Science Book Challenge 2011

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The image is a photograph of the DNA from a mashed-up strawberry (red at bottom) being drawn up a propanol column, captured by Steve Jurvetson (source); used under Creative Commons License. Please use this image in your own blog to publicize the 2011 Science Book Challenge.
Read a book for science literacy!
This is our fourth annual challenge, bigger and better than ever!!

The Science Book Challenge is easy as pi: read 3 (or 3.14!) science books during 2011, then tell us and 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 want to encourage people to read about science with this challenge. We also want to help potential readers find books they will enjoy and profit from reading; that's why we publish our Book Notes, which are written mostly by Science-Book Challengers.

By taking the challenge and contributing your book notes to our growing and increasingly valuable collection, you're helping would-be science-book readers identify books they'd like to read. It's new knowledge for everyone!

This year we're looking forward to more participation, more book notes, and some special incentives for challengers. We're also hoping to reorganize the Book Notes to make it easier to browse and more useful to our readers.

The 2011 Science Book Challenge

  1. Read at least three nonfiction books in 2011 related to the theme "Science & Culture". Your books should have something to do with science, scientists, how science operates, or the relationship of science with our 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, from the bookstore or your local library. We take a very broad view of what makes for interesting and informative science reading, looking for perspectives on science as part of culture and history.
  2. After you've read a book, write a short note about it giving your opinions of the book. Tell us what you'd tell a friend if you wanted to convince your friend to read it--or avoid it. 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; we include ratings with every book note.
  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. Spread the scienticity and 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.

Joining the Challenge

In truth, there's nothing you have to do to take the challenge except start reading. But when you've finished a book, please do share your book note with us and others through the book-note form or the comment form.

We'd like you to make your participation in the Science Book Challenge public by adding you to the list of challengers on this page. Send us your name and a link to your blog, if you have one, using our comment form, or join our Facebook group. Putting your name here will encourage others to do the same.

When you use your own blog to spread the word, make liberal use of our gorgeous Science Book Challenge 2011 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 2011. There are no grades, just an opportunity to enjoy some science reading and help others. Be spontaneous and choose your books as you go or decide on your book list at the beginning--or any combination that suits your taste.

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 can also sign up by joining our SBC Facebook group. You might find it interesting to look at previous years' list of challengers in the Science Book Challenge 2010, the Science-Book Challenge 2009, or the Science-Book Challenge 2008.

Here are the people we are aware of who have accepted the Science-Book Challenge 2011. If you're taking the Challenge, please let us know. Your participation will inspire others to join.

Challenger Link Titles & Links to Book Notes
Nicole R ( NR ) Endless Adventures in Reading spontaneous
Melwyk ( MK ) The Indextrious Reader possibles:
John W. Moffat, Einstein Wrote Back
Janet Gleeson, The Arcanum
Jo Marchant, Decoding the Heavens
Arthur I. Miller, Empire of the Stars
Dawn Morgan Elliott ( DME ) Tampa Do-Gooder David McCandless, The Visual Miscellaneum : A Colorful Guide to the World's Most Consequential Trivia
Nathalie Foy Books About Books planned:
Maryanne Wolf, Proust and the Squid: The Story of Science and the Reading Brain
Nick Lane, Ten Great Inventions of Evolution
Ben Goldacre, Bad Science
Kristen Young ( GKY ) Geknitics spontaneous
Lisa W. ( LFW )   Mike Brown, How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming
W. Byron W. ( WBW )   planned:
Paul Milo, Your Flying Car Awaits
Mary Roach, Packing for Mars
Michael Belfiore, The Department of Mad Scientists
Brittanie ( BT ) A Book Lover spontaneous
Mohammod Araft   books about neurology, physics, or quirky topics in science
Cyd Melcher   sponaneous
Yvonne Langenberg   spontaneous
Cyndi   to begin: Genome: An Autobiography in 23 Chapters, by Matt Ridley
Jacqueline Boytim laboratory literacy spontaneous
Arestelle Arestelle some possibles:
Minds and Computers, by Matt Carther
Introducing Artificial Intelligence, by Henry Brighton
1089 and All That, by David Acheson
The Undercover Economist, by Tim Harford
Melanie ( MKI ) Cynical Optimism to start : Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
raidergirl3 ( RG3 ) an adventure in reading Madison Smartt Bell, Lavoisier in the Year One : the Birth of a New Science in an Age of Revolution
Gavin ( GG ) Page247 David Quammen, Monster of God : The Man-Eating Predator in the Jungles of History and the Mind
Chris Waigl    
Beth M ( BM ) Library Chicken Denis Brian, The Curies : A Biography of the Most Controversial Family in Science
Bryan Sykes, The Seven Daughters of Eve : The Science that Reveals our Genetic Ancestry
Barbara Goldsmith, Obsessive Genius : The Inner World of Marie Curie
Suzanne Jurmain, The Secret of the Yellow Death : A True Story of Medical Sleuthing
Scout ( MSJ )   Marlene Zuk, Sex on Six Legs : Lessons on Live, Love, and Language from the Insect World
Richard  ( RRT  n/a spontaneous
Isaac ( SJB ) n/a spontaneous
Jeff ( JNS ) Bearcastle Blog spontaneous
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