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Find more Top 10 Sci-Tech Books
These exemplary works of popular science explore everything from the cosmos to animal culture, offering readers new, intriguing, and empowering ways of perceiving the world around us and within us.
Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace. By Carl Safina. 2020. Holt, $30 (9781250173331).
All animal life exhibits culture, Safina explains in this work of awe and science that takes readers deep into the lives of whales, scarlet macaws, and chimpanzees.
The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think. By Jennifer Ackerman. 2020. Penguin, $28 (9780735223011).
Ackerman considers studies of bird behaviors that are revealing not only intelligence but also abilities that we once thought were uniquely human.
Cat Tale: The Wild, Weird Battle to Save the Florida Panther. By Craig Pittman. 2020. Hanover Square, $27.99 (9781335938800).
In this blend of scientific writing and good old-fashioned muckraking, Pittman tells the dramatic tale of what it took to save the Florida panther from extinction.
Fathoms: The World in the Whale. By Rebecca Giggs. 2020. Simon & Schuster, $27 (9781982120696); e-book, $12.99 (9781982120719).
Giggs takes a delving and lyrical approach to the natural history and current plight of whales, especially the damage done by marine pollution, inspiring wonder and concern.
A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America’s Hurricanes. By Eric Jay Dolin. 2020. Norton/Liveright, $29.95 (9781631495274).
Dolin tracks meteorological advances and how hurricanes have affected American life over the centuries, with an eye to global warming and even more destructive storms in the future.
The Human Cosmos: Civilization and the Stars. By Jo Marchant. 2020. Dutton, $28 (9780593183014).
Marchant’s unique and mind-expanding inquiry reveals the phenomenal influence the stars have had on humanity before the grandeur of the night sky was blocked by artificial light.
If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future. By Jill Lepore. 2020. Norton/Liveright, $28.95 (9781631496103).
Lepore tracks the rise and fall of an early player in the “predictive analytics” industry in a tale of hubris and junk social science, leading to a critique of the folly of trying to understand human behavior via algorithm.
Scientists Who Changed History. Ed. by Victoria Heyworth-Dunne and others. 2019. $25 (9781465482488).
This vivid reference work profiles over 80 scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and inventors—women and men from Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas—whose work changed the world from approximately 650 BCE through to the present.
The Smallest Lights in the Universe. By Sara Seager. 2020. Crown, $28 (9780525576259).
Seager recounts her life as a solitary child, ultra-focused university student, grief-stricken young widow, MIT astrophysicist specializing in exoplanet exploration, and MacArthur fellow who, in her forties, was diagnosed with autism.
x + y: A Mathematician’s Manifesto for Rethinking Gender. By Eugenia Cheng. 2020. Basic, $28 (9781541646506).
Cheng, of How to Bake Pi (2015) renown, again uses the logic of math to address social and emotional issues, this time taking on gender inequality and its roots in patriarchal social structures, falsified research, biased interpretation of data, and systemic discrimination.
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