Atom Land: A Guided Tour Through the Strange (and Impossibly Small) World of Particle Physics by Jon Butterworth
Physicist Jon Butterworth takes you on a tour from Port Electron, through Hadron Island, and to the Isle of Quark. Using a fantasy land as a metaphor for quantum physics, Butterworth brings the complicated realities of antimatter, electromagnetism, and more to a general understanding. Also available on audio.
Publishers Weekly says, “Butterworth expertly handles even the thorniest theories and will satisfy world-weary scientists and amateur physics aficionados alike.”
Return of the Sea Otter: The Story of the Animal That Evaded Extinction on the Pacific Coast by Todd McLeish
Sea otters, which almost went extinct in the 1700s and 1800s, are finally making a comeback in California, Washington, and Alaska. A vital species to the coastal food chain, affecting populations of urchins, clams, kelp, and crabs, the sea otter reveals the health of the ecosystem along the Pacific Ocean.
Booklist (starred review) says, “A healthy sea-otter population is crucial for a healthy Pacific-coast ecosystem, and the author’s enthusiasm for the world’s cutest keystone species makes believers of all of us.”
Elastic: Flexible Thinking in a Time of Change by Leonard Mlodinow
Physicist Leonard Mlodinow has co-authored science books with both Stephen Hawking and Deepak Chopra. While you try to grasp that spectrum, have a look at this neurological perspective on mental elasticity, which can trigger innovation and even cultural paradigm shifts.
Library Journal (starred review) says, “Fantastically accessible science writing. . . . Of particular interest to those wishing to understand how to cope with the pace of change in the modern world.”
In the 50s and 60s, psychiatrist Robert G. Heath’s deep brain stimulation and his controversial choice of patients was kept under wraps. Through uncovering lost documents and conducting firsthand interviews with surviving colleagues and patients, this book tells the full story of Heath and his practice for the first time ever.
Publishers Weekly (starred review) says, “Frank has written an excellent, balanced portrait of an inventive psychiatrist with a complicated legacy.”
The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos by Christian Davenport
Rocket Billionaires: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the New Space Race by Tim Fernholz
Two books out today on the same topic. Which is better? Which will sell more?
These two books tell the story of both the rivalry between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos and their inspired dedication to rescue the American space program by pouring their fortunes into space-worthy projects. Both books are written by journalists: Tim Fernholz is a reporter at Quartz (The Atlantic), and Christian Davenport is a writer for the Washington Post. How fitting that a book about rivalry should have a rival.
Jason Davis at the Planetary Society says, “Both books are meaty enough to satisfy commercial space newbies and experts alike, and if you can only read one, I recommend you check out both reporters’ existing writing and pick based on your preferred prose. Christian writes more like a newspaper reporter, whereas Tim uses quirky turns of phrase that actually sent me to Google a couple times.”
The Space Review says, “one book isn’t clearly better than the other, but combined offer a bigger picture of the development of Blue Origin and SpaceX, and to a lesser extent Virgin Galactic.”