A couple of established voices in science return this April to lead PW’s list of notables. Bestselling author and advocate Temple Grandin (with Richard Panek) couples the latest discoveries in autism science with examples of the myriad ways autism manifests itself in The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum. Meanwhile, inspired by Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, Edward O. Wilson, who was on this list just a year ago, reflects on his long, fruitful career as a teacher and researcher to inspire future generations of curious, creative scientists with his Letters to a Young Scientist.

The history of the trait that makes great scientists takes center stage in Philip Ball’s Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything. He investigates how and when curiosity changed from a vice to a virtue in the Scientific Revolution of the 16th to 18th centuries. Thus it’s fitting that we dubbed a mechanical proxy Curiosity and sent it 350 million miles to uncover the secrets of Mars, the 21st-century New World. Roger Wiens charts the history of the rover and its robotic kin in Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration, from Genesis to the Mars Rover Curiosity.

Closer to home, Dan Fagin unearths a tale from the dark underbelly of technological progress, profiling a few brave individuals who did not keep silent about pollution and its effects on their town, in Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation. Elsewhere in the world of corporate malfeasance, Ben Goldacre takes on the pharmaceutical industry in his chilling exposé of data manipulation and research misconduct, Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients.

Emily Anthes tackles a topic that straddles a more amorphous ethical boundary in Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts. As modern animal biotechnology quickly moves from science fiction to reality, Anthes highlights the peril and promise tied to our scientific superpowers. And contrary to the doom and gloom noted by Fagin and Goldacre, there are plenty of positive developments in the worlds of medicine and biology. Jessica Wapner’s The Philadelphia Chromosome: A Mutant Gene and the Quest to Cure Cancer at the Genetic Level is the story of one of the most consequential medical discoveries of the 21st century, the first successful cancer treatment at the genetic level, and how doctors and scientists race to uncover and treat the genetic roots of a range of cancers.

Moving from living creatures to long-dead ones, dinosaur fanatic Brian Switek investigates the tension between dinosaurs as scientific objects and pop culture icons as he introduces readers to the giant beasts in My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs. He questions what we’ve long held true about these creatures, as it’s only by piecing together the clues they left behind that we can begin to understand ourselves.

Renowned astrophysicist Mario Livio rounds out the list with his history, Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein—Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe. Drawing on the lives of five celebrated scientists, he shows how their major errors were an essential part of the process of achieving scientific breakthroughs. Collectively they helped to further our knowledge of the evolution of life, the Earth, and the universe. Long live our propensity to ask crazy—and risky—questions.

PW’s Top 10: Science

The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum. Temple Grandin and Richard Panek. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Apr.

Letters to a Young Scientist. Edward O. Wilson. W.W. Norton/Liveright, Apr.

Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything. Philip Ball. Univ. of Chicago Press, Apr.

Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration, from Genesis to the Mars Rover Curiosity. Roger Wiens. Basic Books, Mar.

Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation. Dan Fagin. Bantam, Mar.

Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients. Ben Goldacre. Faber & Faber, Feb.

Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts. Emily Anthes. FSG/Scientific American, Mar.

The Philadelphia Chromosome: A Mutant Gene and the Quest to Cure Cancer at the Genetic Level. Jessica Wapner. The Experiment, May

My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs. Brian Switek. FSG/Scientific American, Apr.

Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein—Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe. Mario Livio. Simon and Schuster, May

Science Listings

Atlantic Books

(dist. by IPG)

The Things That Nobody Knows: 501 Mysteries of Life, the Universe and Everything by William Hartston (Apr. 1, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-0857896223) presents a rigorous and playful exploration of human limits in scientific knowledge about the planet, its history and culture, and the universe beyond.


Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation by Dan Fagin (Mar. 19, hardcover, $28.00, ISBN 978-0553806533) A detective story rooted in a scientific quest thousands of years old, here is a tale of corporate avarice, government neglect, and deceptions in broad daylight, and of a few brave individuals who would not keep silent.

Basic Books

Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration, from Genesis to the Mars Rover Curiosity by Roger Wiens (Mar. 12, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0465055982). Mars is the 21st-century New World, its explorer a robot shipped 350 million miles to uncover the planet’s secrets.

Brainwashed: How We Are Seduced by Mindless Neuroscience by Sally Satel and Scott O. Lilienfeld (June 4, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0465018772). This provocative challenge to the use and abuse of a seductive science offers a corrective to determinist explanations of human behavior.

