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Latest Alumni Publications

Here you’ll find the latest round-up of publications written by Catz alumni. If you’ve recently published a book, or have any other news, please share it with us.

Andrew Briggs (1968, Physics)

Human Flourishing: scientific insight and spiritual wisdom in uncertain times (Oxford University Press, 2021)

For thousands of years, humans have asked ‘Why we are here?’ and ‘What makes for a good life?’. At different times, different answers have held sway. Nowadays, there are more answers proposed than ever. Much of humanity still finds the ultimate answers to such questions in religion. But in countries across the globe, secular views are widely held. In any event, whether religious or secular, individuals, communities and governments still have to make decisions about what people get from life.

This book therefore examines what is meant by human flourishing and see what it has to offer for those seeking after truth, meaning and purpose. This is a book written for anyone who wants a future for themselves, their children, and their fellow humans – a future that enables flourishing, pays due consideration to issues of truth and helps us find meaning and purpose in our lives.

At a time when most of us are bombarded with messages about what we should or should not do to live healthily, attain a work-life balance and find meaning, a careful consideration of the contributions of both scientific insight and spiritual wisdom provides a new angle. This is therefore a book that not only helps readers clarify their views and see things afresh but also help them improve their own well-being in an age of AI and other new technologies.

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Peter Buchan-Symons (2013, Mathematics)

A Complete Origami Nativity (Origami Shop, 2021)

With this book, you can fold over 30 original models to create your own origami Nativity scene! Along the way, learn advanced folding techniques to become an origami master, and discover design principles so that you can learn to create your own unique models. Designed for beginners and experts alike, enjoy hours of creative fun with this book.

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Peter Coffin (1966, Chemistry)

What does mankind really know? (Malcolm Coffin, 2021)

When the thoughts of wise individuals across the ages, cultures and disciplines are put together, what a mess! Many are conflicting or contradictory. How do you make sense of it all? The author will summarise all aspects of human knowledge through philosophy, science, humanities, art and religion. The objective is not to provide modern humans with yet another definitive answer to the fundamental questions of life (probably a fool’s errand) but to provide modern mankind with a means to make sense of it all.

All these wise individuals are expressing what they truly believe but from their own perspective, not realising their perspective is unique to them. Human knowledge comes with an unknown degree of uncertainty. It is proposed that until mankind gets a better handle on the way the human mind works, how social interaction influences individual thought processes and the criteria that determine each individual’s belief systems, theories on the fundamental questions of life will remain conjecture.

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Femi Fadugba (2006, Materials Science)

The Upper World (Penguin, 2021)

Esso is running out of time and into trouble. When he discovers he has the ability to see glimpses of the future, he becomes haunted by a vision of a bullet fired in an alleyway with devastating consequences. A generation later, fifteen-year-old Rhia is desperately searching for answers – and a catastrophic moment from the past holds the key to understanding the parents she never got to meet.

Whether on the roads of South London or in the mysterious Upper World, Esso and Rhia’s fates must collide. And when they do, a race against the clock will become a race against time itself…

This epic thriller is soon to be a major Netflix film starring Academy Award winner Daniel Kaluuya.

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Keith Johnson (1963, English)

The History of Late Modern Englishes (Routledge, 2021)

This book covers the development of Englishes around the world, not only in the British Isles, but also in the United States, Canada, India, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, and Melanesia, as well as in other countries around the world where English is used as a lingua franca.

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Kate Oliver (1988, Experimental Psychology)

Rise and Shine (Piatkus, 2021)

The way you start your morning matters – it sets the tone for the rest of your day, shaping your mood, focus and productivity. In Rise and Shine, psychologist Kate and therapist Toby share their innovative approach to embracing mornings: the SHINE method. A unique and flexible way to build positive, long-term habits, SHINE represents the five elements we all need in our mornings:

  • Silence – create stillness, peace and reflection
  • Happiness – discover techniques to help you begin the day on the right side of bed
  • Intention – find practices that empower you to shape your day
  • Nourishment – feed your mind, body and soul
  • Exercise – get your body moving, creating energy for the day ahead.

Based on the latest scientific research, as well as ancient traditions and insights gathered from decades of personal and professional experience, Rise and Shine offers thirty different practices that will encourage you to curate a routine that blends seamlessly with your lifestyle. Because by changing your mornings, you can change your life.

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Annie Percik (1997, English)

A Spectrum of Heroes (Markosia Enterprises, 2021)

Biochemist Anushka Mahto flees the lab where she works, stealing the mysterious substance she has been experimenting on. She accidentally contaminates herself while disposing of it, in an attempt to protect the world at large from its potentially harmful effects. On the run from her unethical boss, Anushka must learn to control her multiple new powers while being hunted by lab security chief and former lover, Charlotte. She calls on her sister for help, but Jhanvi is reluctant to open old wounds by allowing Anushka back into her life.

When an alien named Ergo comes onto the scene, Anushka suddenly finds the fate of humanity resting in her hands. Can she navigate the complex problems in her personal relationships and also prevent an interstellar war?

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Peter Raina (1960, Modern History)

Doris Lessing – A Life Behind the Scenes: The Files of the British Intelligence Service MI5 (Peter Lang, 2021)

In March 1949 the security service MI5 received notice of a suspect person about to enter Britain and went to great pains to keep her under surveillance. This person was the author Doris Lessing. She would eventually go on to win the Nobel Prize for literature as an ‘epicist… who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny’. And it was precisely this scrutiny that troubled the guardians of the status quo. Lessing grew up in colonial Rhodesia and hated the scorn with which the colonists treated the native population. She worked tirelessly for a more just society and this drove her into support for communism. But a communist, as one of her fictional characters says, ‘is hated, despised, feared and hunted’.

