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 Making of the Atomic Bomb

The Making of the Atomic Bomb

Richard Rhodes

Here for the first time, in rich, human, political, and scientific detail, is the complete story of how the bomb was developed, from the turn-of-the-century discovery of the vast energy locked inside the atom to the dropping of the first bombs on Japan.

Few great discoveries have evolved so swiftly—or have been so misunderstood. From the theoretical discussions of nuclear energy to the bright glare of Trinity there was a span of hardly more than twenty-five years. What began as merely an interesting speculative problem in physics grew into the Manhattan Project, and then into the Bomb with frightening rapidity, while scientists known only to their peers—Szilard, Teller, Oppenheimer, Bohr, Meitner, Fermi, Lawrence, and yon Neumann—stepped from their ivory towers into the limelight. …[more]

Book:The Way Things Work

The Way Things Work

David Macaulay

The information age is upon us, baffling us with thousands of complicated state-of-the-art technologies. To help make sense of the computer age, David Macaulay brings us The New Way Things Work. This completely updated and expanded edition describes twelve new machines and includes more than seventy new pages detailing the latest innovations. With an entirely new section that guides us through the complicated world of digital machinery, where masses of electronic information can be squeezed onto a single tiny microchip, this revised edition embraces all of the newest developments, from cars to watches. Each scientific principle is brilliantly explained—with the help of a charming, if rather slow-witted, woolly mammoth.

Book:The Soul of a New Machine

The Soul of a New Machine

Tracy Kidder

Computers have changed since 1981, when Tracy Kidder indelibly recorded the drama, comedy, and excitement of one company’s efforts to bring a new microcomputer to market. What has changed little, however, is computer culture: the feverish pace of the high-tech industry, the mystique of programmers, the go-for-broke approach to business that has caused so many computer companies to win big (or go belly up), and the cult of pursuing mind-bending technological innovations. By tracing computer culture to its roots, by exploring the “soul” of the “machine” that has revolutionized the world, Kidder succeeds as no other writer has done in capturing the essential spirit of the computer age.

Book:Gödel, Escher, Bach

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid

Douglas R. Hofstadter

Linking together the music of Bach, the graphic art of Escher and the mathematical theorems of Godel, as well as ideas drawn from logic, biology, psyhcology, physics and linguistics, Hofstadter illumnintaes one of the greatest mysteries of modern science: the nature of the human thought process.

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:Bones of Contention

Bones of Contention: Controversies in the Search for Human Origins

Roger Lewin

Bones of Contention is a behind-the-scenes look at the search for human origins. Analyzing how the biases and preconceptions of paleoanthropologists shaped their work, Roger Lewin’s detective stories about the discovery of Neanderthal Man, the Taung Child, Lucy, and other major fossils provide insight into this most subjective of scientific endeavors. The new afterword looks at ways in which paleoanthropology, while becoming more scientific in many ways, remains contentious.

Book:An Empire of Their Own

An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood

Neal Gabler

This “wonderful history of the golden age of the movie moguls” (Chicago Tribune ) is a provocative, original, and richly entertaining group biography of the Jewish immigrants who were the moving forces behind the creation of America’s motion picture industry.

Book:Peacemaking Among Primates

Peacemaking Among Primates

Frans de Waal

Does biology condemn the human species to violence and war? Previous studies of animal behavior incline us to answer yes, but the message of this book is considerably more optimistic. Without denying our heritage of aggressive behavior, Frans de Waal describes powerful checks and balances in the makeup of our closest animal relatives, and in so doing he shows that to humans making peace is as natural as making war.

In this meticulously researched and absorbing account, we learn in detail how different types of simians cope with aggression, and how they make peace after fights. Chimpanzees, for instance, reconcile with a hug and a kiss, whereas rhesus monkeys groom the fur of former adversaries. By objectively examining the dynamics of primate social interactions, de Waal makes a convincing case that confrontation should not be viewed as a barrier to sociality but rather as an unavoidable element upon which social…[more]

Book:The Launching of Modern American Science, 1846-1876

The Launching of Modern American Science, 1846-1876

Robert V. Bruce

Book:Living Things

Living Things: Science Alive series

Robin Kerrod

Describes how plants and animals live, feed, grow, and reproduce. Includes simple activities and experiments.

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