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HOME > SCIENTISTS' NIGHTSTAND

Surviving a Perfect Storm

Fenella Saunders

A review of The Great Extinctions: What Causes Them and How They Shape Life, by Norman MacLeod


“The Sight That Met Us Was Shocking”

Dianne Timblin

A review of Bergen-Belsen 1945: A Medical Student's Journal, by Michael John Hargrave


The Monodromy of Love

Brian Hayes

A review of Love and Math: The Heart of Hidden Reality, by Edward Frenkel


“The Colonel Says”

Corey S. Powell

A review of An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going into Space Taught Me about Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything, by Chris Hadfield


Keeping the Holmes Fires Burning

Dianne Timblin

A review of The Scientific Sherlock Holmes: Cracking the Case with Science and Forensics, by James O’Brien, and Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, by Maria Konnikova


How to Best the Beast Within

Jenny Jennings Foerst

A review of THE BOOK OF BARELY IMAGINED BEINGS: A 21st Century Bestiary, by Caspar Henderson


Gridding Gotham

Tim Stallmann

A review of THE MEASURE OF MANHATTAN: The Tumultuous Career and Surprising Legacy of John Randel Jr., Cartographer, Surveyor, Inventor, by Marguerite Holloway


The Organ of Reality

Richard Wiggins

A review of TOUCHING A NERVE: The Self as Brain, by Patricia S. Churchland


The Greatest Show on Earth

Jenny Jennings Foerst

A review of WHAT ON EARTH? 100 of Our Planet’s Most Amazing New Species, by Quentin Wheeler and Sara Pennak


What Makes a Good Scientist?

Katie L. Burke

A review of LETTERS TO A YOUNG SCIENTIST, by Edward O. Wilson


The Life of a Star

Fenella Saunders

A review of STEPHEN HAWKING: Riddles of Time and Space, by Michael Lent and Brian McCarthy, with art by Zach Bassett


The Silver Lining

Fenella Saunders

A review of HIDDEN BEAUTY: Exploring the Aesthetics of Medical Science, by Norman Barker and Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue


States of Incandescence

Harold Green

A review of THE AGE OF EDISON: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America by Ernest Freeberg


Cetacean Portraits

Fenella Saunders

A review of BEAUTIFUL WHALE by Bryant Austin


Mind Games

David Schoonmaker

A brief review of A VERY SHORT TOUR OF THE MIND: 21 Short Walks Around the Human Brain by Michael C. Corballis


Time to Evolve

Katie L. Burke

A review of PALEOFANTASY: What Evolution Really Tells Us About Sex, Diet, and How We Live by Marlene Zuk


Editors' Note: Scientists' Nightstand

The Editors

This issue marks the debut of our new, brief and occasional books section


A Life with Whales

Hallie Sessoms

A brief review of Into Great Silence: A Memoir of Discovery and Loss among Vanishing Orcas, by Eva Saulitis


The Sharpest Eye in the Sky

Fenella Saunders

A brief review of Hubble's Universe: Greatest Discoveries and Latest Images, by Terence Dickinson


Two Antarctic Tales

David Schoonmaker

A brief review of em>Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent, by Gabrielle Walker, and Secrets of the Ice: Antarctica’s Clues to Climate, the Universe, and the Limits of Life, by Veronica Meduna


When the World Went Digital

Fenella Saunders

A review of Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe, by George Dyson


A Note from the Editors

After a nearly 70-year run, the Scientists’ Bookshelf will cease publication


Sparring with the Great Geometer

Brian Hayes

A review of The King of Infinite Space: Euclid and His Elements, by David Berlinski. “Berlinski offers a meditative monologue on Euclid’s place in the history of mathematics and the history of ideas,” says Hayes


Crafting a Narrative of Care

Julianne Lutz Warren

A review of On a Farther Shore: The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson, by William Souder. Souder’s sensitive and thorough biography of Carson, Warren writes, “helps us see her life work as crafting a narrative in which science is used to care for Earth”


A Theory of Theory of Mind

Michael Bérubé

A review of Getting Inside Your head, by Lisa Zunshine. Zunshine employs concepts from cognitive science to explain humans’ appetite for fictional scenes in which characters’ mental states are unintentionally revealed to us. This theory, says Bérubé, is “helpfully specific,” although the effort to extend it over a wide range of scenarios and art forms falls a bit flat


Imperial Imagery

Peter H. Raven

A review of Visible Empire: Botanical Expeditions and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment, by Daniela Bleichmar. Naturalists and artists on Spanish expeditions to the New World created thousands of botanical images; this well-researched book explores an archive of them


A Wealth of Complexities

Carol Dorf

A review of Complexities: Women in Mathematics, edited by Bettye Anne Case and Anne M. Leggett, and A Wealth of Numbers: An Anthology of 500 Years of Popular Mathematics Writing, edited by Benjamin Wardhaugh. These two very different anthologies open unique windows on mathematical history


Craniate Obsession

Katie L. Burke

A brief review of Skulls: An Exploration of Alan Dudley’s Curious Collection, by Simon Winchester, with photographs by Nick Mann


The Tinkerers

Fenella Saunders

A brief review of The Tinkerers: The Amateurs, DIYers, and Inventors Who Make America Great, by Alec Foege


The Fraught History of a Watery World

Nancy Langston

A review of The Big Muddy: An Environmental History of the Mississippi and Its Peoples, from Hernando de Soto to Hurricane Katrina, by Christopher Morris. Environmental and social issues converge at the mouth of the Mississippi River: Morris documents a history of repeated attempts to control the river's flow, many made at the expense of African Americans





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