Probably Approximately Correct: Nature’s Algorithms for Learning and Prospering in a Complex World by Leslie Valiant (June 4, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0465032716). Computer scientist Valiant reveals the computational nature of evolution and learning and how computers might possess intelligence.

How We Do It: The Evolution and Future of Human Reproduction by Robert Martin (June 11, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0465030156). Primatologist Martin locates the origins of what’s really “natural” when it comes to making and raising babies, drawing on 40 years of research to consider what worked, what didn’t, and what it means for the future of our species.

Bellevue Literary Press

(dist. by Consortium)

Leonardo’s Foot: How 10 Toes, 52 Bones, and 66 Muscles Shaped the Human World by Carol Ann Rinzler (June 11, trade paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1934137628) brings page after page of fascinating facts about human feet and their surprising role in human culture, history, and evolution.

Black Dog & Leventhal

(dist. by Workman)

Mad Science 2: Experiments You Can Do at Home, But Still Probably Shouldn’t by Theodore Gray (May 7, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1579129323). Popular Science columnist Gray is back with a second volume of 50 visually spectacular experiments that demonstrate basic principles of chemistry and physics.

Bloomsbury Press

The Attacking Ocean: The Past, Present, and Future of Rising Sea Levels by Brian Fagan (June 11, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1608196920) tells of the increasing complexity of the relationship between humans and the sea, a complexity created not by the oceans, which have changed little, but us, and our numbers on earth.

Carlton Publishing Group

(dist. by IPG)

Are there Rainbows on the Moon?: Over 200 Weird & Wonderful Science Questions Answered by Erwin Brecher and Mike Gerrard (Apr. 1, hardcover, $16.95, ISBN 978-1780971070). With more than 200 fascinating science puzzles and queries, this engaging book looks at puzzle questions based only on real world science.

Charlesbridge/Imagine Publishing

Bizarre Weather: Howling Winds, Pouring Rain, Blazing Heat, Freezing Cold, Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Tsunamis, Tornadoes, and More of Nature’s Fury by Joanne O’Sullivan (Feb. 1, trade paper, $7.95, ISBN 978-1936140725) describes extreme weather around the world, how some of these events happen, and why other phenomena remains shrouded in mystery.

Chicago Review Press

(dist. by IPG)

Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction 3: Build Siege Weapons of the Dark Ages by John Austin (May 1, trade paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1613745489). Austin’s handy resource teaches desktop warriors how to build a multitude of medieval siege weapons for the modern era utilizing easy-to-find and inexpensive materials.

Columbia Univ. Press

The Engine of Complexity: Evolution as Computation by John E. Mayfield (July 9, hardcover, $34.50, ISBN 978-0231163040) elegantly offers a new multidisciplinary approach to understanding how evolution works and how complex organisms, structures, organizations, and social orders can and do arise.


Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction by Annalee Newitz (May 14, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0385535915) focuses readers’ attention on humanity’s long history of dodging the bullet of extinction and suggests practical ways to keep doing it.


The Universe in the Rearview Mirror: How Hidden Symmetries Shape Reality by Dave Goldberg (July 11, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0525953661) From the Higgs boson and antimatter to the most massive group of galaxies, the universe is shaped by hidden symmetries that have driven all recent discoveries about the universe.

ECW Press

(dist. by IPG)

The Origin of Feces: What Excrement Tells Us About Evolution, Ecology, and a Sustainable Society by David Waltner-Toews (May 1, trade paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1770411166) shows how integral excrement is to biodiversity, agriculture, public health, food production and distribution, and global ecosystems.

Elliott & Thompson

(dist. by IPG)

Deceived Wisdom: Why What You Thought Was Right Is Wrong by David Bradley (Apr. 1, hardcover, $19.95, ISBN 978-1908739346) debunks popular science myths and proves traditional wisdom wrong as it answers questions and question answers people have accepted for a long time.

Faber & Faber

Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients by Ben Goldacre (Feb. 5, hardcover, $28.00, ISBN 978-0865478008) diagnoses the rotten heart of the medical-industrial complex and calls for solutions to fix a broken system.

FSG/Scientific American

Frankenstein’s Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech’s Brave New Beasts by Emily Anthes (Mar. 12, hardcover, $26.00, ISBN 978-0374158590) explores modern animal biotechnology, taking readers from petri dish to pet store into a world where science fiction is fast becoming reality.

