The Science-Book Challenge is easy: read three science books this year and then tell us about them and share your report with others.
Reading about science is fun and rewarding. We encourage others to read about science, and help readers find books that they might enjoy, by publishing our Book Notes, which are written by Ars Hermeneutica employees, volunteers, and friends. We're looking for science-book readers who will help us help other science-book readers by sharing their own science-book reading experiences.
The 2008 Science-Book Challenge
- Read at least three nonfiction books in 2008 related to the theme "Living a Rational Life", broadly construed. Each book should have something to do with science, how science operates, or science's relationship with its surrounding culture. The books might be popularizations of science, they might be history, they might be biography, they might be anthologies; they can be recent titles or older books.
- After you've read a book, write a short note about it; 500 words would suffice. What goes in the note? The things you would tell a friend if you wanted to convince said friend to read it, too. Naturally, you can read some of the existing Book Notes for ideas.
- Don't worry if you find that you've read a book someone else has also read; we welcome multiple notes on one title.
- Get your book note to us and we'll post it with the other notes in our Book Note section. Use the book-note form or the comment form to get in touch with us.
- Tell two other people about the Science-Book Challenge: http://ArsHermeneutica.org/besieged/Science-Book_Challenge_2008.
Stuck for ideas about what books to read? Write to us and we'll see if we can't come up with some books that would match your interests.
If you'd like to sign up and make your participation in the Science-Book Challenge public, leave a comment at the Bearcastle Blog page where we originally announced the Challenge. Use your own blog to spread the word and use our Science-Book Challenge 2008 graphic to make it pretty.
The Science-Book Challengers
Everyone should feel free to accept the challenge any time during 2008. Decide on your book list at the beginning or be more spontaneous and choose titles as you go. If you like, let us know that you're taking the challenge and we'll put your name here with other challengers. You can use the handy comment form.
Here are the people we are aware of who have accepted the Science-Book Challenge 2008.
|| Titles & Links to Book Notes
|| The Indextrious Reader
|| George Johnson, Miss Leavitt’s Stars : The Untold Story of the Woman who Discovered How to Measure the Universe|
Gino Segrè, Faust in Copenhagen : A Struggle for the Soul of Physics
David Bodanis, E=mc2 : A Biography of the World’s Most Famous Equation
|| A Striped Armchair
|| Neil deGrasse Tyson, Death by Black Hole : And Other Cosmic Quandaries|
Matt Ridley, The Red Queen : Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature
Natalie Angier, The Canon : A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science
Clea Koff, The Bone Woman : a Forensic Anthropologist’s Search for Truth in the Mass Graves of Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo
Susan Orlean, The Orchid Thief
David Bainbridge, The X in Sex : How the X Chromosome Controls our Lives
Gabrielle Walker, Snowball Earth : The Story of the Great Global Catastrophe that Spawned Life as we Know it
Alan Walker and Pat Shipman, The Wisdom of the Bones : In Search of Human Origins
Jan DeBlieu, Wind : How the Flow of Air has Shaped Life, Myth, and the Land
Carl Safina, Song for the Blue Ocean : Encounters along the World’s Coasts and beneath the Seas
|| A Novel Challenge
| Gautami Tripathy
|| Reading and More Reading
|| SMS Book Reviews
|| Keith Devlin and Gary Lorden, The Numbers Behind NUMB3RS : Solving Crime with Mathematics|
Peter Christie, The Curse of Akkad: Climate Upheavals that Rocked Human History
Richard Wiseman, Quirkology : How We Discover the Big Truths in Small Things
Patrick Buckley and Lily Binns, The Hungry Scientist Handbook : Electric Birthday Cakes, Edible Undies, and Other DIY Projects for Techies, Tinkerers, and Foodies
|| Cynical Optimism
|| Michael Pollan, The Botany of Desire : A Plant’s Eye View of the World|
Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food : An Eater's Manifesto
|| an adventure in reading
|| Jim Lebans, The Quirks & Quarks Guide to Space : 42 Questions (and Answers) about Life, the Universe, and Everything|
Dava Sobel, The Planets
Lee Smolin, The Trouble with Physics : The Rise of String Theory, the Fall of a Science, and What Comes Next
| Emily Barton
|| Telecommuter Talk
|| James D. Watson, The Double Helix : A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA
|| Maggie Reads
|| Bill Hayes, The Anatomist : A True Story of Gray’s Anatomy|
Natalie Angier, The Canon : A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science
|| libri ortus
|| proposes 3 books in 3 subjects!|
first subject is "cosmology & theoretical physics":
Stephen Hawking, "The Universe in a Nutshell"
Bruce Bassett, "Introducing Relativity"
JP McEvoy, "Introducing Quantum Theory"
second subject is "ecology & environment":
Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth
Scott Huler, Defining the Wind
Charles Elkton, Ecology of Invasions by Animals and Plants
third subject is "evolution & anthropology":
Daniel Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Idea
Johnjoe McFadden, Quantum Evolution
GJ Sawyer, The Last Human
| Judy Dague
|| Intergalactic Bookworm
|| Jackson and Jamieson, unSpun : Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation|
Howard Bloom, Out There : The Government's Secret Quest for Extraterrestrials
Astronaut Mike Mullane, Riding Rockets : The Outrageous Tales of a Space Shuttle Astronaut
David L. Boslaugh, When Computers Went to Sea : The Digitization of the United States Navy
|| Linda Simon, Dark Light : Electricity and Anxiety from the Telegraph to the X-Ray|
Dr. Nick Trout, Tell Me Where It Hurts : A Day of Humor, Healing and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon
Peter S. Wells, Barbarians to Angels : The Dark Ages Reconsidered
|| Bearcastle Blog
|| Chet Raymo, Walking Zero : Discovering Cosmic Space and Time Along the Prime Meridian
Jared Diamond, The Third Chimpanzee : The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal
Edward O. Wilson, The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth
Andrew Robinson, The Story of Measurement
John H. Lienhard, Inventing Modern : Growing up with X-Rays, Skyscrapers, and Tailfins
Scott Huler : Defining the Wind
P.W. Atkins : The Periodic Kingdom : A Journey into the Land of the Chemical Elements
Colin Tudge, The Time Before History : 5 Million Years of Human Impact
Peter Watson, Ideas : A History of Thought and Invention, from Fire to Freud
Erik Larson, Isaac's Storm : A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History
Simon Winchester, The Map that Changed the World : William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology
Richard Dawkins, Climbing Mount Improbable
Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, American Prometheus : The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer
Wallace Arthur, Creatures of Accident : The Rise of the Animal Kingdom
Janet Lembke, Despicable Species : On Cowbirds, Kudzu, Hornworms, and Other Scourges
Lewis Thomas, The Lives of a Cell : Notes of a Biology Watcher
James Schwartz, In Pursuit of the Gene : From Darwin to DNA
Simon LeVay, When Science Goes Wrong : Twelve Tales from the Dark Side of Discovery
Sarah Flannery, with David Flannery, In Code : A Mathematical Journey
Amir D Aczel, The Mystery of the Aleph : Mathematics, the Kabbalah, and the Search for Infinity
Mario Livio, The Golden Ratio : The Story of Phi, The World's Most Astonishing Number
Richard B. Alley, The Two-Mile Time Machine : Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future
George Johnson, The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments
Mort Rosenblum, Chocolate : A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light
Richard Rhodes, Arsenals of Folly : The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race
John S. Rigden, Hydrogen : The Essential Element
Eric Roston, The Carbon Age : How Life's Core Element has Become Civilization's Greatest Threat
Mark Kurlansky, The Big Oyster : History on the Half Shell
Darrell Huff, How to Lie with Statistics
Bunny Crumpacker, Perfect Figures : The Lore of Numbers and How we Learned to Count