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Sunday, December 24, 2017

The best science books of 2017 | PRI - Arts, Culture & Media

This article is based on an interview that aired on PRI’s Science Friday with Ira Flatow. Check out the full list of 2017’s best science books at Science Friday

Brain Pickings founder Maria Popova, editor and founder of BrainPickings.org and a MIT Futures of Entertainment Fellow and Pulitzer Prize winner Deborah Blum, director of the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology join Ira Flatow to run down the year’s best science books. 


It’s that magical time of year, when Science Friday rounds up the best science books to hit shelves in 2017, according to Julia Franz, freelance writer who contributes to PRI.org.

Many great science-related books were published in 2017. Some of our favorites are detailed below.
Photo: Dom J/CC0. Image cropped.

Maria Popova, the founder and editor of Brain Pickings, and Deborah Blum, a Pulitzer Prize winner and the director of the Knight Science Journalism program at MIT, joined host Ira Flatow to share a few of their favorites. For their full list of picks, check out Science Friday's website.

"Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II," by Liza Mundy
For Blum, "Code Girls" was one of those books. “I sort of hounded my husband around the house, saying, ‘Let me read you this. Let me read you this. This is really amazing,’” she says. “And the book is a really riveting story of the women who — during World War II — were engaged in the secret … deciphering of codes, of both the Japanese and the German codes."

Code Girls:
The Untold Story of
the American Women
Code Breakers of World War II

Many of the women hadn’t had the chance to train as scientists, she says. “One of the things I love about the book is these were school teachers and actuaries and factory workers who just had an unusual gift for math and pattern and language. They came from small towns all around the country, and they went wholeheartedly into trying — as they saw it — to save the soldiers abroad, understand what was going on.”

"Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space," by Janna Levin
"Black Hole Blues" is so good that Popova used a loophole to include it on this year’s list. “It’s a book that was published last year, though the paperback came out a couple of months ago,” she says. “But what merits its inclusion this year — quite apart from the fact that it’s one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read in my entire life — is that it’s the definitive chronicle of the discovery that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in physics, which is certainly the most significant discovery in astrophysics in our lifetime, and probably since Galileo: the detection of gravitational waves, the sound of spacetime.”

Black Hole Blues
and Other Songs
from Outer Space

Listen to Janna Levin on Science Friday, and read an excerpt from Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space.

American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West, by Nate Blakeslee
“[It’s] the story of the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone, and it’s just so beautifully written,” Blum says. “I could not put the book down, even though — you know, it explores issues of politics and science and natural history and what it means to bring back an often-hated species into an ecosystem, and conflicts between hunters and scientists and biologists and wilderness.

American Wolf:
A True Story of Survival
and Obsession in the West

“You know, it wraps into this incredible story of wolves and who they are — the story of how we take care of the world around us.”
Read more...

Source: PRI   


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