My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs by Brian Switek (Apr. 16, hardcover, $26.00, ISBN 978-0374135065)investigates the tension between dinosaurs as scientific objects and pop culture icons, (re)introducing readers to the giant beasts.


Pieces of Light: How the New Science of Memory Illuminates the Stories We Tell About Our Pasts by Charles Fernyhough (Mar. 19, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0062237897) blends up-to-date science with literature and personal stories, providing an illuminating look at human memory—the way we remember and forget.

Harper Design

Wonders of Life: Exploring the Most Extraordinary Force in the Universe by Brian Cox (May 7, hardcover, $29.99, ISBN 978-0062238832) is the definitive companion to the Discovery Science channel series hosted Cox and premiering June 2013. Cox uncovers the secrets of life in unexpected locations and in stunning detail.


Erasing Death: The Science That Is Rewriting the Boundaries Between Life and Death by Sam Parnia and Josh Young (Feb. 26, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0062080608). A leading expert on the scientific study of death has developed a new approach to resuscitation and claims that death is reversible, redefining conceptions of consciousness and when death occurs.

Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design by Stephen C. Meyer (June 4, hardcover, $28.99, ISBN 978-0062071477) continues the author’s attack on established evolutionary theory and attempts a scientific argument for intelligent design.

Almost Human: What 73 Chimpanzees Taught Me About Life, Love, and Connection by Sheri Speede (July 16, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0062132482). The founder of Cameroon’s Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center offers a touching and scientifically compelling memoir about the relationship between humans and primates, bringing attention to the surprisingly complex emotional lives of chimpanzees.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe by Lee Smolin (Apr. 23, hardcover, $28.00, ISBN 978-0547511726) offers a radical new approach to cosmology that embraces the reality of time and explains in lively and lucid prose how the true nature of time influences the world.

The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum by Temple Grandin and Richard Panek (Apr. 30, hardcover, $28.00, ISBN 978-0547636450) From Silicon Valley “aspies” to the five-year-old without language, this is a cutting-edge account of the latest autism science from the most respected and popular voices in the field.

Little, Brown

The End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light by Paul Bogard (July 9, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0316182904) restores awareness of the spectacularly primal, wildly dark night sky and how it has influenced human experience from science to art.

W.W. Norton

Anatomies: A Cultural History of the Human Body by Hugh Aldersey-Williams (June 3, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0393239881) is an engaging sweep from ancient body art to modern plastic surgery. Join Aldersey-Williams on a tour through extraordinary internal secrets that reveal a treasure trove of surprising facts and stories.

The Inheritor's Powder: A Tale of Arsenic, Murder, and the New Forensic Science by Sandra Hempel (July 8, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0393239713). In the early 19th century, arsenic was so frequently used by potential benefi-ciaries of wills that it was nicknamed “the inheritor’s powder.” Hempel relates the infamous murder investigation that changed forever the way poisoners were brought to justice.

Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We Live by Marlene Zuk (March 18, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0393081374) delivers an engrossing analysis of widespread pseudoscientific myths—from the caveman diet to unraveled gender stereotypes—about our evolutionary past and the scientific evidence that undermines them.

The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates by Frans de Waal (March 25, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0393073775). This lively and illuminating discussion of landmark research from the esteemed primatologist shows how moral behavior does not begin and end with religion, but is in fact a product of evolution.

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach (April, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0393081572). “America’s funniest science writer” meet scientists who tackle the questions no one else thinks—or has the courage—to ask about what goes on deep down the hatch.

W.W. Norton/Liveright

Letters to a Young Scientist by Edward O. Wilson (Apr. 15, hardcover, $21.95, ISBN 978-0871403773) Inspired by Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, Wilson has distilled 60 years of teaching into a book for students, young and old, to instill a love of the innate creativity of science and a respect for humans’ modest place in the planet’s ecosystem.

William Morrow

Why Science Does Not Disprove God by Amir Aczel (July 9, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0062230591). Renowned mathematician, physicist, and science writer Aczel offers a clear-eyed presentation of the position that empirical science and faith in a creator are not mutually exclusive.

National Geographic

Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration by Buzz Aldrin and Leonard David (May 7, hardcover, $26.00, ISBN 978-1426210174). Legendary “space statesman” Aldrin advocates for continuing quests to push the boundaries of the universe as we know it.

Oxford Univ. Press

A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest by William deBuys (May, trade paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-0199974672) paints a compelling picture of what the Southwest might look like when the heat turns up and the water runs out.

