Tag Archives: science books

Christmas present for nerds – what about science books?

Every family has members who enjoy reading non-fiction. And often they particularly enjoy science books. So there’s an idea for Christmas presents.

Fortunately, this weeks announcement of the Royal Society’s Winton Prize for Science Books presents some excellent choices for anyone considering such a Christmas Present.

The overall winner just announced is James Gleick’s The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood. Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell DBE FRS, Chair of the judges, said:

“The Information is an ambitious and insightful book that takes us, with verve and fizz, on a journey from African drums to computers, throwing in generous helpings of evidence and examples along the way. It is one of those very rare books that provide a completely new framework for understanding the world around us. It was a privilege to read.”

Here’s a video of an interview and short reading with the author James Gleick.

James Gleick Interview and Reading

Of course, any book on the short list will be good to. So I have listed those books below for your consideration. I have also put links to short interviews and readings for each author.

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer

The judges said:

Moonwalking with Einstein is a real page turner that tells a wonderful story – you are compelled to get to the end to find out what happens and the story bounces along with a jaunty air. Foer has a very down to earth style and in the true spirit of the scientist conducts his experiment with himself as the ‘test particle’.”

Joshua Foer Interview and Reading

My Beautiful Genome: Exposing Our Genetic Future, One Quirk at a Time by Lone Frank

A personal perspective on human genetics

The judges said:

“My Beautiful Genome puts a personal story at the heart of the science. To some extent we are all narcissists and we want to learn more about ourselves, Frank provides us with an insight into how our genes help to define us. She keeps you wanting to read more.”

Lone Frank Interview and Reading

The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene.

An examination of parallel universes and the laws of the cosmos The judges said:

“Multiverses and quantum measurement are not easy subjects but Greene sets about giving insight through metaphor in a very enjoyable way. The Hidden Reality is a beautiful manifesto for exploring the outer reaches of scientific enquiry. You will not understand everything but you will enjoy trying.”

Brian Greene Interview and Reading

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

An assessment of the decline of violence in history and its causes.

The judges said:

The Better Angels of our Nature pushes the boundaries of the science book in a refreshing way. Pinker takes an intriguing idea and attempts to scrutinise it in a scientific manner – it is a bold intellectual endeavour and at the same time a great read.”

Steven Pinker Interview and Reading

The Viral Storm: The Dawn of a New Pandemic Age by Nathan Wolfe

An exploration of the world of the virus.

The judges said:

The Viral Storm is a fascinating look at our relationship with viruses. It will terrify some readers and reassure others. Wolfe’s passion for exploring and explaining draw you into the world of the virus and may make you reassess our relationship with that world.”

Nathan Wolfe Interview and Reading

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