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:Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie

Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout

Lauren Redniss

In 1891, 24-year-old Marie Sklodowska moved from Warsaw to Paris, where she found work in the laboratory of Pierre Curie, a scientist engaged in research on heat and magnetism. They fell in love. They took their honeymoon on bicycles. They expanded the periodic table, discovering two new elements with startling properties, radium and polonium. They recognized radioactivity as an atomic property, heralding the dawn of a new scientific era. They won the Nobel Prize. Newspapers mythologized the couple’s romance, beginning articles on the Curies with “Once upon a time…” Then, in 1906, Pierre was killed in a freak accident. Marie continued their work alone. She won a second Nobel Prize in 1911, and fell in love again, this time with the married physicist Paul Langevin. Scandal ensued. Duels were fought.

In the century since the Curies began their work, we’ve struggled with nuclear weapons proliferation, debated the role…[more]

Book:The Particle at the End of the Universe

The Particle at the End of the Universe

Sean B. Carroll

It was the universe’s most elusive particle, the linchpin for everything scientists dreamed up to explain how stuff works. It had to be found. But projects as big as CERN’s Large Hadron Collider don’t happen without dealing and conniving, incredible risks and occasional skullduggery. Award-winning physicist and science popularizer Sean Carroll reveals the history-making forces of insight, rivalry, and wonder that fuelled the Higgs search and how its discovery opens a door into the mind-boggling domain of dark matter and other phenomena we never predicted. Told with unrivalled ambition, authority, and access to the teams, this is the greatest science story of our time—riveting and irresistible.

Book:The Scientific Sherlock Holmes

The Scientific Sherlock Holmes: Cracking the Case with Science and Forensics

James O'Brien

One of the most popular and widely known characters in all of fiction, Sherlock Holmes has an enduring appeal based largely on his uncanny ability to make the most remarkable deductions from the most mundane facts. The very first words that Sherlock Holmes ever says to Dr. Watson are, “How are you? You have been in Afghanistan, I perceive.” Watson responds, “How on earth did you know that?” And so a crime-solving legend is born.

In The Scientific Sherlock Holmes, James O’Brien provides an in-depth look at Holmes’s use of science in his investigations. Indeed, one reason for Holmes’s appeal is his frequent use of the scientific method and the vast scientific knowledge which he drew upon to solve mysteries. For instance, in heart of the book, the author reveals that Holmes was a pioneer of forensic science, making use of fingerprinting well before Scotland Yard itself had adopted the method. One of the more appealing…[more]

Book:Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History

Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History

Florence Williams

An engaging narrative about an incredible, life-giving organ and its imperiled modern fate.

Did you know that breast milk contains substances similar to cannabis? Or that it’s sold on the Internet for 262 times the price of oil? Feted and fetishized, the breast is an evolutionary masterpiece. But in the modern world, the breast is changing. Breasts are getting bigger, arriving earlier, and attracting newfangled chemicals. Increasingly, the odds are stacked against us in the struggle with breast cancer, even among men. What makes breasts so mercurial—and so vulnerable?

In this informative and highly entertaining account, intrepid science reporter Florence Williams sets out to uncover the latest scientific findings from the fields of anthropology, biology, and medicine. Her investigation follows the life cycle of the breast from puberty to pregnancy to menopause, taking her from a plastic surgeon’s office where she learns about the importance of cup size in Texas to the laboratory where she discovers the presence of environmental toxins in her own breast milk. The result is a fascinating exploration of where breasts came from, where they have ended up, and what we can do to save them.

Book:Over and Under the Snow

Over and Under the Snow

Kate Messner, Christopher Silas Neal

Over the snow, the world is hushed and white.

But under the snow is a secret world of squirrels and snowshoe hares, bears and bullfrogs, and many other animals who live through the winter, safe and warm.

Over and Under the Snow takes readers on a cross country ski trip through the winter woods to discover the secret world of animals living under the snow.

Book:From Then to Now: A Short History of the World

From Then to Now: A Short History of the World

Christopher Moore, Andrej Krystoforski

Just 50,000 years ago, our hunter-gatherer ancestors ventured off the African savannah and into the wider world. Now, our technology reaches far out into the cosmos. How did we get to where we are today?

With lively text and colorful illustrations, From Then to Now explains how individual societies struggled to find their own paths, despite war, disease, slavery, natural disasters, and the relentless growth of human knowledge. From Hammurabi to Henry Ford, from Incan couriers to the Internet, from the Taj Mahal to the Eiffel Tower, from Marco Polo to Martin Luther King, from Cleopatra to Catherine the Great, from boiled haggis to fried tarantulas—this is no less than the story of humanity. It’s the story of how we grew apart over all those years of migration and division, and how—as we recognize our common heritage and our often mixed ancestry—we can come together.

An index, maps, and notes make this a must-have reference, as well as a delight to read and to discuss. From Then to Now is bound to create a generation of history buffs!

Book:Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius

Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius

Sylvia Nasar

In a sweeping narrative, the author of the megabestseller A Beautiful Mind takes us on a journey through modern history with the men and women who changed the lives of every single person on the planet. It’s the epic story of the making of modern economics, and of how economics rescued mankind from squalor and deprivation by placing its material fate in its own hands rather than in Fate.

Nasar’s account begins with Charles Dickens and Henry Mayhew observing and publishing the condition of the poor majority in mid-nineteenth-century London, the richest and most glittering place in the world. This was a new pursuit. She describes the often heroic efforts of Marx, Engels, Alfred Marshall, Beatrice and Sydney Webb, and the American Irving Fisher to put those insights into action—with revolutionary consequences for the world. …[more]

Book:Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot

Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot

Sy Montgomery, Nic Bishop

On remote Codfish Island off the southern coast of New Zealand live the last ninety-one kakapo parrots on earth. These trusting, flightless, and beautiful birds—the largest and most unusual parrots on earth—have suffered devastating population loss.  Now, on an island refuge with the last of the species, New Zealand’s National Kakapo Recovery Team is working to restore the kakapo population. With the help of fourteen humans who share a single hut and a passion for saving these odd ground-dwelling birds, the kakapo are making a comeback in New Zealand.

Follow intrepid animal lovers Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop on a ten-day excursion to witness the exciting events in the life of the kakapo.

Book:Thinking Fast and Slow

Thinking Fast and Slow

Daniel Kahneman

Daniel Kahneman, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his seminal work in psychology that challenged the rational model of judgment and decision making, is one of our most important thinkers. His ideas have had a profound and widely regarded impact on many fields—including economics, medicine, and politics—but until now, he has never brought together his many years of research and thinking in one book.

In the highly anticipated Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence…[more]

Book:The Wavewatcher's Companion

The Wavewatcher's Companion

Gavin Pretor-Pinney

One bright February afternoon on a beach in Cornwall, Gavin Pretor-Pinney took a break from cloudspotting and started watching the waves rolling into shore. Mesmerised, he wondered where they had come from, and decided to find out. He soon realised that waves don’t just appear on the ocean, they are everywhere around us, and our lives depend on them.

From the rippling beats of our hearts, to the movement of food through our digestive tracts and of signals across our brains, waves are the transport systems of our bodies. Everything we see and hear reaches us via light and sound waves, and our information age is reliant on the microwaves and infrared waves used by the telephone and internet infrastructure. From shockwaves unleashed by explosions to torsional waves that cause suspension bridges to collapse, from sonar waves that allow submarines to ‘see’ with sound to Mexican waves that sweep through stadium crowds… there were waves, it seemed, wherever Gavin looked. But what,…[more]

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