Green Equilibrium: The Vital Balance of Humans and Nature by Christopher Wills (May, hardcover, $34.95, ISBN 978-0199645701) explains the rules by which ecosystems thrive, shining light on a set of ecological balancing acts that keep the world vibrant, verdant, and ecologically intact; color photos.

The Joy of Pain: Schadenfreude and the Dark Side of Human Nature by Richard H. Smith (July 31, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0199734542) explore the pleasure we take in the pain of others and what it tells us about human nature.

Palgrave Macmillan

Against Their Will: The Secret History of Medical Experimentation on Children in Cold War America by Allen Hornblum, Judith Lynn Newmanz, and Gregory J. Dober (June 25, hardcover, $26.00, ISBN 978-0230341715) uncovers the Cold War alliance between American scientists, pharmaceutical companies, and the U.S. military that pushed the medical establishment into ethically fraught territory.

The Ageless Generation: How Advances in Biomedicine Will Transform the Global Economy by Alex Zhavoronkov (July 2, hardcover, $27.00, ISBN 978-0230342200) offers an intriguing look into advances in biomedical science and their impact on the future of healthcare, retirement, and the global economy.

Princeton Univ. Press

The Milky Way: An Insider’s Guide by William H. Waller (Apr. 21, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0691122243) is an intimate grand tour of our home galaxy, revealing its structure, genesis, and evolution, based on the latest astronomical findings.

Odd Couples: Extraordinary Differences between the Sexes in the Animal Kingdom by Daphne J. Fairbairn (Apr. 28, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0691141961) looks at some of the most amazing creatures on the planet and sheds light on some surprising gender differences in nature and what it means to be male or female in the animal kingdom.

Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age by W. Bernard Carlson (May 26, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0691057767) reveals an idealist inventor who sought the perfect experimental realization of a great idea or principle, and who skillfully sold his inventions to the public through mythmaking and illusion.

Profile Books

(dist. by Consortium)

Farmer Buckley’s Exploding Trousers: and Other Odd Events on the Way to Scientific Discovery by Stephanie Pain (Apr. 16, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1846685088). These irresistible stories reveal little-known byways of scientific progress, where setbacks and mishaps are the norm, breakthroughs are the exception, and advances meant to improve people’s lives can spectacularly backfire.

Prometheus Books

The Efficiency Trap: Finding a Better Way to Achieve a Sustainable Energy Future by Steve Hallett (Apr. 1, trade paper, $18, ISBN 978-1616147259). In this surprising new look at sustainability and conservation, environmentalist Hallett argues that more energy efficiency leads to more consumption, faster depletion of resources, and more stress on the planet.

Rocket Girl: The Story of America’s First Female Rocket Scientist by George D. Morgan (July 1, trade paper, $18.00, ISBN 978-1616147396). The author’s mother, Mary Sherman Morgan, was America’s first woman rocket scientist, who made crucial contributions to launching the U.S.’s first satellite; Morgan’s labyrinthine journey uncovers her lost legacy.

The Way of Science: Finding Truth and Meaning in a Scientific Worldview by Dennis R. Trumble (July 1, trade paper, $20.00, ISBN 978-1616147556). At a time of daunting environmental challenges and rampant misinformation, Trumble shows that science can convey a profound sense of wonder, connectedness, and optimism about the human condition.

Simon & Schuster

Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein—Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe by Mario Livio (May 14, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1439192368) draws on the lives of five celebrated scientists, showing how even these geniuses made major mistakes and how their errors were an essential part of achieving scientific breakthroughs.


(dist. by Norton)

Biotechnology in Our Lives: What Cutting-Edge Genetic Research Can Tell You About Gene Patents, Human Cloning, Assisted Reproduction, Predicting Criminal Behavior, Bioweapons, and Much More by Jeremy Gruber and Sheldon Krimsky (June 1, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1620875735) is a fascinating look at the history of contemporary biology from the Council for Responsible Genetics on its 30th anniversary.

Smithsonian Books

Your Ticket to the Universe: A Guide to Exploring the Cosmos by Kimberly K. Arcand and Megan Watzke, foreword by Mario Livio (Apr. 2, trade paper, $24.95, ISBN 978-1588343758) An entertaining and accessible trip to the most interesting stops known in the cosmos.

St. Martin’s Press

Extra Sensory: The Science and Pseudoscience of Telepathy and Other Powers of the Mind by Brian Clegg (May 21, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1250019066). Is there any solid evidence for psi abilities like telepathy, telekinesis, and remote viewing? Clegg looks at possible physical mechanisms, allowing readers to decide if this is wishful thinking or a fascinating reality.

