Science-Book Challenge 2009

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The image is a portion of the fractal Mandelbrot set, created by Kevin Wong (source); Creative Commons License, used with permission. Please use this image in your own blog to publicize the 2009 Science-Book Challenge.
Read a book for science literacy!
The 2010 Challenge is now open;
please join us there.

The Science-Book Challenge is easy: read three science books in 2009, then tell others about the books you've read and help spread science literacy.

Reading about science--by which we mean to include engineering, mathematics, and technology, too--is fun and rewarding. We encourage others to read about science, and help potential readers find books that they will enjoy and profit from reading, by publishing our Book Notes, which are written by Ars Hermeneutica employees, volunteers, friends, and science-book challengers.

We're looking for science-book readers to help us help would-be science-book readers by sharing their own opinions about the science books they've read.

The 2009 Science-Book Challenge

  1. Read at least three nonfiction books in 2009 related somehow to the theme "Nature's Wonders". Your books should have something to do with science, scientists, how science operates, or science's relationship with its surrounding culture. Your books might be popularizations of science, they might be histories, they might be biographies, they might be anthologies; they can be recent titles or older books. We take a very broad view of what makes for interesting and informative science reading.
  2. After you've read a book, write a short note about it, giving your opinion of the book. What goes in the note? The things you would tell a friend if you wanted to convince your friend to read it--or avoid it. Naturally, you can read some of the existing Book Notes for ideas. You might like to read our Book-note ratings for ideas about how to evaluate your books.
  3. Don't worry if you find that you've read a book someone else has also read; we welcome multiple notes on one title.
  4. 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.
  5. Tell other people about the Science-Book Challenge:

Stuck for ideas about what books to read? Write to us and we'll help you identify some books that will match your interests.

If you'd like to sign up and make your participation in the Science-Book Challenge public, send us your name and a link to your blog, if you have one, using our comment form.

Please help us tell others, too! Use your own blog to spread the word; use our Science-Book Challenge 2009 graphic to make it pretty.

Happy reading!

The Science-Book Challengers

Everyone should feel free to accept the challenge any time before the end of 2009. Decide on your book list at the beginning or be more spontaneous and choose titles as you go. Let us know that you're taking the challenge and we'll put your name here with other challengers, along with updates about your notes as you contribute them. You can use the handy comment form to reach us. You might find it interesting to look at last year's list of challengers in the Science-Book Challenge 2008.

Here are the people we are aware of who have accepted the Science-Book Challenge 2009.

