by Richard Dawkins
About the book: Born to parents who were enthusiastic naturalists, and linked through his wider family to a clutch of accomplished scientists, Richard Dawkins was bound to have biology in his genes. But what were the influences that shaped his life? And who inspired him to become the pioneering scientist and public thinker now famous (and infamous to some) around the world? In An Appetite for Wonder we join him on a personal journey from an enchanting childhood in colonial Africa, through the eccentricities of boarding school in England, to his studies at the University of Oxford’s dynamic Zoology Department, which sparked his radical new vision of Darwinism, The Selfish Gene. Through Dawkins’s honest self-reflection, touching reminiscences and witty anecdotes, we are finally able to understand the private influences that shaped the public man who, more than anyone else in his generation, explained our own origins.
by Hope Jahren
About the book: A New York Times 2016 Notable Book National Best Seller Named one of TIME magazine’s "100 Most Influential People" An Amazon Top 20 Best Book of 2016 A Washington Post Best Memoir of 2016 A TIME and Entertainment Weekly Best Book of 2016 So Far An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren has built three laboratories in which she’s studied trees, flowers, seeds, and soil. Her first book is a revelatory treatise on plant life—but it is also so much more. Lab Girl is a book about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together. It is told through Jahren’s remarkable stories: about her childhood in rural Minnesota with an uncompromising mother and a father who encouraged hours of play in his classroom’s labs; about how she found a sanctuary in science, and learned to perform lab work done “with both the heart and the hands”; and about the inevitable disappointments, but also the triumphs and exhilarating discoveries, of scientific work. Yet at the core of this book is the story of a relationship Jahren forged with a brilliant, wounded man named Bill, who becomes her lab partner and best friend. Their sometimes rogue adventures in science take them from the Midwest across the United States and back again, over the Atlantic to the ever-light skies of the North Pole and to tropical Hawaii, where she and her lab currently make their home. Jahren’s probing look at plants, her astonishing tenacity of spirit, and her acute insights on nature enliven every page of this extraordinary book. Lab Girl opens your eyes to the beautiful, sophisticated mechanisms within every leaf, blade of grass, and flower petal. Here is an eloquent demonstration of what can happen when you find the stamina, passion, and sense of sacrifice needed to make a life out of what you truly love, as you discover along the way the person you were meant to be.
by Thomas Eisner
About the book: Imagine beetles ejecting defensive sprays as hot as boiling water; female moths holding their mates for ransom; caterpillars disguising themselves as flowers by fastening petals to their bodies; termites emitting a viscous glue to rally fellow soldiers--and you will have entered an insect world once beyond imagining, a world observed and described down to its tiniest astonishing detail by Thomas Eisner. The story of a lifetime of such minute explorations, For Love of Insects celebrates the small creatures that have emerged triumphant on the planet, the beneficiaries of extraordinary evolutionary inventiveness and unparalleled reproductive capacity. To understand the success of insects is to appreciate our own shortcomings, Eisner tells us, but never has a reckoning been such a pleasure. Recounting exploits and discoveries in his lab at Cornell and in the field in Uruguay, Australia, Panama, Europe, and North America, Eisner time and again demonstrates how inquiry into the survival strategies of an insect leads to clarifications beyond the expected; insects are revealed as masters of achievement, forms of life worthy of study and respect from even the most recalcitrant entomophobe. Filled with descriptions of his ingenious experiments and illustrated with photographs unmatched for their combination of scientific content and delicate beauty, Eisner's book makes readers participants in the grand adventure of discovery on a scale infinitesimally small, and infinitely surprising.
by Katy Payne
About the book: Details the pioneering research that has uncovered the fact that elephants communicate at a pitch lower than humans can detect, as a woman who has lived among them celebrates her time in Africa as well as the infinite connections between animals and people. 25,000 first printing. BOMC Alt.
