This spring’s science list has everything: climate change, eclipses, animal behavior, the relationship between biology and culture, groundbreaking neuroscience, genetics, and bioengineering.
Beyond Infinity: An Expedition to the Outer Limits of Mathematics
Eugenia Cheng. Basic, Mar. 28
The charming musician, chef, and mathematician takes readers on a staggering journey from math at its most elemental to its loftiest abstractions.
The Body Builders: Inside the Science of the Engineered Human
Adam Piore. Ecco, Mar. 14
Piore dives into the current revolution in human augmentation and bioengineering to see how it may help people transcend the boundaries of bodies and minds.
Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History
Bill Schutt. Algonquin, Feb. 14
Schutt introduces readers to the history of this strange and largely horrifying behavior, and outlines the factors that lead to outbreaks in other species and our own.
Mask of the Sun: The Science, History, and Forgotten Lore of Eclipses
John Dvorak. Pegasus, Mar. 7
Revealing the humanism behind the science of lunar and solar eclipses, Dvorak explains with insightful detail and vivid prose how and why eclipses occur, and provides insight into the total solar eclipse coming in summer 2017.
Mercies in Disguise: A Story of Hope, a Family’s Genetic Destiny, and the Science That Rescued Them
Gina Kolata. St. Martin’s, Mar. 21
New York Times science reporter Kolata follows a South Carolina family through its reckoning with genetic illness and one courageous daughter’s determination to disrupt her destiny.
James Hansen. Sigma, May 16
Hansen’s moving and insightful letters to his granddaughter Sophie offer a fascinating glimpse at environmental research and policy, as well as a clarion call for the future of the climate change fight.
The Strange Order of Things: The Biological Roots of Culture
Antonio Damasio. Pantheon, June 6
This multidiscliplinary investigation into homeostasis doubles as a landmark reflection on the origins of life, mind, and culture.
The Vacation Guide to the Solar System
Olivia Koski and Jana Grcevich. Penguin, June 6
This illustrated planning guide for the curious space adventurer covers all of the essentials for your next voyage, how to get there, and what to do when you arrive.
The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics, and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease
Meredith Wadman. Viking, Feb. 7
Wadman covers the story of how political roadblocks nearly stopped the race to develop the first widely used normal human cell line and, through it, some of the world’s most important vaccines.
Why? What Makes Us Curious
Mario Livio. Simon & Schuster, July 11
Astrophysicist Livio explores the nature of curiosity, investigates why it’s essential to art and science, and talks with several multidisciplinary superstars to find out what drives them.
Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History by Bill Schutt (Feb. 14, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-61620-462-4). As it happens, eating one’s own kind is completely natural behavior in thousands of species, including humans. Schutt introduces readers to the history of this behavior and outlines the factors that lead to outbreaks of cannibalism.
The Greatest Story Ever Told—So Far: Why Are We Here? by Lawrence M. Krauss (Mar. 21, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-4767-7761-0) blends rigorous research and engaging storytelling to invite readers into the lives and minds of the remarkable, creative scientists who have helped to unravel the unexpected fabric of reality.
Woolly: The True Story of the De-Extinction of One of History’s Most Iconic Creatures by Ben Mezrich (July 4, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-5011-3555-2) weaves a story of genetics with accounts of brave fossil hunters, the race against global warming, the incredible power of modern technology, and the ethical quandary of cloning extinct animals.
Beyond Infinity: An Expedition to the Outer Limits of Mathematics by Eugenia Cheng (Mar. 28, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-465-09481-3). What’s bigger than infinity and smaller than its opposite? The hilarious and charming musician, chef, and mathematician offers some answers on this staggering journey from math at its most elemental to its loftiest abstractions.
Scienceblind: Why Our Intuitive Theories About the World Are So Often Wrong by Andrew Shtulman (Apr. 25, hardcover, $29, ISBN 978-0-465-05394-0). The cognitive and developmental psychologist shows that the root of general misconceptions about science lie in the theories about the world we develop as children, making it difficult to learn science later in life.
Dead Zone: Where the Wild Things Were by Philip Lymbery (June 20, trade paper, $18, ISBN 978-1-4088-6826-3) uses the case of a dozen well-known and endangered species to examine the role of industrial farming plays in their plight and meets the people doing something about it.
4th Rock from the Sun: The Story of Mars by Nicky Jenner (June 20, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1-4729-2249-6) examines the fourth planet’s nature, attributes, and impact on Earth’s culture; its environmental science and geology; and its potential for human colonization.
My European Family: A Genetic Adventure Across 54,000 Years by Karin Bojs (May 30, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-4729-4147-3) tells the story of Europe and its peoples through its genetic legacy and the latest archeological findings. This fresh, first-person exploration will fascinate anyone interested in genealogy.
Sophie’s Planet by James Hansen (May 16, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-63286-894-7). In these moving and insightful letters to his granddaughter Sophie, the world’s leading climatologist offers a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of the highest levels of environmental research and policy, as well as a clarion call for the future of the climate change fight.
Weird Dinosaurs: The Strange New Fossils Challenging Everything We Thought We Knew by John Pickrell (Mar. 7, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-231-18098-6) opens a vivid portal to a brand new age of fossil discovery, in which fossil hunters are routinely redefining what we know and how we think about prehistory’s most engaging creatures.
The Inkblots: Hermann Rorschach, His Iconic Test, and the Power of Seeing by Damion Searls (Feb. 21, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-8041-3654-9) tells the unlikely story of Hermann Rorschach and the rise and fall—and rise again—of his famous test, shining a necessary light on one of the 20th-century’s most visionary syntheses of science and art.
