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February 15, 2018 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Sci-Tech Books
The best science and technology books reviewed in Booklist over the past year offer exciting coverage of a wide array of subjects, ranging from the cosmic—a total eclipse, exoplanets, black holes—to the microbial universe within, a wolf’s life, the dark power of algorithms, and brain-computer interfaces.
American Eclipse: A Nation’s Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World. By David Baron. 2017. Norton/Liveright, $27.95 (9781631490163).
Baron vividly portrays three pioneers galvanized by the 1878 total solar eclipse over the American West: young inventor Thomas Alva Edison, astronomer James Craig Watson, and astronomy professor Maria Mitchell.
American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West. By Nate Blakeslee. 2017. Crown, $28 (9781101902783).
Blakeslee incisively tells the dramatic story of a great-granddaughter of one of the famed wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone in 1995 and the many battles over wolves that have raged ever since.
Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space. By Janna Levin. 2016. Knopf, $26.95 (9780307958198).
Physicist Levin explains the daring thinking of the theorists, each vividly profiled, who envisioned observational equipment capable of detecting the faint gravitational waves generated when black holes collide.
Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery. By Scott Kelly. 2017. Knopf, $29.95 (9781524731595).
Astronaut Kelly chronicles his life leading up to his year aboard the International Space Station, then brings readers right into that risky home-away-from-Earth.
Exoplanets: Diamond Worlds, Super Earth, Pulsar Planets, and the New Search for Life beyond Our Solar System. By Michael Summers and James Trefil. 2017. Smithsonian, $29.95 (9781588345943).
The discovery of planets outside Earth’s solar system has engendered all kinds of fascinating surprises, which astrophysicists Summers and Trefil clearly illuminate.
Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution. By Jonathan B. Losos. 2017. Riverhead, $28 (9780399184925).
Losos scrutinizes intriguing species in this wonderfully lucid and engaging foray into evolutionary theory and the frontiers of biological research.
Planet of Microbes: The Perils and Potential of Earth’s Essential Life Forms. By Ted Anton. 2017. Univ. of Chicago, $25 (9780226353944).
Anton masterfully reveals the teeming world of microbes and introduces scientists who study these minuscule but mighty creatures crucial to our bodies and our planet.
Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything. By Kelly Weinersmith and Zach Weinersmith. 2017. Penguin, $30 (9780399563829).
This wife-and-husband team present some mind-boggling emerging technologies (asteroid mining, augmented reality, brain-computer interfaces) in a compelling, accessible, and wryly funny survey.
The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World. By Jeff Goodell. 2017. Little, Brown, $28 (9780316260244).
Climate change has many, interconnected aspects, none more urgent than those affecting the oceans, as Goodell so effectively elucidates.
World without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech. By Franklin Foer. 2017. Penguin, $27 (9781101981115).
Foer analyzes the monopolistic behavior and intentions of Amazon, Facebook, and Google; the misdirected trend of favoring collaboration over individualism; and the growing dangers of algorithms.
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