- Science is a tool for accomplishing many tasks. It is frequently of use to the average person for a variety of purposes. From getting drains unclogged to growing a vegetable garden, the principles of science enable us to successfully meet many of the demands of everyday living. Science is not only a tool, it is a toy and a source of wonder and satisfaction. We think of the future as continuing to bring improvements and increased pleasure and satisfaction largely because of the power of science. The more each of us know about science the more we can accomplish and the more we can marvel at and appreciate all that science adds to our lives.
Science is so empowering and so inspiring that discovery of principles of science can be a pleasureable hobby. Any new understanding has the potential of being useful in a practical way, at some time. And any new bit of understanding adds to awe that science inspires.
I have searched through the descriptions of science books at barnesandnoble.com and selected those that to me seem most likely of value to readers of this web site. The list that follows includes those books. The list includes a brief description for each book. A clickable link takes you to the Barnesandnoble sales page.
Make your own decision whether a particular book is useful to you. Everybody's circumstances and attitudes are different. You might want to read throughthe titles, and if you find a title that is particularly of interest, read that description. Some of the books may be available through your local library.
Books available through barnesandnoble.com
Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution - and How It Can Renew America
Aurthor: Thomas L. Friedman
Pub. Date: September 2008
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pub. Date: September 2008
How the use of coal and oil increases the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere. As carbon dioxide levels raise, earth's temperature goes up. Our ways of obtaining food become threatened by changing climate that no longer is suitable for the production of major crops. As coal, oil,
and natural gas supplies become depleted, their prices will soar, drastically increasing food prices.
The effects of drastically rising food and fuel prices. How modes of transportation will change. How agriculture, home heating, and other energy use practices will change. What must be done to prevent famine. What technologies will be implimented to switch our energy use to renewable sources.
The politics of oil, coal, and gas use. The effects of population.
How the development of green technology is an opportunity for economic prosperity
Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with More Than 75 Recipes
Aurthor: Mark Bittman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Pub. Date: December 2008
A plan for eating that is both environmentally responsible and healthy.
How the consumption of meat contributes to global warming because of the amount of oil that
is burned as fuel when producing meat.
How government policy, big business marketing, economics and politics influence what we eat. How to decrease the amount of carbon dioxide put into the air by eating different food and at the
same time improve your health.
A month's worth of meal plans for increasing fruit, vegetables, and whole grains and decreasing
meat for cheaper and healthier eating that causes less damage to the environment.
You, the Owner's Manual: An Insider's Guide to the Body That Will Make You Healthier and Younger
Aurthor: Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet Oz, Lisa Oz,
Pub. Date: May 2005
Understanding how your body works gives you the ability to live a healthier, longer, and better life.
Food digestion, the heart, brain, lungs, immune system, bones, and sensory organs. A chapter on the liver and pancreas. Misconceptions about the human body. What initiates diseases and how diseases affect the body. How to prevent disease and disability. Nutritional guidelines and recipes for living longer and better. A chapter on exercise; and nearly one hundred questions and answers. A 10-day, 30-recipe food plan.
A Short History of Nearly Everything
Aurthor: Bill Bryson
Publisher: Bantam Books
Pub. Date: September 2004
The story of the discoveries that comprise our understanding of the universe - atomic particles, the Big Bang theory, the composition of the universe, the rise of civilization, and the basic facts of physics, chemistry, biology, botany, climatology, and geology. Understanding how things got to be the way they are and understanding the biggest questions that science seeks to answer. Bryson sought the insight of archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, interviewed them and read their books and put their insights into understandable explanations
Table of Contents
Pt. I Lost in the Cosmos 7
1 How to Build a Universe 9
2 Welcome to the Solar System 19
3 The Reverend Evans's Universe 29
Pt. II The Size of the Earth 41
4 The Measure of Things 43
5 The Stone-Breakers 63
6 Science Red in Tooth and Claw 79
7 Elemental Matters 97
Pt. III A New Age Dawns 113
8 Einstein's Universe 115
9 The Mighty Atom 133
10 Getting the Lead Out 149
11 Muster Mark's Quarks 161
12 The Earth Moves 173
Pt. IV Dangerous Planet 187
13 Bang! 189
14 The Fire Below 207
15 Dangerous Beauty 224
Pt. V Life Itself 237
16 Lonely Planet 239
17 Into the Troposphere 255
18 The Bounding Main 270
19 The Rise of Life 287
20 Small World 302
21 Life Goes On 321
22 Good-bye to All That 335
23 The Richness of Being 350
24 Cells 371
25 Darwin's Singular Notion 381
26 The Stuff of Life 397
Pt. VI The Road to Us 417
27 Ice Time 419
28 The Mysterious Biped 434
29 The Restless Ape 453
30 Good-bye 469
Origin of Species
Aurthor: Charles Darwin, George Levine
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Pub. Date: March 2008
Charles Darwins's presentation of the evidence for plant and animal species arising by small
changes occurring from one generation to the next until one species evolves into another species.
