Fever season : the story of a terrifying epidemic and the people who saved a city, by Jeanette Keith
An account of the 1878 yellow fever epidemic documents how it killed more than 18,000 people in the American South, tracing its particularly catastrophic impact in Memphis, Tennessee, as recorded in diaries and official records while noting the heroic efforts of people who remained behind to help.
Future perfect : the case for progress in a networked age, by Steven Johnson
Future Perfect makes the case that a new model of political change is on the rise, transforming everything from local governments to classrooms, from protest movements to health care. Johnson paints a compelling portrait of this new political worldview -- influenced by the success and interconnectedness of the Internet, but not dependent on high-tech solutions -- that breaks with the conventional categories of liberal or conservative thinking.
Higgs: the invention and discovery of the God Particle, by Jim Boggott
The hunt for the Higgs particle has involved the biggest, most expensive experiment ever. There was much at stake our basic model for the building blocks of the Universe, the Standard Model, would have been in tatters if there was no Higgs particle. Here, Jim Baggott explains the science behind the discovery, and its implications.
Ignorance: how it drives science, by Stuart Firestein
Contrary to the popular view of science as a mountainous accumulation of facts and data, Firestein takes the novel perspective that Ignorance is the main product and driving force of science, and that this is the best way to understand the process of scientific discovery.
Lost Antarctica: adventures in a disappearing land , by James B. McClintock
The bitter cold and three months a year without sunlight make Antarctica virtually uninhabitable for humans. Yet a world of extraordinary wildlife persists in these harsh conditions, including leopard seals, giant squid, 50-foot algae, sea spiders, coral, multicolored sea stars, and giant predatory worms. Now, as temperatures rise, this fragile ecosystem is under attack. One of the world's foremost experts on Antarctica gives a highly original and distinctive look at a world that is disappearing.
On a Farther Shore: the life and legacy of Rachel Carson, by William Souder
Published to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Silent Spring, an in-depth portrait of the biologist and reformer examines how she helped to raise awareness of the natural world, the importance of conservation and the dangers of synthetic pesticides. Published in 1962, Silent Spring shocked the public and forced the government to take action-despite a withering attack on Carson from the chemicals industry. The book awakened the world to the heedless contamination of the environment and eventually led to the establishment of the EPA and to the banning of DDT and a host of related pesticides. By drawing frightening parallels between dangerous chemicals and the then-pervasive fallout from nuclear testing, Carson opened a fault line between the gentle ideal of conservation and the more urgent new concept of environmentalism.
The Scientists: a family romance., by Marco Roth
With the precociousness expected of the only child of a doctor and a classical musician--from the time he could get his toddler tongue to a pronounce a word like "De-oxy ribonucleic acid," or recite a French poem--Marco Roth was able to share his parents' New York, a world centered around house concerts, a private library of literary classics, and dinner discussions of the latest advances in medicine. That world ended when his father started to suffer the worst effects of the AIDS virus that had infected him in the early 1980s. What this family could not talk about for years came to dominate the lives of its surviving members, often in unexpected ways. The Scientists is a story of how we first learn from our parents and how we then learn to see them as separate individuals; it's a story of how precociousness can slow us down when it comes to knowing about our desires and other people's. A memoir of parents and children that grapples with a troubled intellectual and emotional inheritance, in a style that is both elegiac and defiant.
Spark of life: electricity in the human body, by Frances Ashcroft
What happens during a heart attack? Can someone really die of fright? What is death, anyway? How does electroshock treatment affect the brain? What is consciousness? The answers to these questions lie in the electrical signals constantly traveling through our bodies, driving our thoughts, our movements, and even the beating of our hearts. The history of how scientists discovered the role of electricity in the human body is a colorful one, filled with extraordinary personalities, fierce debates, and brilliant experiments. Moreover, present-day research on electricity and ion channels has created one of the most exciting fields in science, shedding light on conditions ranging from diabetes and allergies to cystic fibrosis, migraines, and male infertility.
Spillover: animal infections and the next human pandemic, by David Quammen
Examines the emergence and causes of new diseases all over the world, describing a process called "spillover" where illness originates in wild animals before being passed to humans and discusses the potential for the next huge pandemic. You may nott want to read this before you go to bed.