Top 10 Science Books

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Hamalas

whippersnapper
I'm guessing most of us on this board tend to read a lot, but if you're like me you probably find yourself reading lots of theology, history, literature, and philosophy but hardly any science. I'm wondering if the more science-savvy among us would care to give a list of some of their top recommendations of science books for laypeople to read. Especially for those of us who wish we had payed a bit more attention to our high school and college courses!

Any thoughts? What would be your top recommendations in science for the lay-person? (And I'm not specifically looking for just Creation science resources. Those are fine, but I'm thinking more broadly).
 

RamistThomist

Puritanboard Clerk
General Science? Philosophy of Science? CNN Tactics against Christians? What type of books?

Here is what came to mind from my shelf:

Kuhn, Thomas. Structure of Scientific Revolutions
Moreland, J. P. He wrote a book on science; can't remember the title.
Hawking, Stephen. A Brief History of Time
Pearcey, Nancy, The Soul of Science
 

Hamalas

whippersnapper
General science. Again, I think most of us probably read a fair number of books that would address the philosophy of science, its relation to theology and faith, and the ideology of Scientism. I'm just looking for some good general examples of scientific work for the lay-person. Is there a particular series that's good?
 

mgkortus

Puritan Board Freshman
Here are my recommendations. I tried to order them by how strongly I recommend each one. The first group, represents more general reading, mostly within biological sciences (my area of interest). The second group of books deals more with the false dichotomy behind faith and science (creation vs evolution).

Emperor of all Maladies - Siddhartha Mukherjee
Spillover - David Quammen
A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson
Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks - Rebecca Skloot
Double Helix - James Watson
One Renegade Cell - Robert Weinberg
Tale of Dueling Neurosurgeons - Sam Kean
Fabric of the Cosmos - Brian Greene

Who Made God - Edgar Andrews (reviewed in Standard Bearer)
Why Evolution is True - Jerry Coyne
The Language of God - Francis Collins
Science and Its Limits - Del Ratzsch

I include a staunch defense of evolution, not because I agree with the claims, but because I am a firm believer in reading both sides of the equation. Coyne is a much better option that Dawkins. Francis Collins is worth reading, as he is the driving force behind the BioLogos initiative, not to mention a world-renowned scientist.

Hope this helps...
 

Logan

Puritan Board Senior
Emperor of All Maladies is indeed excellent. It's a good primer to cancer, statistics, and the limits of studies and how scientists and patients are all human, with the corresponding limitations and shortsightedness.
 

Afterthought

Puritan Board Senior
I don't read much popsci, so I can't make a list. But here are a few books I have heard of or did read once.

These two I enjoyed in high school. Because it was so long ago, I don't know how correct they are, but I also don't recall having to make too many corrections to the impressions I received from them once I learned the stuff on a technical level.

Simply Einstein: Relativity Demystified

Quantum: A Guide for the Perplexed


Here's a book that my quantum professor liked and recommended his students to read. I never did get to reading it, but I did read a portion of it, and it seems well written and is likely accurate.

The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn by Louisa Gilder.


Brian Greene has been mentioned a couple of times. He has a few books and so might be considered a "series." I know Lee Smolin has also written some books that are popular. If you are into gravity and willing to do a little more work (but not beyond algebra; and even the algebra can be skipped), I have heard good things about Schutz's Gravity from the Ground Up, which also seems to cover other related topics. I also found some lists of books here and here, but not all of them are on the layman level. I've also at least heard of In Search of Schrodinger's Cat by John Gribbin, so it might be good.


I also noticed Peter Atkins has some books on Thermodynamics, but I don't know if they do what you are looking for. Probably worth taking a look to see if they do.


Here's a series I found in my university library, but I don't recall whether it is on the layman level. At least it is a series: The World of Physics.
 

Hamalas

whippersnapper
This is super helpful guys, thanks! Keep 'em coming! Also, as Raymond mentioned, perhaps finding authors who right solid popular science is another good way to go. Any particular authors who are dependable reads for the layman?
 

Nate

Puritan Board Junior
Emperor of all Maladies - Siddhartha Mukherjee
Spillover - David Quammen
A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson
Double Helix - James Watson
One Renegade Cell - Robert Weinberg
Tale of Dueling Neurosurgeons - Sam Kean

Why Evolution is True - Jerry Coyne

I second these particular suggestions by Matt. I find that these in particular are trustworthy authors who present solid narratives of the history and principles of science for the layman. They are also well-written and enjoyable to read.

I also enjoyed:

What Darwin Got Wrong - Jerry Fodor & Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini

This is an interesting counter to some evolutionary principles by two staunch atheists.
 

Nate

Puritan Board Junior
Actually - the book by Watson is definitely fascinating but you do have to watch out for his bias against Rosalind Franklin and as well as his enormous ego.
 
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