by James Herriot
About the book: The second volume of memoirs from the author who inspired the BBC series All Creatures Great and Small Now settled into the sleepy Yorkshire village of Darrowby, and married to Helen the farmer’s daughter, James Herriot thinks he’s finally got himself sorted. But life as a vet in the 1930s was never going to be easy. Quite aside from his unpredictable colleagues, brother Siegfried and Tristan Farnon, he must contend with new-fangled medical techniques, delivering calves after far too much home-made wine, and a grudge-holding dog called Magnus who never forgets. And then, with Britain on the verge of war, James faces a decision that could separate him from Darrowby – and Helen – for ever... Since they were first published, James Herriot’s memoirs have sold millions of copies and entranced generations of animal lovers. Charming, funny and touching, All Things Bright and Beautiful is a heart-warming story of determination, love and companionship from one of Britain’s best-loved authors.
by Anne Collet
About the book: In Swimming with Giants, marine biologist Anne Collet describes the power and majesty of being close to some of natures most magnificent creatures. Combining science with a sense of adventure, she conveys the sheer excitement of her work, from riding the tail of a white whale to saving animals harmed by drift nets or toxic spills.
by James D. Watson Ph.D.
About the book: The story of the most significant biological breakthrough of the century - the discovery of the structure of DNA. 'It is a strange model and embodies several unusual features. However, since DNA is an unusual substance, we are not hesitant in being bold' By elucidating the structure of DNA, the molecule underlying all life, Francis Crick and James Watson revolutionised biochemistry. At the time, Watson was only 24. His uncompromisingly honest account of those heady days lifts the lid on the real world of great scientists, with their very human faults and foibles, their petty rivalries and driving ambition. Above all, he captures the extraordinary excitement of their desperate efforts to beat their rivals at King's College to the solution to one of the great enigmas of the life sciences.
by Richard Dawkins
About the book: In An Appetite for Wonder Richard Dawkins brought us his engaging memoir of the first 35 years of his life from early childhood in Africa to publication of The Selfish Gene in 1976, when he shot to fame as one of the most exciting new scientists of his generation. In Brief Candle in the Dark he continues his autobiography, following the threads that have run through the second half of his life so far and homing in on the key individuals, institutions and ideas that inspired and motivated him. He paints a vivid picture, coloured with wit, anecdote and digression, of the twenty-five postgraduate years he spent teaching at Oxford. He pays affectionate tribute to past colleagues and students, recalling the idiosyncrasies of an establishment steeped in ancient tradition and arcane ritual while also recording his respect for the profound commitment to learning and discovery that lies at its core. He invites us to share the life of a travelling scientist, from fieldwork on the Panama Canal to conferences of stratospheric eminence in exotic locations in the company of some of the most prominent of the world’s scientific luminaries. And he describes his experiences with his many publishers, television producers, interviewers and partners in debate, not least in the heady period when, after publication of The God Delusion in 2006, he is dubbed the world’s most outspoken and controversial atheist. Most important of all, for the first time he reviews with fresh and stimulating insights the evolving narrative of his ideas about science over the course of his highly distinguished career as thinker, teacher and writer. In Brief Candle in the Dark we are invited to enter with him a constantly stimulating world of discovery and to meet a fascinating cast of exceptional characters described by the talented pen of one of the most exceptional of them all.
by Oliver Sacks
About the book: ‘If you did not think that gallium and iridium could move you, this superb book will change your mind’ The Times In Uncle Tungsten Sacks evokes, with warmth and wit, his upbringing in wartime England. He tells of the large science-steeped family who fostered his early fascination with chemistry. There follow his years at boarding school where, though unhappy, he developed the intellectual curiosity that would shape his later life. And we hear of his return to London, an emotionally bereft ten-year-old who found solace in his passion for learning. Uncle Tungsten radiates all the delight and wonder of a boy’s adventures, and is an unforgettable portrait of an extraordinary young mind. ‘This book is both a heartwarming account of a delightful, eccentric family life and an inspiring record of a remarkable intellectual odyssey’ Mail on Sunday ‘The amalgamation of personal recollection and scientific history makes a luminous, inspiring book’ Sunday Telegraph ‘Uncle Tungsten is really about the raw joy of scientific understanding; what it is like to be a precocious child discovering the alchemical secrets of reality for the first time: the sheer thrill of finding intelligible patterns in nature’ Guardian