cover image The Best American Science and Nature Writing

The Best American Science and Nature Writing

. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $14 (330pp) ISBN 978-0-618-83447-1

Groopman (How Doctors Think) has collected a wide range of articles, from futurology to forensics, for this sparkling entry in Tim Folger's annual series. In ""Our Biotech Future,"" Freeman Dyson claims that ""the century of biology"" is upon us, when biotechnology ""follows the path of the computer industry, giving ""the tools of genetic engineering become accessible"" to the average breeder of animals or plants. In a New Yorker article, Jeffrey Toobin compares forensic experts who actually give testimony in court to the characters in tevelvision's C.S.I. series. Christopher Conselice, in ""The Universe's Invisible Hand,"" discusses how the 1998 discovery of ""so-called dark energy"" in the universe has led some scientists to create models predicting that its evolution might ""rip apart"" existing galaxies. Robin Marantz Henig warns in ""Our Silver-coated Future"" that there may be serious unforeseen risks in unchecked use of nanotechnology, especially the most commonly used, ""nanosilver,"" an ""antimicrobial"" added to many consumer products. Though prolific readers may argue over the ""best"" moniker, each piece more than exceeds Groopman's standards (""novel and surprising arguments, protagonists who articulate their themes in clear, cogent voices, and vivid cinema""), making this a delight for any fan of popular science.