integral part in the balance and workings of the body. While many people are broadly aware of their existence, there are many misconceptions and few are aware of the nature and importance of the endocrine system. In this Very Short Introduction, Martin Luck explains what hormones are, what they do, where they come from, and how they work. He explains how the endocrine system operates, highlighting the importance of hormones in the regulation of water and salt in the body, how they affect reproduction and our appetites, and how they help us adjust to different environments, such as travel across time zones. In this fresh and modern treatment, Luck also touches on the ethical and moral issues surrounding research methods, testing on animals, and hormone misuse. 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.

Memory: A Very Short Introduction

Memory: A Very Short Introduction

Why do we remember events from our childhood as if they happened yesterday, but not what we did last week? Why does our memory seem to work well sometimes and not others? What happens when it goes wrong? Can memory be improved or manipulated, by psychological techniques or even 'brain implants'? How does memory grow and change as we age? And what of so-called 'recovered' memories? This book brings together the latest research in neuroscience and psychology, and weaves in case-studies, anecdotes, and even literature and philosophy, to address these and many other important questions about the science of memory - how it works, and why we can't live without it. 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.