Challenger Link Titles & Links to Book Notes
Melwyk ( MK ) The Indextrious Reader Gary Paul Nabhan, Where Our Food Comes From : Retracing Nikolay Vavilov’s Quest to End Famine
Richard Reeves, A Force of Nature : The Frontier Genius of Ernest Rutherford
Kitty Burns Florey, Script and Scribble : The Rise and Fall of Handwriting
Maryanne Wolf, Proust and the Squid : The Story and Science of the Reading Brain
Jenny S. n/a spontaneous
Callista SMS Book Reviews spontaneous
Lynda ( LBB ) Lynda's Book Blog Gabrielle Walker and David King, The Hot Topic : How to Tackle Global Warming and Still Keep the Lights On
New Scientist [magazine], Does Anything Eat Wasps? : And 101 Other Unsettling, Witty Answers to Questions you Never Thought you Wanted to Ask
New Scientist [magazine], Mick O’Hare, editor, Do Polar Bears Get Lonely? : And Answers to 100 Other Weird and Wacky Questions about how the World Works
Violette Severin ( VS ) The Mystery Bookshelf Robert Zimmerman, The Universe in a Mirror : The Saga of the Hubble Telescope and the Visionaries who Built It
Jeff Kanipe, The Cosmic Connection : How Astronomical Events Impact Life on Earth
Neil deGrasse Tyson, The Pluto Files : The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet
Dan Koeppel, Banana : The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World
Lisa Clayton n/a spontaneous
Lindy n/a spontaneous
Jody The Year of Readers spontaneous
Eva ( EVA ) A Striped Armchair Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson, Napoleon's Buttons : How 17 Molecules Changed History
Jonah Lehrer, Proust Was a Neuroscientist
Oliver Sacks, Oaxaca Journal
Deborah Blum, Ghost Hunters : William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life after Death
Olivia Judson, Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation
Ross King, Brunelleschi’s Dome : How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture
V.S. Ramachandran, and Sandra Blakeslee, Phantoms in the Brain : Probing the Mysteries of the Human Mind
Oliver W. Sacks, Uncle Tungsten : Memories of a Chemical Boyhood
David Suzuki and Wayne Grady, art by Robert Bateman, Tree : A Life Story
Bill McKibben, Deep Economy : The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
Atul Gawande, Complications : Notes from the Life of a Young Surgeon
Brandi The Reading Challenges Blog spontaneous
Melanie ( MKI ) Cynical Optimism Michio Kaku, Physics of the Impossible : A Scientific Exploration into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel
Philip Plait, Death from the Skies! : These are the Ways the World Will End--
Neil Shubin, Your Inner Fish : A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body
Care ( CBC ) Care’s Online Book Club Susan Orlean, The Orchid Thief
Kristi H. ( KNH ) Books and Needlepoint Kay Chornook and Wolf Guindon, Walking with Wolf : Reflections on a Life Spent Protecting the Costa Rican Wilderness
Pussreboots Puss Reboots Dr. Joe and What You Didn't Know by Dr. Joe Schwarcz
Hawaiian Insects and their Kin, by F. G. Howarth and W. P. Mull
Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded, by Simon Winchester
Mars, the Red Planet, by Isaac Asimov
Roadside Geology of Hawaii, by Richard W. Hazlett and Donald W. Hyndman
The Blind Watchmaker, by Richard Dawkins
The Borderlands of Science: Where Sense Meets Nonsense, by Michael Shermerer
The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin
Joanna It's all about me The Story of God, by Robert Winston
The Force, by Lynne McTaggart
God and the New Physics, by Paul Davies
Elephants on Acid and Other Bizarre Experiments, by Alex Boese
Your Inner Fish: The Amazing Discovery of Our 375-Million-Year-Old Ancestor, by Neil Shubin
What the Bleep do we Know?, by William Arntz and Betsy Chasse
The Quirks & Quarks Guide to Space : 42 Questions (and Answers) about Life, the Universe, and Everything, by Jim Lebans
Debi ( DAS ) Reading Challenge Obsessed... Mark Schultz, The Stuff of Life : A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA
(Visit her blog for an extensive list of possible titles!)
Jessi Casual Dread Tentative list:
Misquoting Jesus, by Bart D. Ehrman
The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan
The Edge of the Sea, by Rachel Carson
