> SCIENTISTS' NIGHTSTAND
A review of The Nature of Computation, by Cristopher Moore and Stephan Mertens. The authors "have produced one of the most successful attempts to capture the broad scope and intellectual depth of theoretical computer science as it is practiced today," says Elser
A review of What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses, by Daniel Chamovitz. Plants’ ability to sense and respond to their surrounding environment is stranger and more surprising than one might think, and Chamovitz recounts the stories of scientists’ discoveries in plant biology with wit and charm, says Wills
A review of American Georgics: Writings on Farming, Culture, and the Land, edited by Edwin C. Hagenstein, Sara M. Gregg, and Brian Donahue. The United States has always embodied the tension between the ideals of agrarianism and industrialism, says Casson, and this book provides a compelling history of that tension
A review of Legally Poisoned: How the Law Puts Us at Risk from Toxicants, by Carl F. Cranor. Cranor notes that it’s not enough for individual citizens to try to avoid chemicals that are known to be toxic; to offer substantive protection, legislation must be improved
A review of Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius, by Sylvia Nasar. This work is essentially a biography of economics, says Hayes. Nasar reveals the history and the nature of the field through captivating portraits of economists
A brief review of The Rocks Don't Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood, by David R. Montgomery
A brief review of A Field Guide to Radiation, by Wayne Biddle
We take a look back at reviews published during the first 20 years of the Scientists' Bookshelf
Three science writers and editors consider the state of science book reviews
A review of Fuel Cycle to Nowhere: U.S. Law and Policy on Nuclear Waste, by Richard Burleson Stewart and Jane Bloom Stewart. This comprehensive book details efforts to manage nuclear waste in the United States and, in doing so, offers useful lessons for policy makers and the public
A review of In Pursuit of the Traveling Salesman: Mathematics at the Limits of Computation, by William J. Cook. The traveling salesman problem falls into that set of mathematical problems that are very difficult, but not impossible, to solve, says Hayes. This book celebrates its idiosyncrasies
A review of How Not to Be Eaten: The Insects Fight Back, by Gilbert Waldbauer. Waldbauer has written another book that delights in the intricacies of the insect world. Seasoned entomologists will find no revelations here, says Youngsteadt, but the book may help convince their friends and family members of the wonders of the field
A review of The Global Politics of the IUD: How Science Constructs Contraceptive Users and Women’s Bodies, by Chikako Takeshita. The scientific and social history of the group of birth-control devices known as IUDs (intrauterine devices) is fraught with instances of design under- or uninformed by empirical knowledge of how IUDs work and even of how the uterus is shaped, says Takeshita
A review of Principles of Applied Statistics, by D. R. Cox and Christl A. Donnelly. Cox and Donnelly’s book “stands as a summary of an entire tradition of using statistics to address scientific problems,” says Shalizi. The lessons the book contains will allow those entering the field to “make original mistakes”
In this special review section, we consider recent poetry collections that engage with science and mathematics—and offer a few poems as well
A review of Approaching Ice: Poems, by Elizabeth Bradfield, and Darwin: A Life in Poems, by Ruth Padel. Scenes from the history of science are rendered in these two well-referenced collections. One offers glimpses into the lives of a plenitude of polar explorers, the other a verse biography of Charles Darwin
A review of Intersecting Sets: A Poet Looks at Science, by Alice Major. What might a poet who has devoted much time to the consideration of science have to say about these two disciplines? Plenty, it turns out: “Major offers us the pleasure of watching another writer’s mind in motion at every scale,” says Chapman
A review of Hypotheticals, by Leigh Kotsilidis. In poems that are at their best engaging, quirky and sharp, Kotsilidis not only delves into the language of science, but questions the enterprise itself, says Mullin
A review of The Scientific Method, by Mary Alexandra Agner. This slim chapbook contains substantive work, including seven poems that take as their subjects the lives and work of historic women scientists
A review of Between Page and Screen, by Amaranth Borsuk and Brad Bouse. Borsuk uses the medium of poetry to investigate the interface of print and code, with all its attendant dilemmas and anxieties. This investigation is embodied in the project’s form: a print book that requires a webcam-containing device to be read
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