Why those changes occur. An outstandingly influencial work, written in the 1800s, but remains
readable and engrossing.
The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable
Aurthor: Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Pub. Date: April 2007
A black swan is a highly improbable event that has a huge impact. The author asserts that
people are exceedingly ignorant of general trends and their consequences that lead to
important, life-changing events.
We are unable to recognize opportunities because we are occupied with the inconsequential.
We concern ourselves with the inconsequential and what we already know and are convinced that we are reasonably able to forecast the future. But actually we have little awareness of influences leading to overwhelming events such as wars, 9-11, the rise of major religions, and
revolutionary cultural changes. We simply and pay little attention to what we do not know
and ignore the possibility of black swans.
Taleb explains what we know about what we donít know and presents tactics for dealing with black swans and benefiting from them.
Planet Earth: As You've Never Seen It Before
Aurthor: Alastair Fothergill, Vanessa Berlowitz,
Mark Brownlow, Huw Cordey, Jonathan Keeling
Publisher: University of California Press
Pub. Date: January 2007
400 photographs of landscapes from around the globe and rarely seen creatures that live in remote habitats. Many images of inaccessible places and unusual animal behavior. Uses aereal photography and advanced technology to display caverns, deserts. forests, ocean depths and
mountain slopes. The photography shows the astounding variety of geography and life on earth.
The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives
Aurthor: Leonard Mlodinow
Publisher: Random House Inc
Pub. Date: May 2008
How randomness and probability affect our successes and failures and many of the occurrences and circumstances of our lives.
how we misunderstand the significance of events and situations that are unknowingly determined more by chance than known cause and effect relationships. How many things in daily life are less reliable than we believe. Illustrates how common sense sometimes fails us in simple matters of probability.
The psychological illusions that cause us to misjudge reality and miss what is truely meaningful. How to make decisions based on more realistic judgements. Proposes that much of what we experience is about as predictable as the steps of a stumbling man after a night at the bar.
Uses historical narrative to implement a readable quick course in randomness and statistics without technical mathematics to aid understanding of real life problems and circumstances.
Making a Good Brain Great: The Amen Clinic Program for Achieving and Sustaining Optimal Mental Performance
Aurthor: Daniel G. Amen
Publisher: Three Rivers Press (CA)
Pub. Date: December 2006
Sales Rank: 2,799
What to eat for best mental performance
How to protect your brain from injuries and toxins
How to nourish your brain
Best physical exercises
How to achieve best mental attitude and mood
From Dr. Amen's many years of experience. Somwhat overloaded with terminology
but has useful information.
Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things: How to Turn a Penny into a Radio, Make a Flood Alarm with an Aspirin, Change Milk into Plastic, Extract Water and Electricity from Thin Air, Turn on a TV with Your Ring, and Other Amazing Feats
Aurthor: Cy Tymony
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Pub. Date: September 2003
How to make something to tell whether a $20 bill is fake.Generate electricity with household items. Make a home security system. Make personalized electronic greeting cards.
How to make 40 gadgets and gizmos forsurvival, security, self-defense, or just for fun. Most projects take only a few minutes. For junior and senior high school students and adults.
Science Book: Everything You Need to Know About the World and How It Works
Aurthor: National Geographic Society Staff
Publisher: National Geographic Society
Pub. Date: October 2008
Covers six areas of science: biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, planet earth and astronomy. Natural phenomena, revolutionary inventions, and the latest research.
Gives an overview of topics and specific information. Appropriate for casual readers and
popular science enthusists. Covers subjects in the news, such as climate change and genetic engineering. Includes photographs, diagrams, and other graphics to clarify presentation.
World in Six Songs
Aurthor: Daniel J. Levitin
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Pub. Date: August 2008
How and why the brain evolved to play and listen to music and how musical ability is a precursor to other advanced abilitities and behaviors that form human culture.
Every song ever written can be placed into one of six categories. A wide variety of song examples are included to support that proposition. The narration is dry at times, but lucid, and successfully conveys the significance of music both throuhgout the progression of human
advancement and in todays world.
Aurthor: Richard Dawkins
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Pub. Date: May 2006
Presents a theory of natural selection that includes social biology, and how competition, exploitation, and deceit, are major contributors. HOw acts of altruism are surprisingly abundant. When a honey bee stings an animal precieved as a threat to the hive, the bee looses its life when the stinger is pulled from the bee. Animal parents frequently risk their lives to protect their young. Presents many scientific insights including how humans interact and what motivates us in our day-to-day lives.
The Hot Zone: A Terrifying True Story
Aurthor: Richard Preston, Preston
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Pub. Date: January 1994
A deadly virus from the African rain forest strikes in an animal test lab in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. 90 percent of the infected primates die. It is a dangerous
filovirus (thread virus) that can liquefying a human body in days. Outbreaks of the Ebola filovirus struck Sudan and Zaire in 1976. The Hot Zone is about the
appearance of rare and lethal viruses and their threat to the human race.
