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Find more Top 10 Sci-Tech Books
Physics is fun; snails have much to teach us; seemingly crazy ideas become our future; and scientists are not always who they seem to be, according to the entertaining and informative authors of this year’s best science and technology titles.
The Amazing Story of Quantum Mechanics: A Math-Free Exploration of the Science That Made Our World. By James Kakalios. 2010. Gotham, $26 (9781592404797).
Kakalios aligns the 1926 paradigm-shaping discoveries of physicists Schrödinger and Heisenberg with the publication that same year of the first science-fiction pulp magazine.
The First War of Physics: The Secret History of the Atom Bomb, 1939–1949. By Jim Baggott. 2010. Pegasus, $35 (9781605980843).
Baggott reveals the hidden stories of the scientist-soldiers Oppenheimer recruited for the Manhattan Project who coalesced into the most lethal fighting force in history, although not all were playing on the same side.
Galileo. By John Heilbron. Dec. 2010. Oxford, $34.95 (9780199583522).
Heilbron illuminates Galileo’s largely overlooked love for literature in this uniquely insightful portrait of the pioneering astronomer.
How to Cool the Planet: Geoengineering and the Audacious Quest to Fix Earth’s Climate. By Jeff Goodell. 2010. Houghton, $26 (9780618990610).
Goodell explicates the promise and threat of geoengineering, “the deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climate system, in order to moderate global warming,” in a provocative overview.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. By Rebecca Skloot. 2010. Crown, $26 (9781400052172).
With a novelist’s artistry, a biologist’s expertise, and an investigative reporter’s zeal, Skloot tells the plangent story of Henrietta Lacks, who, unbeknownst to her, provided science with the “first immortal human cells.”
Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception. By Charles Seife. 2010. Viking, $25.95 (9780670022168).
Why is it so easy for us to believe things that are patently ridiculous, such as the idea that vaccines cause autism? In this delightful exposé, Seife explains that it all comes down to the manipulation of numbers.
Quantum: Einstein, Bohr, and the Great Debate about the Nature of Reality. By Manjit Kumar. 2010. Norton, $27.95 (9780393078299).
Kumar illuminates a pivotal episode––Bohr’s triumph over Einstein in their debate over quantum physics––in an accessible and dramatic mix of biography, history, and science.
The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. By Elisabeth Tova Bailey. 2010. Algonquin, $19.95 (9781565126060).
As Bailey chronicles her recovery from a debilitating virus with the unlikely help of a snail living in a potted plant, readers will also become scientifically enlightened snail lovers.
Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization. By Steven Solomon. 2010. Harper, $27.99 (9780060548308).
Solomon’s encompassing, eye-opening, and galvanizing history of the science and politics of water calls for us to value and use the earth’s most precious resource more wisely.
The Wonderful Future That Never Was: Flying Cars, Mail Delivery by Parachute, and Other Predictions from the Past. By Gregory Benford and the editors of Popular Mechanics. 2010. Sterling/Hearst, $24.95 (9781588168221).
Astrophysicist and science-fiction author Benford teams up with the editors of Popular Mechanics to revel in past predictions that never came true.
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