Rebecca Rebecca Reads Some possibilities:
DNA, by James Watson
Cosmos, by Carl Sagan
Napoleon’s Buttons, by Penny Le Couteur and Jay Burreson
Proust Was a Neuroscientist, by Jonah Lehrer
The Ancestor’s Tale, by Richard Dawkins
God’s Equation, by Amir Azcel
A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking.
Judy D. Intergalactic Bookworm spontaneous
raidergirl3 ( RG3 ) an adventure in reading spontaneous
T. Robertson n/a The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Apirituality, by Dalai Lama
Death's Acre: Inside the Legendary Forensic Lab the Body Farm Where the Dead Do Tell Tales, by William Bass
What Science Offers the Humanities: Integrating Body and Culture, by Edward Slingerland
Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique, by Michael S. Gazzaniga
Rich ( RTS ) Dick-o's Deep Thoughts Pat Shipman, Taking Wing : Archaeopteryx and the Evolution of Bird Flight
Chris Beard, The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey : Unearthing the Origins of Monkeys, Apes, and Humans
Donald C. Johanson and Kate Wong, Lucy’s Legacy : The Quest for Human Origins
EHL ( EHL ) n/a Lorri Glover and Daniel Blake Smith, The Shipwreck that Saved Jamestown : The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America
Jennifer Hooper McCarty and Tim Foecke, What Really Sank the Titanic : New Forensic Discoveries
Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Renée Fleming, The Inner Voice : The Making of a Singer.
Adrienne ( AIJ ) Titles are Irrelevant Steven H. Strogatz, Sync : The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order
R. Williams facebook challenger spontaneous
S. Poduska facebook challenger spontaneous
C. Howard facebook challenger spontaneous
J.P. Howard facebook challenger spontaneous
J. Dorrance facebook challenger spontaneous
T. Wilson facebook challenger spontaneous
B. Kane facebook challenger spontaneous
D. Robertson facebook challenger spontaneous
Chile ( CC ) Chile Chews Ben Sherwood, The Survivors Club : The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life
A.D. Livingston and Helen Livingston, Edible Plants and Animals : Unusual Foods from Aardvark to Zamia
Pat Murphy, Plan C: Community Survival Strategies for Peak Oil and Climate Change
Jen R. Living Life Simply tentatively:
Blue Frontier, by David Helvarg
The Earth Moved, by Amy Stewart
Bottomfeeder, by Taras Grescoe
Joyce tallgrassworship Watermania, by Eliazbeth Royte
This is Your Brain on Music, The Science of a Human Obsession, by Daniel Levitin
The End of Food, by Paul Roberts
Matheus Second is the Rest possibles:
Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! by Richard Feynman
The Linguistics Wars, by Randy Allen Harris
Brainstorms: Philosophical Essays on Mind and Psychology, by Daniel Dennett
On Nature and Language, by Noam Chomsky
Language and Mind, by Noam Chomsky
The Empirical Stance, by Bas van Fraassen
Pursuit of Truth, by W. V. Quine
The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas Kuhn
psuklinkie Light Up My Room In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollen
The Anatomist, by Bill Hayes
Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser
The Way We Eat, by Peter Singer and Jim Mason
Debra n/a spontaneous
Rose Making the Shift spontaneous
Brittanie ( BT ) A Book Lover [Henslin: This Is Your Brain On Joy | Earl Henslin with Becky Johnson, This is Your Brain on Joy : A Revolutionary Program for Balancing Mood, Restoring Brain Health, and Nurturing Spiritual Growth]
Debbie ( DC ) Rites of Passage George Johnson, Miss Leavitt’s Stars : The Untold Story of the Woman who Discovered How to Measure the Universe
Ruchi (aka Arduous) Arduous Blog Uncertainty on a Himalayan Scale, by Michael Thompson
and others TBD
Killi M. ( KM ) Killimengri's Weblog Graham Wellstead, The Ferret and Ferreting Guide
Nymeth things mean a lot (Visit her blog for an extensive list of possible titles!)
Rachel (Book Trout) ( RBT ) Book Trout Bernd Heinrich, Ravens in Winter
Robert Twigger, The Extinction Club
Bully for Brontosaurus, by Stephen Jay Gould
Equations of Eternity: Speculations on Consciousness, Meaning, and the Mathematical Rules that Orchestrate the Cosmos, by David Darling
Cynthia Menard Withywindle Books spontaneous
