Honor roll: Science/Technology books

Each of these Science/Technology books has received at least one award nomination. They are ranked by honors received.

Book:The Snow Leopard

The Snow Leopard

Peter Matthiessen

When Peter Matthiessen set out with the field biologist George Schaller from Pokhara, in northwest Nepal, their hope was to reach the Crystal Mountain—a foot journey of 250 miles or more across the Himalaya—in the Land of Dolpo, on the Tibetan plateau. Since they wished to observe the late-autumn rut of the bharal, or Himalayan blue sheep, they undertook their trek as winter snows were sweeping into the high passes, and five weeks were required to reach their destination.

At Shey Compaa, a very ancient Buddhist shrine on the Crystal Mountain, the Lama had forbidden all killing of wild animals, and bharal were said to be numberous and easily observed. Where they were numerous there was bound to appear that rarest and most beautiful of the great cats, the snow leopard. Hope of glimpsing this near-mythic beast in the snow mountains would be reason enough for the entire journey. …[more]

Book:The Lives of a Cell

The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher

Lewis Thomas

Elegant, suggestive, and clarifying, Lewis Thomas’s profoundly humane vision explores the world around us and examines the complex interdependence of all things.  Extending beyond the usual limitations of biological science and into a vast and wondrous world of hidden relationships, this provocative book explores in personal, poetic essays to topics such as computers, germs, language, music, death, insects, and medicine.  Lewis Thomas writes, “Once you have become permanently startled, as I am, by the realization that we are a social species, you tend to keep an eye out for the pieces of evidence that this is, by and large, good for us.”

Book:On Human Nature

On Human Nature

Edward O. Wilson

No one who cares about the human future can afford to ignore Edward O. Wilson’s book. On Human Nature begins a new phase in the most important intellectual controversy of this generation: Is human behavior controlled by the species’ biological heritage? Does this heritage limit human destiny?

With characteristic pungency and simplicity of style, the author of Sociobiology challenges old prejudices and current misconceptions about the nature-nurture debate. He shows how…evolution has left its traces on the most distinctively human activities, how patterns of generosity, self-sacrifice, and worship, as well as sexuality and aggression, reveal their deep roots in the life histories of primate bands that hunted big game in the last Ice Age. His goal is nothing less than the completion of the Darwinian revolution by bringing biological thought into the center of the social sciences and the humanities. …[more]

Book:Dragons of Eden

Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence

Carl Sagan

What are the origins of human intelligence? How did it evolve? What can its evolution tell us about the future of our species?

With his celebrated gift for graceful, inspired explication of complex scientific matters, Carl Sagan provides a breathtaking overview of the nature and development of human intelligence from prehistory to the present. His cosmological perspective gives his speculations a refreshing breadth, while his exhilarating segues from anatomical and biological detail to unexamined elements of enduring myths entwine human and natural history in provocative and illuminating ways.

Equally at ease with the scientific method and the literary imagination, Sagan is able to sketch a vision bold enough to engage in all its richness and perplexities the large question of what it means to be human, and to spice his speculations with…[more]

Book:In the Deserts of This Earth

In the Deserts of This Earth

Uwe George, Richard Winston, Clara Winston

Book:The Path Between the Seas

The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914

David McCullough

The building of the Panama Canal was one of the most grandiose, dramatic, and sweeping adventures of all time. Spanning nearly half a century, from its beginnings by a France in pursuit of glory to its completion by the United States on the eve of World War I, it enlisted men, nations, and money on a scale never before seen. Apart from the great wars, it was the largest, costliest single effort ever mounted anywhere on earth, and it affected the lives of tens of thousands of people throughout the world. Here in all its heartbreak and eventual triumph the epic adventure is brought vividly alive by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of such books as The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, Truman, and John Adams.

Filled with vivid detail and incident, The Path Between the Seas is not only a fact-filled account of an unprecedented engineering feat; it is also the story of the people who were caught up in it—some to win fame and fortune, others to have…[more]

Book:Beautiful Swimmers

Beautiful Swimmers: Watermen, Crabs and the Chesapeake Bay

William W. Warner

William Warner exhibits his skill as a naturalist and as a writer in this Pulitzer Prize-winning study of the pugnacious Atlantic blue crab and of its Chesapeake Bay territory.

Book:Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Annie Dillard

An exhilarating meditation on nature and its seasons—a personal narrative highlighting one year’s exploration on foot in the author’s own neighborhood in Tinker Creek, Virginia. In the summer, Dillard stalks muskrats in the creek and contemplates wave mechanics; in the fall she watches a monarch butterfly migration and dreams of Arctic caribou. She tries to con a coot; she collects pond water and examines it under a microscope. She unties a snake skin, witnesses a flood, and plays “King of the Meadow” with a field of grasshoppers.

Book:The Serengeti Lion

The Serengeti Lion: A Study of Predator-Prey Relations

George B. Schaller

“This is an important book, not just for its valuable information on lions, but for its broad, open,and intelligent approach to problems that cut across the fields of behavior, populations, ecology, wildlife management,evolution, anthropology, and comparative biology.”—Richard G. Van Gelder, Bioscience

Book:The Blue Whale

The Blue Whale

George L. Small

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