Peter Raina’s book, reproducing the secret files kept on Lessing, shows that this was largely true, even though her emphasis in these troubled times was always on Peace. Lessing was eventually disillusioned by communism, and sought a better understanding of human relations than Soviet-conforming clichés could provide. However, her understanding was much enriched by the experiences of her activism and knowledge of the opposition it aroused. The secret files show how strongly Lessing followed her convictions and throw new light on how her perceptions of society evolved. Peter Raina elucidates this in a short introduction and an epilogue discussing aspects of her writings.

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Peter Raina (1960, Modern History)

George ‘Dadie’ Rylands: Shakespearean Scholar and Cambridge Legend (Peter Lang, 2020)

Just once in a while, actors and performers change the whole way in which they approach the words in their scripts. Such a change happened in the early-to-middle years of the twentieth century; and the person behind it was ‘Dadie’ Rylands. He was a man with an ear acutely attuned to the nuances of poetry, and he insisted that it was the ear and not the eye that mattered most in productions of Shakespeare. It was Rylands who taught an exceptional generation of Shakespearean actors how to speak. Gielgud, Olivier, Ashcroft, Redgrave – all owed their superb diction to him. Moreover, they adored him as a person.

Amazingly for a man with such influence, Rylands was not ensconced in the established Theatre. He taught undergraduates at Cambridge and his own productions were with the amateur Marlowe Dramatic Society there. Nor was his life confined to dramatics and the academic world. He was a fringe member of the Bloomsbury set – firm friends with Lytton Strachey, Virginia Woolf and John Maynard Keynes, all regular correspondents. And his circle of notable friends stretched to a wider group of literati including Maurice Bowra and T.S Eliot. Rylands died, aged 97, in 1999. We no longer have his irrepressible presence, but he left a palpable legacy in gramophone recordings of all Shakespeare’s plays in which he directed star-studded casts. Now that legacy is augmented by Peter Raina’s study, with its admirable selection of Rylands’ marvellously lucid radio talks (hitherto unpublished) and its sampling of the multitude of letters he wrote and received.

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Peter Raina (1960, Modern History)

Heinrich von Kleist Poems (Peter Lang, 2020)

This collection of poems by Heinrich von Kleist (1777-1811) translated into modern English rhyming verse by Peter Raina will bring the stature of this contemporary of Goethe and Schiller into sharp focus and will reach a new readership of English speakers across the world. The subjects treated in this anthology include reaction to major political events (particularly Napoleon’s incursions into German territory) and patriotic laudatory pieces as well as anti-military sentiments, down to shorter poems, especially the epigrams which explore everyday joys and tribulations.

Peter Raina was emboldened to replace the metre he found in the original with a new rhyme and rhythm in his English translation. The effect is a fresh, arresting comment on issues in Kleist’s background often not so dissimilar from those we experience today.

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James Spellman (1981, International Relations)

Carlotta the Musical (Ipogeo, 2021)

Released with collaborator and composer, Filippo Cosentino, Carlotta the Musical is a story about a truffle-hunting dog, the family who adopts her, and the challenges of finding ever-fewer truffles.

Carlotta the Musical is meant for children but with appeal to adults, with messages about parenting, guarding the environment, and confronting evils. Carlotta is a Lagotto Romagnolo, the last born of the last litter of her mother, Angelica. She is pure white and her brothers are shades of copper-brown. Paolo, a boy who lost his mother, falls in love with her, but his father, Giovanni, is skeptical that Carlotta will be able to find truffles. During one night in the woods, she hears the truffle, Bruno, who urges her to leave him alone. As the story comes to a close, there is tragedy that teaches Giovanni, Paolo and Carlotta lessons to guide their lives forever more.

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Adrian Sutton (1973, Metallurgy)

Concepts of Materials Science (Oxford University Press, 2021)

This short book sets out fundamental concepts that underpin the science of materials and emphasizes their relevance to mainstream chemistry, physics and biology. These include the thermodynamic stability of materials in various environments, quantum behaviour governing all matter, and active matter. Others include defects as the agents of change in crystalline materials, materials at the nanoscale, the emergence of new science at increasing length scales in materials, and man-made materials with properties determined by their structure rather than their chemistry.

The book provides a unique insight into the essence of materials science at a level suitable for pre-university students and undergraduates of materials science. It will also be suitable for graduates in other subjects contemplating postgraduate study in materials science. Professional materials scientists will also find it stimulating and occasionally provocative.

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Adrian Sutton (1973, Metallurgy)

Physics of Elasticity and Crystal Defects (Oxford University Press, 2020)

This textbook is a modern take on an old subject at the heart of materials physics. Properties of crystalline materials are almost always controlled by structural defects within them. Until relatively recently these defects were studied theoretically using continuum elasticity theory which ignores the atomic structure of the host material. This book introduces the concepts of elasticity in the traditional continuum way and also in terms of atomic interactions.

It goes on to present point (impurities, missing atoms), line (dislocations) and planar (faults, cracks) defects at both the continuum level and the atomic level. This novel approach will be new to most engineers and it will appeal to physicists. There are exercises for the student to work through, with complete solutions free to course instructors from the OUP website.

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Adrian Sutton (1973, Metallurgy)

Rethinking the PhD (Amazon, 2020)

The traditional PhD is no longer fit for purpose. It fails students and employers. This book provides a blueprint for a fresh approach centred on the personal, academic and professional development of the student and which meets the needs of employers. The vagaries of research council funding are dramatically illustrated and an alternative funding mechanism is proposed. This book is the product of ten years of imaginative thinking, creating a world-renowned PhD programme. Policy makers, funding agencies and anyone running, thinking about or sponsoring a PhD project, will find this book an inspiration.

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