Preston says AIDS, Ebola and other rain-forest viruses are a result of an ecological decline in the tropics.
The origin of the virus, its transmission, how it affects its victims, how its spread was contained, and how commerce, politics, and a damaged environment favor the virus. How someday a deadly virus could spread into the human population, killing rapidly.
Four Biosafety Level 4 viruses are described; Marburg, Ebola Sudan, Ebola Zaire, Ebola Reston. Where the viruses are most likely to come from.
The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World
Aurthor: Michael Pollan
Publisher: Random House Inc
Pub. Date: May 2002
Describes the impact of four plants on civilization: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato. Plant breeders continually improved the desirable qualities of those plants as humans became more and more dependant on and influenced by them. That coevolution has positive and
negative effects on humans and the plants. The potato became a source of abundant, inexpensive food for humans. But our dependence on it resulted in the potato famine in the 1800 causing extreme hardship for millions of people. Through our cultivation of the plants, their distribution and number increased expotentially, and it would seem their continued existence became guarenteed. That could be thought of a great advantage for the plants caused by man's influence.
Pollan points out benefits and potential tradgedies as we adapt plants to suit our desires - genetic accidents releasing invasive species or destructive genes into the ecosystem, our dependence of a few species of plants which perhaps are becoming increasingly vulnerable because of their ubiquitous and monocultural presence, loss of diversity resulting in instability of the ecosystem, and other potentially harmful effects of agricultural practices. A thoughtful and interesting treatment of our interdependence with plants and our unpredictable relationship with nature.
Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines
Aurthor: Richard A. Muller
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Pub. Date: August 2008
Examines the techical issues that are of concern to government policy - global warming,
alternative energy technologies, electricity from coal, nuclear power, bio-terrorism techniques, radioactive bombs, and
Richard A. Muller is professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. This book is based on his course for non-science students.
Science Friction: Where the Known Meets the Unknown
by Michael Shermer, Robin Dennis (Editor)
Publisher: Times Books
Pub. Date: January 2005
Fourteen essays on the biases that cause people to believe what they believe. Discusses unorthodox theories such as oil not being a fossil fuel, creationism, and psychic abilities. How theories become accepted as fact, how controversy affects scientific progress, and what is known and what is not known.
Aurthor: Carl Sagan
Pub. Date: October 1985
An account of the development of human knowledge and progress in the understanding of science and the universe and a description of our present understanding of the universe. An inspiring account of man's desire to understand and the satisfaction of pursuing understanding.
Long Emergency: Surviving the End of the Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century
Aurthor: James Howard Kunstler
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Pub. Date: March 2006
The evidence that oil and natural gas shortages are imminent.
What life will be like when oil is no longer cheap and plentiful. Large cities will decline.
Small farm agriculture will be the norm. Railroads will take over much of transportation. What must be done to best adapt to changing conditions.
Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization
Aurthor: Lester R. Brown
Publisher: W W Norton & Co Inc
Pub. Date: January 2008
Plan A is continuing our present policies. Plan B is a massive response to civilization's most threatening problems - rising global temperatures, water shortages, population growth, oil shortages, failing governments, and widening gap between the haves and the have-nots.
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2008
Aurthor: Jerome Groopman
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Pub. Date: October 2008
A wide range of articles, futurology, forensics, biotechnology, and dark energy. Articles suggests a future when genetic engineering is used by the average plant and animal breeder and other technologies will be available for general use. Warnings of potential dangers as well as the benefits of various technologies.
The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science
Aurthor: Natalie Angier
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Pub. Date: April 2008
Presents the basic principles of science that explain the things in our lives. Promotes a feeling of discovery and appreciation as principles of science become explanations for how appliances work and why ice cream melts. Gives the reader more understanding of technology and more appreciation for technology's products. Presents information in ways that make learning fun and makes the world more understandable and fascinating.
Covers such issues and fields as genetics, stem cells, evolution, global warming, molecular biology, bird flu,
geology, and astronomy.
Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind
Aurthor: Joe Dispenza
Pub. Date: January 2009
Why people repeat unpleasant thoughts, continue self defeating habits, and do what makes them unhappy. How to change the brain to avoid the unpleasant behaviors and thoughts. What to do to alter the brain for enjoyable thoughts, new skills, and a happier life.
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
Aurthor: Bjorn Lomborg
Publisher: Random House Inc
Pub. Date: September 2007
Presents evidence that much more good would be done by efforts to lessen problems such as malaria, contaminated water, and famine than by efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Reducing carbon dioxide emissions would improve lives much less at a much greater cost than such measures as reducing mosquito populations to reduce malaria incidence and providing clean drinking water to reduce water born diseases.