Thames & Hudson

Are We Being Watched?: The Search for Life in the Cosmos by Paul Murdin (Apr. 29, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0500516713) digs through an extraordinary array of evidence and, applying the latest scientific discoveries and theories to inquire whether life exists on other planets and what forms it might take.

The Experiment

(dist. by Workman)

The Philadelphia Chromosome: A Mutant Gene and the Quest to Cure Cancer at the Genetic Level by Jessica Wapner (May 14, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-1615190676) relates the story of the one of the most important, medical discoveries of the 21st century, the first successful cancer treatment at the genetic level, and how cancer research works today.

We Are All Stardust: Informal Conversations with World-Leading Scientists on Their Work and Lives by Stefan Klein, trans. by Ross Benjamin (June 18, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1615190591) collects 19 conversations between noted science writer Klein and prominent scientists that shed light on the lives behind the scientific studies and discoveries that shape our world.

St. Martin’s/Dunne

Maverick Genius: The Pioneering Odyssey of Freeman Dyson by Phillip F. Schewe (Feb. 26, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0312642358). Schewe profiles the life of one of the most innovative thinkers of our time—the man who changed the way we think about science today.

Transaction Publishers

Science Wars: Politics, Gender, and Race by Anthony Walsh (June 30, hardcover, $34.95, ISBN 978-1412851633) focuses on academic debates on gender and race, questioning how biologists are influenced by the culture in which they work.


Denial: Self-Deception, False Beliefs, and the Origins of the Human Mind by Ajik Varki (June 4, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1455511914) Our ability to understand the minds of others requires crossing a psychological barrier, which gives us the uniquely human ability to deny reality in the face of inarguable evidence.

Univ. Of Chicago Press

Darwin Deleted: Imagining a World Without Darwin by Peter J. Bowler (Mar. 22, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0226068671) In this remarkable rethinking of scientific history, Bowler imagines what the world would be like if Darwin had not returned from the voyage of the Beagle and thus did not write On the Origin of Species.

Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything by Philip Ball (Apr. 5, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0226045795) Now seen as an essential component of the scientific mission, there was a time when curiosity was condemned. Ball investigates how it became permissible to ask any and every question about the world.

Swordfish: A Biography of the Ocean Gladiator by Richard Ellis (Apr. 15, hardcover, $26.00, ISBN 978-0226922904). Graced with many of his own drawings and paintings, Ellis’s detailed and fascinating fact-filled biography provides a complete history.

Stung!: On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean by Lisa-ann Gershwin, foreword by Sylvia Earle (May 1, hardcover, $27.50, ISBN 978-0226020105). Despite their role as harbingers of marine destruction, jellyfish are enthralling creatures in their own right, and Gershwin shares unusual facts about their behavior and environmental adaptations.

The Longevity Seekers: Science, Business, and the Fountain of Youth by Ted Anton (May 1, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0226020938) takes readers inside a tale that began with lab worms and branched out to snare innovative minds worldwide, offering a behind-the-scenes look at research and the impact it has on public health and society.

The Lost World of Fossil Lake: Snapshots from Deep Time by Lance Grande (May 15, hardcover, $45, ISBN 978-0226922966). Paleontologists have conducted excavations at Fossil Butte for more than 150 years, and Grande, one of the world’s leading experts on the fossils from this spectacular locality, presents a comprehensive portrait of the site.

Univ. Of Minnesota Press

Cosmic Apprentice: Dispatches from the Edges of Science by Dorion Sagan (May 1, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0816681358). In these eclectic, witty, and rigorously crafted essays, Sagan challenges readers to reject both dogma and cliché, and recover the intellectual spirit of adventure that should—and can once again animate both science and philosophy.

Yale Univ. Press

Ginkgo: The Tree That Time Forgot by Peter Crane, illus. by Pollyanna von Knorring (Mar. 19, hardcover, $40, ISBN 978-0300187519). Inspired by the historic ginkgo in London’s Kew Gardens, botanist Crane explores the history and cultural significance of this tree from its mysterious origin through its proliferation, drastic decline, and ultimate resurgence.

The Incidental Steward: Reflections on Citizen Science by Akiko Busch, illus. by Debby Cotter Kaspari (Apr. 22, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0300178791) combines vivid natural history, a deep sense of place, and reflection about our changing world in these musings on the expanding potential of citizens acting as scientists in their own environments.