Bad Ideas

We are born with the instinct to create and invent. Indeed, our ability to do so is what separates us from the rest of the animal world. But have our creative ideas always produced desirable results? Have they always served us well?

Bad Ideas? traces the fascinating history of our attempts at self-improvement but also questions their value. The dubious consequences of the development of weaponry, for example, is self-evident. But what of apparently more innocuous advances such as farming, writing and medicine? Science has produced huge good but has also had unforeseen consequences. Can science and scientists find solutions to the perils that now menace us?

We meet some key individuals along the way and share quirky anecdotes about their lives and brainwaves. Inspiring, unusual and at times controversial, Bad Ideas? assesses the past and looks forward to the opportunities of the future. In so doing it celebrates man’s extraordinary capacity for achievement and offers a hopeful way forward to protect humanity against what sometimes seem like bad ideas.

Bantam Publishing (2010)

ISBN 978-0553819557

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Also available as an audiobook


A jaw-dropping tour of anatomy from Robert Winston. From how your blood flows through the heart to how your food is digested, take a trip through your very own body and be astounded by its inner workings. A free interactive CD shows the body and it’s movements in 3D detail and acetate pages fold back to reveal how our most important organs work. An irresistibly graphic, top-to-toe body atlas.



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DK Publishing (2005)

ISBN 978-1405310420


The Story of God

From the tiniest microchip to the information superhighway, the modern world is dominated by and dependent upon science. Yet whether we realize it or not, we live in an age where faith is still an important influence in our lives. The majority of Americans profess a belief in a Christian God and Islam acts as a unifying, energizing force for many of the world’s most dispossessed people. In the UK congregations may be shrinking, but popular belief in the supernatural – ghosts and spirits, fortune-telling, faith healing – is stronger than ever.

In The Story of God Robert Winston examines the relationship between science and religion across time, beginning with the primitive worship of early ancestors and concluding with a vivid portrait of faith in the modern world.

Grand in scope, adventurous in tone – and written from the perspective of a respected scientist who is also committed to Judaism – this groundbreaking work traces a line across continents, cultures and eras.


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Bantam Publishing (2005)

ISBN  978-0553817430


What does it really mean to be human? How do we actually differ from apes? All your questions answered in this definitive visual guide to being Human. From biology to beliefs, evolution to our future, a team of expert writers and consultants – led by author and broadcaster Robert Winston – tell the complete story of our remarkable species. People watching – it’s only human nature.


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DK Publishers (2005)

ISBN 978-1405311557


The Human Mind

It is the most complex and mysterious object in the universe. Covered by a dull grey membrane, it resembles a gigantic, convoluted fungus. Its inscrutability has captivated scientists, philosophers and artists for centuries. It is, of course, the human brain.

With the help of science we can now begin to understand the extraordinary complexity of the brain’s circuits: we can see which nerve cells generate electricity as we fall in love, tell a lie or dream of a lottery win. And inside the 100 billion cells of this rubbery network is something remarkable: you.

In this entertaining and accessible book, Robert Winston takes us deep into the workings of the human mind and shows how our emotions and personality are the result of genes and environment. He explains how memories are formed and lost, how the ever-changing brain is responsible for toddler tantrums and teenage angst, plus he reveals the truth behind extra-sensory perception, déjà vu and out-of-body experiences. He also tells us how to boost our intelligence, how to tap into creative powers we never knew we had, how to break old habits and keep our brain fit and active as we enter old age.

The human mind is all we have to help us to understand it. Paradoxically, it is possible that science may never quite explain everything about this extraordinary mechanism that makes each of us unique.

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Random House (2004)

ISBN 978-0553816198

Human Instinct

Few people doubt that humans are descended from the apes; fewer still consider, let alone accept, the psychological implications. But in truth, man not only looks, moves and breathes like an ape, he also thinks like one.

Sexual drive, survival, competition, aggression – all of our impulses are driven by our human instincts. They explain why a happily married man will fantasize about the pretty, slim, young woman sitting across from him on the tube and why thousands of people spend their week entirely focused on whether their team will win their next crucial match.

But how well do our instincts equip us for the twenty-first century? Do they help or hinder us as we deal with large anonymous cities, stressful careers, relationships and the battle of the sexes? In this fascinating book, Robert Winston takes us on a journey deep into the human mind. Along the way he takes a very personal look at the relationship between science and religion and explores those very instincts that make us human.

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Bantam Publishing (2003)

ISBN 978-0553814927



Co-authored with Lori Oliwenstein

Following on from the enormously successful BBC program, The Human Body, Superhuman explores the body’s amazing ability to heal, renew, and regenerate itself. This illustrated book relates dramatic tales of futuristic medicine taking place today, and, also, describes how the body’s own power of self-repair is enhanced with contemporary drugs and techniques. It also looks ahead to what will be possible in the near future — ‘designer’ babies, viruses carrying repair genes to cells before they become cancerous, tailor-made human tissue and organs from modifying animal organs with human genes, and electrodes implanted into the brain allowing the blind to see.

Superhuman concentrates on six key medical areas — cancer, infection, transplantation, trauma, repair, and reproduction. It records the before, during, and after of radical operations on real people. It gives witness to the hopes and fears of doctors and patients as new treatments are administered — in many cases, for the first time for both the patients and the professionals. None of these developments would be possible without an increasing understanding of the basic way our body functions, or without a clear recognition of medicine’s history. Superhuman focuses on these aspects of medicine and, also, on the key ethical problems raised by the advance of medical technology.


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DK Publishing (2001)

ISBN 978-0789468277

IVF Revolution

A guide from a leading British expert on the practice and ethics of assisted fertility techniques. Subjects include the latest in vitro fertilisation and gamete intra-fallopian transfer techniques, egg donation and embryo freezing. Winston also looks at the possible causes of infertility and offers advice on the emotional and practical angles.


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Vermilion Publishing 1999

ISBN 978-0091863395

The Science of Music

Robert Winston looks at music with a scientist’s eye, testing the data behind our emotions, in a series that seeks to fully understand our relationship with the power of sound.