Gavin ( GG ) Page247 Daniel L. Everett, Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes : Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle
Sean B. Carroll, Remarkable Creatures : Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species
William Fiennes, The Snow Geese : A Story of Home
Bill Streever, Cold : Adventures in the World’s Frozen Places. New York
Raquel H. ( RSPH ) n/a Ian Stewart, Letters to a Young Mathematician
Karl Sabbagh, The Riemann Hypothesis : The Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics
Roy H. n/a spontaneous
Jennifer G. Waiting on Sunday to drown spontaneous
Abbie (AR) Farmer's Daughter spontaneous
Joanne M ( JLS ) Joanne Loves Science Philip Plait, Death from the Skies! : These are the Ways the World Will End--
Hannah Holmes, The Well-Dressed Ape: A Natural History of Myself
David Michaels, Doubt is their Product : How Industry’s Assault on Science Threatens your Health
Theodore Gray, Theo Gray’s Mad Science Experiments You Can Do at Home--But Probably Shouldn’t
Barbara Oakley, Evil Genes : Why Rome Fell, Hitler Rose, Enron Failed and my Sister Stole my Mother’s Boyfriend
Trevor Paglen, Blank Spots on the Map : The Dark Geography of the Pentagon’s Secret World
Carl Zimmer, Microcosm : E. Coli and the New Science of Life
Neil deGrasse Tyson, The Pluto Files : The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet
James B. Nardi, Life in the Soil : A Guide for Naturalists and Gardeners
Philip Alcabes, Dread : How Fear and Fantasy have Fueled Epidemics from the Black Death to Avian Flu
Simon Winchester, Krakatoa : The Day the World Exploded, August 27, 1883
M H Caro (MHC) n/a spontaneous
Heather J. ( HJ3 ) Age 30+ ... A Lifetime of Books Simon Winchester, The Man Who Loved China : The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom
Richard Guy, The Mysterious Receding Seas
Alan Lightman, A Sense of the Mysterious : Science and the Human Spirit
Paul Hutchins, The Secret Doorway : Beyond Imagination
Jenn Chasing the Mouse... spontaneous
Danielle Meitiv Brave Blue Worlds spontaneous
Sheila M Ryan Ryan Indexing spontaneous
Ken Perrott ( KP ) Open Parachute Gareth Morgan and John McCrystal, Poles Apart : The Great Climate Change Debate
Victor J. Stenger, Quantum Gods : Creation, Chaos, and the Search for Cosmic Consciousness
Alan Chalmers, The Scientist’s Atom and the Philosopher’s Stone : How Science Succeeded and Philosophy Failed to Gain Knowledge of Atoms
John Bellamy Foster, Brett Clark, and Richard York. Critique of Intelligent Design : Materialism Versus Creationism from Antiquity to the Present
Richard ( RRT ) n/a spontaneous
Isaac ( SJB ) n/a Robin Wilson, Lewis Carroll in Numberland : His Fantastical, Mathematical, Logical Life: An Agony in Eight Fits
Jeff ( JNS ) Bearcastle Blog Brian Fagan, The Little Ice Age : How Climate Made History 1300 – 1850
Michael S. Gazzaniga, Human : The Science Behind what Makes us Unique
John Gribbin, The Birth of Time : How Astronomers Measured the Age of the Universe
Leonard Mlodinow, The Drunkard's Walk : How Randomness Rules our Lives
Steven Johnson, The Invention of Air : A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and the Birth of America
Charles Seife, Sun in a Bottle : The Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking
Brian Fagan, The Long Summer : How Climate Changed Civilization
Louisa Gilder, The Age of Entanglement : When Quantum Physics was Reborn
Mark Wolverton, A Life in Twilight : The Final Years of J. Robert Oppenheimer
Tom D. Crouch, Lighter than Air : An Illustrated History of Balloons and Airships
Christopher Potter, You Are Here : A Portable History of the Universe
John Gribbin, Schrödinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality : Solving the Quantum Mysteries
John Gribbin with Mary Gribbin, Stardust : Supernovae and Life—The Cosmic Connection
Andrew Chaikin, A Passion for Mars : Intrepid Explorers of the Red Planet
Richard A. Muller, Physics for Future Presidents : The Science Behind the Headlines
David Michaels, Doubt is Their Product : How Industry's Assault on Science Threatens Your Health
Robert P. Crease, The Great Equations : Breakthroughs in Science from Pythagoras to Heisenberg
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