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February 15, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Sci-Tech Books
Mathematical puzzles, a startling new theory of the universe, why diets don’t work, what impact humankind is having on the ecosystem, and the secrets of redwoods and snakes inspired some of the best science and technology books of the past year.
Boas and Pythons of the World. By Mark O’Shea. 2007. Princeton, $29.95 (0-691-13100-7).
O’Shea presents a family album containing expert commentary and magnificent photographs of the largest snakes in the world, the pythons and boas, and the smallest, including worm snakes and thread snakes.
Einstein:His Life and Universe
. By Walter Isaacson. 2007. Simon & Schuster, $32 (0-7432-6473-8).
Isaacson’s biography of Einstein is uniquely penetrating in its elucidation of the physicist’s philosophical temperament and the painful paradoxes of his avidly monitored life.
Endless Universe: A New History of the Cosmos. By Paul J. Steinhardt and Neil Turok. 2007. Doubleday, $24.95 (0-385-50964-2).
Theoretical physicists Steinhardt and Turok explicate their revolutionary theory, dubbed ekpyrosis, about what existed before the big bang, what caused it, and what the future holds.
Poincaré’s Prize: The Hundred-Year Quest to Solve One of Math’s Greatest Puzzles. By George G. Szpiro. 2007. Dutton, $24.95 (9780525950240).
The French polymath Henri Poincaré (1854–1912) posed a famously tantalizing conjecture about how multidimensional bodies might all be transformed into spheres, a puzzle that was finally solved by a reclusive Russian genius who refused a million-dollar prize.
Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss––and the Myths and Realities of Dieting. By Gina Kolata. 2007. Farrar, $24 (9780374103989).
Science writer Kolata’s investigation into today’s war on obesity and multibillion-dollar diet industry led her to examine the science of weight gain and loss.
Terra: Our 100-Million-Year-Old Ecosystem—and the Threats that Now Put It at Risk. By Michael Novacek. 2007. Farrar, $27 (0-374-27325-1).
Novacek’s dramatic history of the intricate, perfectly calibrated ecosystem that coalesced 100 million years ago is matched with an up-to-date account of how humankind is altering life on earth.
Von Braun: Dreamer of Space, Engineer of War. By Michael J. Neufeld. 2007. Knopf, $35 (0-307-26292-8).
In the most comprehensively researched and judicious biography of von Braun yet published, Neufeld argues that von Braun’s great strengths were his abilities to spot talent, motivate, and persuade.
Why Beauty Is Truth: A History of Symmetry. By Ian Stewart. 2007. Basic, $26.95 (9780465082360).
Mathematician Stewart guides readers through the knotty history of symmetry and presents with radiant clarity the principles of the concept and its new calculus.
The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring. By Richard Preston. 2007. Random, $25.95 (9781400064892).
Preston lifts readers to the teeming crowns of the world’s tallest trees, vividly chronicling the adventures of high-climbing redwood experts and ardently explaining the ecological significance of these magnificent life-sustaining giants.
The World without Us. By Alan Weisman. 2007. St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne, $24.95 (0-312-34729-4).
Humankind has become a force of nature, so what would happen if our species suddenly vanished off the face of the earth? Weisman’s scientifically vetted speculative scenario is galvanizing.
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