Science & Technology Book Reviews (page 9)

HISTORY
Released: Oct. 14, 2013

"Entertaining popular history."
A social historian explores the "intellectual consequences" of the expeditions of Christopher Columbus, which "nudg[ed] Europeans toward modern ways of thinking about their planet." Read full book review >
BEYOND THE GOD PARTICLE by Leon Lederman
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Oct. 8, 2013

"Some concepts in physics (string theory is another) are difficult to explain to general readers, but Lederman and Hill make a noble effort, and those who obey their frequent suggestions to re-read may find it worth the effort."
An energetic follow-up to The God Particle (1993), Nobel laureate Lederman's fine overview of particle physics. This time, Lederman is assisted by theoretical physicist Hill; the two co-authored Quantum Physics for Poets (2011) and Symmetry and the Beautiful Universe (2004). Read full book review >

SOCIAL by Matthew D. Lieberman
PSYCHOLOGY
Released: Oct. 8, 2013

"A fascinating explanation of why "a broken heart can feel as painful as a broken leg" and social recognition is frequently prized above money."
Lieberman (Psychology, Psychiatry, and Biobehavioral Sciences/UCLA) offers scientific evidence to counter the idea that the need to survive and reproduce is the fundamental driver of human behavior. Read full book review >
THE BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE AND NATURE WRITING 2013 by Siddhartha Mukherjee
ESSAYS & ANTHOLOGIES
Released: Oct. 8, 2013

"A stimulating compendium."
An anthology of some of the finest writing (if not the best) on science, nature and mathematics from American publications in 2012, selected and edited by Pulitzer Prize–winning author Mukherjee (The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, 2010). Read full book review >
SMART CITIES by Anthony Townsend
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Oct. 7, 2013

"Authoritative, information-packed must-read for urban policymakers."
A leading guru on technology and urban life describes how electronic devices are creating a "historic shift" in the way we build and run cities. Read full book review >

EINSTEIN AND THE QUANTUM by A. Douglas Stone
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 6, 2013

"A wonderful reminder that Einstein's monumental role in the development of contemporary science is even more profound than history has allowed."
Albert Einstein (1879–1955) is as famous for his paradigm-shifting theories of relativity as he is for his grudge against quantum mechanics, but Stone's (Physics/Yale Univ.) engaging history of Einstein's ardent search for a unifying theory tells a different story. Read full book review >
DREAMS OF OTHER WORLDS by Chris Impey
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Oct. 1, 2013

"The authors' largely uncritical, gee-whiz approach is entirely appropriate since these programs were not only technological marvels, but produced dazzling, quantum-leap discoveries."
Although less sexy than manned space travel, satellites, probes and landers have produced a scientific bonanza with more to come. Impey (Astronomy/Univ. of Arizona; How It Began: A Time-Traveler's Guide to the Universe, 2012, etc.) and Henry (English/California State Univ., San Bernardino; Virginia Woolf and the Discourse of Science: The Aesthetics of Astronomy, 2003) team up for an enthusiastic account of a dozen programs. Read full book review >
WHAT THE DOG KNOWS by Cat Warren
NATURE & TRAVEL
Released: Oct. 1, 2013

"Warren writes with verve and provides rare insight into our working partnership with canines."
How adopting a German shepherd puppy turned out to be life-changing for Warren (Science Journalism/North Carolina State Univ.). Read full book review >
THE STORY OF THE HUMAN BODY by Daniel E. Lieberman
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Oct. 1, 2013

"Readers have likely heard this song before but perhaps not so exhaustively and well-referenced as in Lieberman's opus. Would that industry and governments take heed."
Six million years of biological evolution have produced a human body ill-adapted to the diets and lifestyles that cultural evolution has wrought since modern humans emerged. That is the core message of this massive review of where we came from and what ails us now. Read full book review >
LOVE AND MATH by Edward Frenkel
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 2013

"A fascinating peek into the author's life and work."
An award-winning mathematician explains his passion for pure mathematics, a subject that reveals a "hidden parallel universe of beauty and elegance, intricately intertwined with ours." Read full book review >
OUR FINAL INVENTION by James Barrat
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Released: Oct. 1, 2013

"As researchers on climate change know, warnings of future disasters are a hard sell. Enthusiasts dominate observers of progress in artificial intelligence; the minority who disagree are alarmed, articulate and perhaps growing in numbers, and Barrat delivers a thoughtful account of their worries."
Cars aren't out to kill us, but that may be a side effect of building cars, writes documentary filmmaker Barrat in this oddly disturbing warning that progress in computers might spell our extinction. Read full book review >
WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION by Alexis Ohanian
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: Oct. 1, 2013

"Even if Ohanian's arguments concerning intellectual property rights are unconvincing, everything else he has to say can only help aspiring 21st-century entrepreneurs."
A jazzy guide to getting your Internet startup off the ground, from one equipped with time-tested advice: reddit co-founder Ohanian. Read full book review >