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May 15, 2017 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Science
This year’s list of the most notable science books reviewed in Booklist between December 1, 2015, and November 15, 2016, leans heavily toward the interesting personalities found across scientific fields.
Einstein’s Masterwork: 1915 and the General Theory of Relativity. By John Gribbin. 2016. Pegasus, $27.99 (9781681772127).
Though less widely appreciated than his special theory of relativity, Einstein’s general theory has given scientists a vastly wider and more profound perspective than its predecessor, justifying Einstein’s judgment that it was “the most valuable theory of [my] life.”
The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars. By Dava Sobel. 2016. Viking, $30 (9780670016952).
Diving deep into the field of astronomy, Sobel shares the stories of the educated, talented, and determined women who sought careers studying the stars in the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries.
Lab Girl. By Hope Jahren. 2016. Knopf, $26.95 (9781101874943).
Award-winning geochemist and geobiologist Jahren presents an exceptionally compelling and enlightening memoir, gracefully meshing her struggles as a woman scientist with the marvels of plants.
Marconi: The Man Who Networked the World. By Marc Raboy. 2016. Oxford, $39.95 (9780199313587).
Raboy’s comprehensive portrait of a complicated man rates as the scholarly definitive biography. Its sensitivity to Marconi’s intelligence, self-centeredness, and naïveté will strongly appeal to general readers.
The Most Perfect Thing: Inside (and Outside) a Bird’s Egg. By Tim Birkhead. 2016. Bloomsbury, $27 (9781632863690).
This fascinating study of the bird egg takes a look at the history of egg collecting and the science behind egg colors, among other quirky delights.
Pandemic: Tracking Contagions, from Cholera to Ebola and Beyond. By Sonia Shah. 2016. Farrar/Sarah Crichton, $26 (9780374122881).
Science journalist Shah calls on global leaders, public and corporate, to pay attention to an impending public-health emergency—the rise of new global infectious diseases.
Physics: A Short History from Quintessence to Quarks. By J. L. Heilbron. 2015. Oxford, $11.95 (9780198746850).
Heilbron traces the history of physics as it morphs from intellectual art to potent scientific tool.
The Pope of Physics: Enrico Fermi and the Birth of the Atomic Age. By Gino Segrè and Hoerlin Bettina. 2016. Holt, $30 (9781627790055).
By exploring Fermi’s personal life, the authors give readers glimpses into some of Fermi’s nonscientific attributes in addition to portraying his role in the development of nuclear weapons.
Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars. By Nathalia Holt. 2016. Little, Brown, $27 (9780316338929).
The story of women at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory gives readers an inside look at how JPL itself was formed and how its revolutionary projects (Voyager, Mars rovers) were developed.
Time Travel. By James Gleick. 2016. Pantheon, $27.95 (9780307908797).
Gleick persuasively explores the nature of time travel, turning to writers of speculative fiction, philosophers, poets, and scientists—from H. G. Wells and his time machine to Schrödinger, Doctor Who, and Twitter.
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