One bright February afternoon on a beach in Cornwall, Gavin
Pretor-Pinney took a break from cloudspotting and started watching the
waves rolling into shore. Mesmerised, he wondered where they had come
from, and decided to find out. He soon realised that waves don't just
appear on the ocean, they are everywhere around us, and our lives
depend on them.
From the rippling beats of our hearts, to the movement of food through
our digestive tracts and of signals across our brains, waves are the
transport systems of our bodies. Everything we see and hear reaches us
via light and sound waves, and our information age is reliant on the
microwaves and infrared waves used by the telephone and internet
infrastructure. From shockwaves unleashed by explosions to torsional
waves that cause suspension bridges to collapse, from sonar waves that
allow submarines to 'see' with sound to Mexican waves that sweep
through stadium crowds… there were waves, it seemed, wherever Gavin
looked. But what, he wondered, could they all have in common with ones
we splash around in on holiday?
By the time he made the ultimate surfer's pilgrimage to Hawaii, Gavin
had become a world-class wavewatcher, although he was still rubbish at
surfing. And, while this fascinating, funny book may not teach you how
to ride the waves, it will show you how to tune into the shapes,
colours and forms of life's many undulations.