Best Science Books of 2014
December 12, 2014
In this week's episode, Desiree Schell sits down with a panel of avid science readers to discuss the best science of books of 2014. We played a little fast and loose with the 2014 rule: Many of the books we talked about were released in 2014, some are old classics, and all of them would make excellent Christmas gifts for any science enthusiast in your life.
Brian Clegg is the author of many popular science and math books, including most recenlty "Final Frontier: The Pioneering Science and Technology of Exploring the Universe", "The Quantum Age: How the Physics of the Very Small has Transformed Our Lives", and "Extra Sensory: The Science and Pseudoscience of Telepathy and Other Powers of the Mind", among many others. He's also an avid reader of science books, and regularly writes reviews for the online blog Popular Science.
John Dupuis is a science and engineering librarian at the Steacie Science and Engineering Library at York University in Toronto. John has a Masters of Library and Information studies degree, and blogs at Confessions of a Science Librarian. His research and professional interests include science books, the future of academic libraries, open access advocacy, scholarly communications in computer science, and Canadian science policy. He can be found online at his blog Confessions of a Science Librarian, and on his Tumblr, where he keeps track of issues in Canadian Science Policy.
Rachelle Saunders is our very own producer and one of the hosts here at Science for the People, and since our team goes through a lot of science books every year, we thought a member of our team should represent as well.
Their Favourite Books
A list of science books discussed during the panel is below, organized by each panel representative.
- "Where Do Camels Belong?" by Dr. Ken Thompson
- "Fermat's Last Theorem: The Story of a Riddle That Confounded the World's Greatest Minds for 358 Years" by Simon Singh
- "The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets" by Simon Singh
- "What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions" by Randall Munroe
- "Serving The Reich: The Struggle for the Soul of Physics under Hitler" by Philip Ball
- "The Universe Inside You: The Extreme Science of the Human Body from Quantum Theory to the Mysteries of the Brain" by Brian Clegg
- "Zombies and Calculus" by Colin Adams
- "Climate Changed: A Personal Journey through the Science" by Philippe Squarzoni
- "The Imitation Game" by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Purvis
- "Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birute Galdikas", by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks
- "Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey" by Nick Bertozzi
- "Wizards, Aliens, and Starships: Physics and Math in Fantasy and Science Fiction" by Charles L. Adler
- "Logicomix" by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H. Papadimitriou
- "The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II" by Denise Kiernan
- "The Science of the Discworld" by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, and Jack Cohen
- "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory" by Caitlin Doughty
- "The Science of Shakespeare: A New Look at the Playwright's Universe" by Dan Falk
- "The Edge of the Sky: All You Need to Know About the All-There-Is" by Roberto Trotta
- "The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies" by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee
- "The Birth of the Pill: How Four Crusaders Reinvented Sex and Launched a Revolution" by Jonathan Eig
More Great Books from Our Panelists
One hour is never enough! Our panelists all had more books they wanted to talk about but didn't get a chance to discuss on the show. Fortunately, they were willing to send along their notes to make sure the rest of the best didn't get missed even if they couldn't get on air.
- "Einstein and the Quantum: The Quest of the Valiant Swabian" by A. Douglas Stone
- "I Think You'll Find It's a Bit More Complicated Than That" by Ben Goldacre
- "The Accidental Species: Misunderstandings of Human Evolution" by Henry Gee
- "How to Predict the Unpredictable: The Art of Outsmarting Almost Everyone" by William Poundstone
- "Inventing Realty: Physics As Language" by Bruce Gregory
- "Timeswitch" by John R. Gribbin
- "Neurocomic" by Hana Ros and Matteo Farinella
- "The Cartoon Introduction to Climate Change" by Yoram Bauman and Grady Klein
- "The Incredible Plate Tectonics Comic: The Adventures of Geo, Vol 1" by Kanani K. M. Lee and Adam Wallenta
- "Terms of Service: Understanding Our Role in the World of Big Data" by Michael keller and Josh Neufeld
- "It's Catching: The Infectious World of Germs and Microbes" by Jennifer Gardy and Josh Holinaty
- "Cracking the Particle Code of the Universe: The Hunt for the Higgs Boson" by John Moffat
- "Bold Scientists: Dispatches from the Battle for Honest Science" by Michael Riordon
- "Math Bytes: Google Bombs, Chocolate-Covered Pi, and Other Cool Bits in Computing" by Tim Chartier
- "Everyday Calculus: Discovering the Hidden Math All around Us" by Oscar E. Fernandez
- "The Extreme Life of the Sea" by Stephen R. Palumbi and Anthony R. Palumbi
- "Harperism: How Stephen Harper and his Think Tank Colleagues have Transformed Canada" by Donald Gutstein
- "Neutrino Hunters: The Thrilling Chase for a Ghostly Particle to Unlock the Secrets of the Universe" by Ray Jayawardhana
- "The High Price: A Neuroscientist's Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society" by Carl Hart
- "The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements" by Sam Kean
- "Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat" by Bee Wilson
Are there great science books that came out this year that have been tragically left off the list? Share your favourites in the comments below!