Today, we’ve decided to compile a list of books for science lovers and knowledge geeks. If you’re into space exploration, are fascinated by the world of plants, are eager for amazing discoveries, or want to know more about the secrets of medicine and psychology, tune in for our top picks this week.
A good science book isn’t just about a few interesting facts. Instead, it’ll give you a different outlook on the world. Here’re two of the best known science books that we’re positive you’ll just love!
By Randall Munroe
“If your cells suddenly lost the power to divide, how long would you survive?”
“What if everyone only had one soulmate?”
“What would happen if the moon went away?”
These are not the only questions you can get answers to after reading What If. Randall Munroe used to work for NASA, but in 2005, he launched XKCD “a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language,” which became immensely popular. The earlier questions are examples of what his readers sent to him, and they served as a foundation for his book, where he tries to explain the world of science and geeks in simple words but through different means (e.g., by running computer simulations, solving differential equations, and doing field work and asking nuclear reactor operators for explanations). You’ll be amazed at how Randall Munroe explains scientific phenomena—clearly and with humor (you won’t miss the cartoons and infographics in the books— they deserve special attention). It’s not your average book for geeks; rather, it’s a sincere attempt to explain the laws of science in a way to make them, well, understandable without being boring.
The God Equation
By Michio Kaku
Another set of questions (and answers) awaits you in The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything:
“What happened before the Big Bang?”
“What lies on the other side of a black hole?”
“Are there other universes and dimensions?”Is time travel possible?”
“Why are we here?”
And so on and so forth—in his “epic story of the greatest quest in all of science,” Michio Kaku, a renowned theoretical physicist, futurist, and popularizer of science, tries to explain the laws of the universe with his trademark enthusiasm and clarity. We are positive that you’ll like his quest for a theory that pulls together nature’s fundamental forces, including gravity. The book is based on past and recent investigations and discoveries, so remember that it’s not everything he’s writing about is a proven fact. Yet, it’s a fascinating read.
Moving from physics to anthropology, we’d like to offer a book that won’t make you yawn, as it’s easy to understand and real fun to read.
A Short History of Nearly Everything
By Bill Bryson
A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson’s quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization. The main question he tries to deliberate in his book is, “How we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us?” Why did we decide to recommend this very book among other anthropology books? For one thing, it’s a huge bite that Bill Bryson is trying to make—by trying to understand and answer the oldest and most tricky questions about the world. For another, he takes us on a journey, where he, provoked by his own ignorance, tries to approach the earlier question by studying the works of and communicating with renowned archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians—and doesn’t make it sound boring. What we can promise about this book is that you’ll get loads of good explanations and won’t stop laughing—after all, Bryson’s subtle sense of humor is omnipresent.
Let’s move on to medicine, and this time, we’ll take an utterly unusual route.
By Mary Roach
Have you ever wondered if cadavers can benefit the living? Well, Mary Roach did in her book Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. One of the most unexpectedly fascinating recent reads, the books will shed an avalanche of facts on you, so get ready. From the value of cadavers in plastic-surgery seminars and car-crash testing to investigations into airline disasters and organ transplantation, Roach initiates in-depth research of the topic and invites you to come with her to the labs of morticians, scientists, engineers, and others whose work involves corpses. We guarantee you won’t be able to stop until you turn the last page. Important note: the book contains sensitive content and eleven illustrations, so if you’re not sure you’re ready for such things, we warned you.
Got impressed by the cadaver’s impact on human life? Let’s move on as far as it’s possible from them—to the cosmos.
By Carl Sagan
Cosmos—that’s exactly the name of the book we’d like to recommend to astronomy lovers and those who’re dreaming about getting a stare named after them or probably about breeding a small colony on Pluto.The book follows thirteen illustrated chapters to match the television series that aired on TV and hosted by astronomer Carl Sagan in the 1980s. Both those who have and haven’t watched the series are welcome to join Sagan in his romance, drama, adventure, and discovery of the cosmos. Be prepared to learn all about the hostility of Venus, the first multicellular creatures, spacecraft missions, the death of the Sun, and potential supergalactic explorers’ arrival—all sorts of things. You won’t regret you started reading Cosmos; it’s a promise.
Now, let’s get back closer to home and investigate what’s next to us.
By Robin Wall Kimmerer
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plantswill push you to realize that we need to become better citizens of Earth and that we need to acknowledge and celebrate our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. As a scientist and a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Robin Wall Kimmerer tries to show us that we can learn valuable lessons if we remember to listen to the voices of other living beings―from salamanders to sweetgrass. We do recommend this ingenious read with the teachings from plants.
Back to humans, again, with psychology and social science insights. Let’s take a look at the following two books.
This Is Your Brain on Music
By Daniel J. Levitin
Never had an ear for music? Classical music makes you fall asleep? Don’t turn the following book down right away. In This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession, Daniel J. Levitin makes the science of music understandable to everyone, be it a non-scientist or a non-musician. After all, he’s not a neuroscientist and a former record producer for nothing: he combines the explanations of rhythm, meter, tempo, loudness, and harmony with the basics of how the human brain works, backs the information with the findings of recent studies, and argues for music’s primacy in human history. He tries to explain how our brain reacts to music with examples from jazz to folk songs. So probably, the next time you open your favorite Spotify playlist, you’ll listen to it differently.
Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters
By Steven Pinker
Are rationality and logic the same things? What’s the difference between propensity and probability? Why are we so prone to confirmation bias? And why there can’t be a decent argument without rationality? Steven Pinker raises these and other questions and tries to find answers in his Rationality: What It Is, Why It Seems Scarce, Why It Matters. He accompanies his rationality-related thoughts with fascinating examples like “some people believe in houses haunted by ghosts without believing in ghosts.” If you’ve been wondering why there is so much irrationality in the world and want to understand how to become more rational, this book is for you.