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From Aztec accounts of hibernating hummingbirds to contemporary television spectaculars, human encounters with nature have long sparked wonder, curiosity and delight. Written by leading scholars, this richly illustrated volume offers a lively introduction to the history of natural history, from the sixteenth century to the present day. Covering an extraordinary range of topics, from curiosity cabinets and travelling menageries to modern seed banks and radio-tracked wildlife, this volume draws together the work of historians of science, of environment and of art, museum curators and literary scholars. The essays are framed by an introduction charting recent trends in the field and an epilogue outlining the prospects for the future. Accessible to newcomers and established specialists alike, Worlds of Natural History provides a much-needed perspective on current discussions of biodiversity and an enticing overview of an increasingly vital aspect of human history.
Using a new uniform sample of 824 solar and late-type stars with measured X-ray luminosities and rotation periods we have studied the relationship between rotation and stellar activity that is believed to be a probe of the underlying stellar dynamo. Using an unbiased subset of the sample we calculate the power law slope of the unsaturated regime of the activity – rotation relationship as LX / Lbol ∝ Roβ, where β = − 2.70 ± 0.13. This is inconsistent with the canonical β = − 2 slope to a confidence of 5σ and argues for an interface-type dynamo. We map out three regimes of coronal emission as a function of stellar mass and age, using the empirical saturation threshold and theoretical super-saturation thresholds. We find that the empirical saturation timescale is well correlated with the time at which stars transition from the rapidly rotating convective sequence to the slowly rotating interface sequence in stellar spin-down models. This may be hinting at fundamental changes in the underlying stellar dynamo or internal structure. We also present the first discovery of an X-ray unsaturated, fully convective M star, which may be hinting at an underlying rotation - activity relationship in fully convective stars hitherto not observed. Finally we present early results from a blind search for stellar X-ray cycles that can place valuable constraints on the underlying ubiquity of solar-like activity cycles.