Science

The following are only a few of what is out there in sciences. I have split them into the ‘hard’ sciences (such as physics, astronomy) and the biology/human element of science.

Most of these books come with an index, a bibliography/further reading list and notes which vary from further explanations and/or details.

The universe within : from quantum to cosmos.   Neil Turok.

The Universe Within

This is a popular science style of book. I have included it in this list to create an awareness that in nonfiction, sometimes books are initially a series of lectures, in this instance, the Massey lecture series. Massey lectures, like TedEx talks, can be in diverse science topics.  It was also broadcast on BBC radio. The author is a theoretical physicist bringing together his knowledge and his personal experiences to explain and tie in concepts across history.  The use of lecture series is not an uncommon occurrence in the sciences. The Massey series is one of the more well known ones and readers may ask about a lecture series. Library catalogues will (usually) make a note of the lecture series.

 

From eternity to here : the quest for the ultimate theory of time. Sean Carroll.

Sean Carroll’s books are, given the subject matter, written for an accessible understanding of the topic. There are appendices at the back of the book that provide more specific mathematical physics formula for those with the curiosity or the understanding to delve deeper into understanding.

From Eternity to Here“Time moves forward, not backward-everyone knows you can’t unscramble an egg. In the hands of one of today’s hottest young physicists, that simple fact of breakfast becomes a doorway to understanding the Big Bang, the universe, and other universes, too. In From Eternity to Here, Sean Carroll argues that the arrow of time, pointing resolutely from the past to the future, owes its existence to conditions before the Big Bang itself-a period modern cosmology of which Einstein never dreamed. Increasingly, though, physicists are going out into realms that make the theory of relativity seem like child’s play. Carroll’s scenario is not only elegant, it’s laid out in the same easy-to-understand language that has made his group blog, Cosmic Variance, the most popular physics blog on the Net. From Eternity to Here uses ideas at the cutting edge of theoretical physics to explore how properties of spacetime before the Big Bang can explain the flow of time we experience in our everyday lives. Carroll suggests that we live in a baby universe, part of a large family of universes in which many of our siblings experience an arrow of time running in the opposite direction. It’s an ambitious, fascinating picture of the universe on an ultra-large scale, one that will captivate fans of popular physics blockbusters like Elegant Universe and A Brief History of Time.” (https://www.bookbrowse.com/bb_briefs/detail/index.cfm/ezine_preview_number/4543/from-eternity-to-here#tab-1)

 

The Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads Us to the Edge of a New World. Sean Carroll. 

This popular science book focuses on particle physics, in particular the construction of the Large Hadron Collider and the experiments that led to the discovery of the Higgs Boson particle. There are appendices with further depth of theory and concepts for the reader to understand more deeply. As well, this is a the explanation of the physics, this is also a narrative about the people behind the pursuit of the project.

15744013

“The Higgs boson. Key to understanding why mass exists and how atoms are possible, this elusive particle has finally been found after $9 billion, decades of effort, and the work of over six thousand researchers at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. In 2012, the history of a quest that began with the atomists of ancient Greece over 2,500 years ago reached a dramatic and historic turning point.  Caltech physicist and acclaimed writer Sean Carroll takes readers behind the scenes of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, to meet the theorists, engineers, and experimentalists, illuminate this landmark event, and explain the science of the Higgs boson, infamously known as “the God Particle.”  What is so special about the Higgs boson? As Sean Carroll eloquently explains, without it we wouldn’t understand how elementary particles could have mass at all. With it, we have found the final piece of the puzzle of ordinary matter: the atoms and forces underlying everything from DNA to global warming. Now a doorway is opening into the extraordinary: the mind-boggling world of dark matter and beyond. The Higgs discovery represents a triumph of the human passion for discovery, and the dawn of a new era in our exploration of the cosmos.  The Particle at the End of the Universe not only explains the importance of the Higgs boson but also the Large Hadron Collider — the largest machine ever built. Such a project could not have happened without a certain amount of conniving, dealing, and occasional skullduggery — and Sean Carroll explores it all. This is an irresistible story of how the human thirst for understanding led to the greatest scientific achievement of our time.” (http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/particle/)

 

The hidden reality : parallel universes and the deep laws of the cosmos. Brian Greene. 

Greene is one of the key authors recommended by both Wyatt and Statz Card. Like Carroll, there are appendices that go deeper and use the more technical formula for those interested/capable of delving that much deeper.  The author offers advice in the preface that there are brief summaries at start of each chapter and they can jump to the next without getting too lost as well as his use of metaphor and analogy to assist explanations. Even with this, it is a dense read.

[Cover]

“In recent years, a growing body of work – based on the principles of quantum mechanics, cosmology, and string theory – has been steadily converging around a proposal that our universe is actually only one of many universes. In fact, research supports a number of different models of parallel universes in which our world appears: for instance, as one of many “bubbles” in a rapidly growing bath of universes, or as one of numerous cosmic slabs separated from one another through additional spatial dimensions. Brian Greene, with his trademark impartiality, “multiverse,” taking us on a journey grounded firmly in science, and limited only by our imaginations.” (https://www.bookbrowse.com/bb_briefs/detail/index.cfm/ezine_preview_number/5737/the-hidden-reality)

 

 

A more perfect heaven : how Nicolaus Copernicus revolutionized the cosmos. Dava Sobel.

