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Maybe it was a viral pandemic, or an asteroid strike, or perhaps nuclear war. Whatever the cause, the world as we know it has ended and you and the other survivors must start again. What key knowledge would you need to start rebuilding civilisation from scratch? Once you've scavenged what you can, how do you begin producing the essentials? How do you grow food, generate power, prepare medicines, or get metal out of rocks? Could you avert another Dark Ages or take shortcuts to accelerate redevelopment? Living in the modern world, we have become disconnected from the basic processes that support our lives, as well as the beautiful fundamentals of science that enable you to relearn things for yourself. The Knowledge is a journey of discovery, a book which explains everything you need to know about everything. This is a quickstart guide for rebooting civilisation which will transform your understanding of the world – and help you prepare for when it's no longer here...
Lewis Dartnell is a UK Space Agency research fellow at the University of Leicester, in the field of astrobiology and the search for signs of life on Mars. He has won several awards for his science writing, and contributes to the Guardian, The Times and New Scientist. He has also written for television and appeared on BBC Horizon, Sky News, Wonders of the Universe, Stargazing Live, and The Sky at Night. A tireless populariser of science, his theory on how the heisters could have saved the gold bullion in the cliff-hanging ending of The Italian Job was mocked on Have I Got News For You. His two previous books are Life in the Universe: a Beginner's Guide and the illustrated children's book My Tourist's Guide to the Solar System and Beyond. When the world ends, he will be ready to start again.