IN MY VIEW: Lighter fare for your vacation reading

In the course of my research of suitable science books for your summer reading, I came across a list of books that have been entered for the British Royal Society's annual prize for science books.

Aug 1st, 2010
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BY JEFFREY BAIRSTOW

In the course of my research of suitable science books for your summer reading, I came across a list of books that have been entered for the British Royal Society's annual prize for science books.

The winner gets a $15,000 prize and the runners-up receive about $1,500. Not too shabby! Twelve entrants made the first cut, based on their critical reviews by the five judges. Comments are from the judges' reviews.

We Need To Talk About Kelvin by Marcus Chown (Faber and Faber, New York, NY).
"We found ourselves applying ideas from this book to the real world and understanding complicated scientific concepts far more easily than we expected."

Why Does E=mc2?, (And Why Should We Care?) by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw (Da Capo Press, Cambridge, MA).
"It's the most famous equation that exists but few people actually know what it means. This book is not afraid to tackle really challenging physics."

Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne (Oxford University Press, New York, NY).
"There are lots of books on Darwin and evolution, but this is a marvelous entry point, really engaging with wonderful historical anecdotes."

In Search of the Multiverse: Parallel Worlds, Hidden Dimensions, and the Ultimate Quest for the Frontiers of Reality by John Gribbin (Penguin Books, New York, NY).
"Tackles difficult, complex questions in physics and succeeds, managing to both explain things and leave us pondering the subject for days afterwards."

Everyday Practice of Science: Where Intuition and Passion Meet Objectivity and Logic by Frederick Grinnell (Oxford University Press, New York, NY).
"The most accessible book on how science is done that we've ever come across. Indispensable to anyone who wants to understand the science behind the headlines."

God's Philosophers: How the Medieval World Laid the Foundations of Modern Science by James Hannam (Icon Books, London).
"Contradicts the popular idea of the Middle Ages as the 'dark' age, celebrating the lesser known mathematicians, 'philosophers' and anatomists."

Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity by James Hansen (Bloomsbury USA,
New York, NY).
"An excellent, authoritative and important history of climate change research, written in an engaging way."

Darwin's Island: The Galapagos in the Garden of England by Steve Jones (Little, Brown, Boston, MA).
"Many books on Darwin focus on the Galapagos as if Darwin came home and that was it. This book redresses the balance, delving into ideas Darwin developed from his studies of the English countryside."

Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution by Nick Lane (W.W. Norton, New York, NY).
"This book is a well thought out exploration of the building blocks of biological science, straightforward and convincing."

The Master and his Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World by Iain McGilchrist (Yale University Press, New Haven, CT).
"McGilchrist welcomes you straight into his world, presenting beautiful ideas in an eminently readable and engrossing manner."

Complexity: A Guided Tour by Melanie Mitchell (Oxford University Press, New York, NY).
"This book does a great job of connecting different fields to provide an accessible, interdisciplinary introduction to the complicated subject of complexity."

A World Without Ice by Henry Pollack (Penguin Books, New York, NY).
"This book gives a clear historical picture of the relationship between ice and climate. A very accessible and powerful perspective on climate change."

Jeffrey Bairstow
Contributing Editor
inmyview@yahoo.com

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