Sobel is an acclaimed author who has titles that are must reads in multiple lists. The language used is elegant, is a factual narrative that expands the concept of narrative by the fact, part two of the book is a playscript written by Sobel to create a dramatization of the meeting between Copernicus and Rheticus. It includes as many science titles do, notes for chapters, chronology of events, maps and images of places, further reading/bibliography and an index. At 236 pages, it is also, relatively speaking short. 

[Cover]

“By 1514, the reclusive cleric Nicolaus Copernicus had written and hand-copied an initial outline of his heliocentric theory – in which he defied common sense and received wisdom to place the sun, not the earth, at the center of our universe, and set the earth spinning among the other planets. Over the next two decades, Copernicus expanded his theory through hundreds of observations, while compiling in secret a book-length manuscript that tantalized mathematicians and scientists throughout Europe. For fear of ridicule, he refused to publish.  In 1539, a young German mathematician, Georg Joachim Rheticus, drawn by rumors of a revolution to rival the religious upheaval of Martin Luther’s Reformation, traveled to Poland to seek out Copernicus. Two years later, the Protestant youth took leave of his aging Catholic mentor and arranged to have Copernicus’s manuscript published, in 1543, as De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres) – the book that forever changed humankind’s place in the universe.”(https://www.bookbrowse.com/bb_briefs/detail/index.cfm/ezine_preview_number/6605/a-more-perfect-heaven)

 

Packing for Mars : the curious science of life in space. Mary Roach.

The style of the author is quirky with a humourous twist. This title looks at everything from the ridiculous to the sublime as well as the human element that is involved in sending humans into space and surviving the experience. The author actually went to the places astronauts trained and experienced training for herself. This is popular science with humour and contains a bibliography to read further.

[Cover]

“Space is a world devoid of the things we need to live and thrive: air, gravity, hot showers, fresh produce, privacy, beer. Space exploration is in some ways an exploration of what it means to be human. How much can a person give up? How much weirdness can they take? What happens to you when you can’t walk for a year? have sex? smell flowers? What happens if you vomit in your helmet during a space walk? Is it possible for the human body to survive a bailout at 17,000 miles per hour? To answer these questions, space agencies set up all manner of quizzical and startlingly bizarre space simulations. As Mary Roach discovers, it’s possible to preview space without ever leaving Earth. From the space shuttle training toilet to a crash test of NASA’s new space capsule (cadaver filling in for astronaut), Roach takes us on a surreally entertaining trip into the science of life in space and space on Earth.” (https://www.bookbrowse.com/bb_briefs/detail/index.cfm/ezine_preview_number/5345/packing-for-mars)

 

Zombie tits, astronaut fish and other weird animals. Becky Crew.

An example of a humourous, facutal style science title. A collection of unusual animals with unforunate names and/or habits. The solid science facts are interspersed an anthropomorphic element via stories from the point of view of the animals involved.  Easy to read and dip in and out of. 

“Did you know that the peacock mantis shrimp has the most powerful punch on Earth? That vampire spiders are attracted to your smelly socks? That the lesser water boatman is the loudest animal in the world and its instrument is its own penis? Or that concave-eared frogs have a secret language that only males can hear? From the mother-eating black-lace weaver spiders to Texas horned lizards that can shoot jets of poisonous blood from their eyes, this book from fearless science blogger Becky Crew will introduce you to a menagerie of the world’s weirdest animals.”(https://www.newsouthbooks.com.au/books/zombie-tits-astronaut-fish-and-other-weird-animals/)

 

 

Dry Storeroom No. 1 : The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum. Richard Fortey. 

Dry Store Room No. 1 Paperback by Richard Fortey

This is a fascinating read, however it is dense, in language and in style. Fortey is a former employee of the museum and brings his own experiences of working there mixed with the science that lays behind closed doors. He uses anecdotes of experiences with co-workers in tales such as how the museum uncovered the Piltdown Man fraud. To help break the reading, there are colour images collated in the centre of the book for reference. 

An extensive review of this title can be found at BookPage here

 

 

 

 

 

Flying dinosaurs : how fearsome reptiles became birds. John Pickrell.

Flying Dinosaurs

Authored by a science journalist, this book is very light in style of writing as it investigates the developments that have seen the discoveries that birds are the descendants of dinosaurs. There are some illustrations of artist impressions of the various dinosaurs as well as photos of fossils. As is usual, book also includes, index, glossary, bibliography and chapter notes, as well as an A-Z dictionary of species. 

 

 

 

Gulp : Adventures on the Alimentary Canal. Mary Roach.

Gulp

A popular science author with many titles. A humourous approach is taken to the topic, in this instance the explanation and understanding of the human alimentary (gut) canal. It is vivid and a very easy to read style of narrative. The following Book Page link provides both a short review (with link to longer review) and an entertaining book trailer. 

http://bookpage.com/the-book-case/13093-trailer-tuesday-gulp-by-mary-roach#.V_l69eB96Uk