Scientists' Bookshelf Monthly, Vol. 7 No. 3

Scientists' Bookshelf Monthly alerts you to new content on the Bookshelf pages of American Scientist (http://www.americanscientist.org/bookshelf/). Subscribe for free by creating a My AmSci account.

 

SCIENTISTS' NIGHTSTAND: DEREK BICKERTON

Linguist Derek Bickerton recently finished reading Charles C. Mann's 1491. "I thought I knew something about pre-Columbian America," he says, "but whoa ... !" Review Bickerton's other recent reading and recommended authors.

 

OFF THE SHELF

In Nature, Mark Buchanan reviews Melanie Mitchell's Complexity: A Guided Tour, and Michael Kelly assesses a new book by Roger L. Geiger and Creso M. Sá, Tapping the Riches of Science.

In the New York Review of Books, Ingrid Rowland discusses Maria Sibylla Merian and Daughters: Women of Art and Science, the catalog for an exhibition held last year, and Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis, by Kim Todd. Chrysalis was reviewed in the July-August 2007 issue of American Scientist. Also in the NYRB, Michael Greenberg reviews Sue Halpern's Can't Remember What I Forgot: The Good News from the Front Lines of Memory Research.

In the London Review of Books, Eric Hobsbawm critiques Simon Winchester's biography of Joseph Needham.

The Times Literary Supplement has reviews of Graham Farmelo's new biography of Paul Dirac and of a collection of essays—by historians, nutritionists, cooks, sociologists, anthropologists, economists and specialists in agriculture and plant genetics—about soybeans.

Edge has an interview with particle physicist Brian Cox about the Higgs boson; Cox, a former rock star, also briefly describes his career path.

The New York Times has a review by Peter Galison of The Age of Entanglement. You can read the first chapter of the book here.

The 2008 edition of The Open Laboratory: The Best in Science Writing on Blogs, edited by Jennifer Rohan, is now available as a paperback ($15.50) or download ($7.50) from Lulu. A panel of 11 science bloggers chose the 52 posts included in the anthology from among 830 that were submitted. The book is the third in a series edited by Bora Zivkovic.

 

FORTHCOMING TITLES OF INTEREST

Plastic Fantastic: How the Biggest Fraud in Physics Shook the Scientific World, by Eugenie Samuel Reich (Palgrave Macmillan, May 2009)

Unquenchable: America's Water Crisis and What to Do about It, by Robert Jerome Glennon (Island Press, May 2009)

The Annotated Origin: A Facsimile of the First Edition of On the Origin of Species, by Charles Darwin, with an introduction and notes by James T. Costa (Harvard University Press, May 2009)

Paradise Found: Nature in America at the Time of Discovery, by Steve Nicholls (University of Chicago Press, May 2009)

Conservation Refugees: The Hundred-Year Conflict between Global Conservation and Native Peoples, by Mark Dowie (The MIT Press, May 2009)

 

NEW IN PAPERBACK

The Secret History of the War on Cancer, by Devra Davis (Basic Books, $17.50). Reviewed in the May–June 2008 issue.

Rethinking Expertise, by Harry Collins and Robert Evans (University of Chicago Press, $22.50). Reviewed in the July–August 2008 issue.

Language, Consciousness, Culture: Essays on Mental Structure, by Ray Jackendoff (The MIT Press, $19). Reviewed in the January–February 2008 issue.

Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved, by Frans de Waal; edited by Stephen Macedo and Josiah Ober (Princeton University Press, $14.95). Reviewed in the May-June 2007 issue.

Plutonium: A History of the World's Most Dangerous Element, by Jeremy Bernstein (Cornell University Press, $17.95). Reviewed in the May-June 2007 issue.

Barry Commoner and the Science of Survival: The Remaking of American Environmentalism, by Michael Egan (The MIT Press, $15). Reviewed in the January-February 2008 issue.

Bastard Tongues: A Trailblazing Linguist Finds Clues to Our Common Humanity in the World's Lowliest Languages, by Derek Bickerton (Hill and Wang, $15)

The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments, by George Johnson (Vintage Books, $13.95)

The Craftsman, by Richard Sennett (Yale University Press, $18)

Deadly Companions: How Microbes Shaped Our History, by Dorothy H. Crawford (Oxford University Press, $19.95)

Earth: The Sequel: The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming, by Fred Krupp and Miriam Horn, with a new afterword (W. W. Norton, $15.95)

The Man Who Shocked the World: The Life and Legacy of Stanley Milgram, by Thomas Blass, with a new afterword by the author (Basic Books, $16.95)

Compulsive Acts: A Psychiatrist's Tales of Ritual and Obsession, by Elias Aboujaoude (University of California Press, $15.95)

The Secret Pulse of Time: Making Sense of Life's Scarcest Commodity, by Stefan Klein (Lifelong Books, $14.95)

Break Through: Why We Can't Leave Saving the Planet to Environmentalists, by Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger (Mariner Books, $15.95)

 

NEW EDITIONS, REISSUES, UPDATES

Natural Acts: A Sidelong View of Science and Nature, revised and expanded edition with a new introduction, by David Quammen (W. W. Norton, $17.50)

The Discovery of Global Warming, revised and expanded edition, by Spencer R. Weart (Harvard University Press, $16.95)

Three books by R. Buckminster Fuller have been reissued in paperback by Lars Müller Publishers as a series edited by Jaime Snyder, who is Fuller's grandson: Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth, first published in 1969 ($19.95); Utopia or Oblivion: The Prospects for Humanity, also first published in 1969 ($29.95); and And It Came to Pass—Not to Stay, first published in 1976 ($19.95).

Lives of the Laureates: Twenty-three Nobel Economists, fifth edition, edited by William Breit and Barry T. Hirsch (The MIT Press, $29.95, cloth)

Responsible Conduct of Research, second edition, by Adil E. Shamoo and David B. Resnik (Oxford University Press, $39.95 paper)

Medical Anthropology in Ecological Perspective, fifth edition, edited by Ann McElroy and Patricia K. Townsend (Westview Press, $49, paper)

e: The Story of a Number, by Eli Maor, Princeton Science Library paperback reissue (Princeton University Press, $15.95)

 

COMING NEXT MONTH

Scientists' Bookshelf Monthly previews the May-June books section of American Scientist magazine, in which Michael T. Ghiselin reviews The Superorganism, Bert Hölldobler and Edward O. Wilson's natural history of the social insects; Cosma Shalizi considers What Is Intelligence?, James R. Flynn's attempt to explain the worldwide rise in IQ scores; and Frank L. Holt assesses Afghanistan, the National Geographic Society's catalog of artifacts from the National Museum in Kabul, edited by Fredrik Hiebert and Pierre Cambon.

 

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