The Physics of Everyday Things: The Extraordinary Science Behind an Ordinary Day by James Kakalios (May 16, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-7704-3773-2). Breaking down the world of objects into sections about what we use daily, Kakalios leads a tour of the wild subatomic world that underlies so much of what we use and take for granted every day.
Universal: A Guide to the Cosmos by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw (Mar. 28, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-306-82270-4) takes readers on an inspirational journey of scientific exploration in order to make complicated scientific ideas more accessible to the general public and help people better understand the most fundamental questions of the cosmos.
Wolf Nation: The Life, Death, and Return of Wild American Wolves by Brenda Peterson (May 2, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-306-82493-7) combines science, history, and memoir in addressing the century-long battle to save wild wolves. Without wolves, Peterson argues, our whole ecology will unravel and we’ll lose much of our national soul.
The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World—and Us by Richard O. Prum (May 9, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-385-53721-6) dusts off Darwin’s long-neglected theory of sexual selection, in which the act of choosing a mate for purely aesthetic reasons works as an independent engine of evolutionary change.
Quakeland: Preparing for America’s Next Devastating Earthquake by Kathryn Miles (July 11, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-525-95518-4) descends into mines, visits the Army Corps of Engineers, and interviews people around the country who are addressing this threat. Miles maps out what will happen and what can be done about it.
The Body Builders: Inside the Science of the Engineered Human by Adam Piore (Mar. 14, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-234714-5) dives into the current revolution in human augmentation and bioengineering to see how it may help people transcend the boundaries of bodies and minds.
The Gene Machine: How Genetic Technologies Are Changing the Way We Have Kids—and the Kids We Have by Bonnie Rochman (Feb. 28, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-374-16078-4). A scientific road map and a meditation on the power to shape the future, this work explores the promise and peril of having children in an age of genetic tests and interventions.
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari (Feb. 21, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-06-246431-6) explores the projects, dreams, and nightmares that will shape the 21st century, including overcoming death and creating artificial life. Harari focuses on humankind’s future and the quest to turn humans into gods.
Kin: How We Came to Know Our Microbe Relatives by John L. Ingraham (May 8, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-674-66040-3) explains how scientists learned to understand human microbe inheritance and the relatedness of all organisms on Earth. Ingraham accessibly relates this story of discovery and how we may soon know how life began over 3.5 billion years ago.
Viruses: Agents of Evolutionary Invention by Michael G. Cordingley (June 19, hardcover, $49.95, ISBN 978-0-674-97208-7). Viruses are not technically alive, yet they invade, replicate, and evolve within living cells. Cordingly shows how the world’s most abundant biological entities spur evolutionary change in their hosts, shape global ecosystems, and influence every domain of life.
Get Well Soon: History’s Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them by Jennifer Wright (Feb. 7, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-62779-746-7) delivers the gruesome, morbid details of some of the worst plagues humans have suffered as a species, as well as stories of the heroic figures who selflessly fought to ease victims’ suffering.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution by Jennifer A. Doudna and Samuel H. Sternberg (June 6, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-544-71694-0) digs into the ethical challenges surrounding one of the greatest modern scientific discoveries: the gene-editing tool CRISPR, a cheap, easy way of rewriting genetic code.
How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain by Lisa Feldman Barrett (Mar. 7, hardcover, $29, ISBN 978-0-544-13331-0) leads a charge for a paradigm shift in the understanding of emotion, overturning the widely held belief that emotions are housed in different parts of the brain and are universally expressed and recognized.
Blue Dreams: The Science and the Story of the Drugs that Changed Our Minds by Lauren Slater (June 13, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-316-37064-6) offers an explosive account of the science as well as the people behind our licensed narcotics, narrating the history of psychiatry and illuminating the signature that psychopharmacology has left on millions of brains worldwide.
Caesar’s Last Breath: Decoding the Secrets of the Air Around Us by Sam Kean (July 18, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-316-38164-2). As Kean leads a journey through the periodic table, around the globe, and across time, he exposes the story of the air we breathe—which is also the story of Earth and our existence on it.
White Man’s Game: Saving Animals, Rebuilding Eden, and Other Myths of Conservation in Africa by Stephanie Hanes (Mar. 14, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-8050-9716-0) traces a tech mogul’s effort to tackle one of the world’s biggest environmental challenges, showing how ambitious reconstruction turned into a dramatic clash of cultures.
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson (May 2, hardcover, $18.95, ISBN 978-0-393-60939-4) brings the universe down to Earth succinctly and clearly, with sparkling wit, in digestible chapters that can be read anytime and anywhere in your busy day. People without enough time to contemplate the cosmos will be ready for the next cosmic headline.
The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan (Mar. 7, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-393-24643-8) delivers an eye-opening portrait of America’s greatest natural resource as it faces ecological calamity. Egan examines an array of threats to the water and its native species, while showing how the Great Lakes can be restored and preserved.
DNA Is Not Destiny: The Remarkable, Completely Misunderstood Relationship Between You and Your Genes by Steven J. Heine (Apr. 18, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-393-24408-3). One of the world’s leading cultural psychologists debunks the breathless media hype surrounding DNA testing and puts to rest our mistaken anxieties about our genes.
The Sensational Past: How the Enlightenment Changed the Way We Use Our Senses by Carolyn Purnell (Feb. 7, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-393-24937-8) shows that, while human bodies may not change dramatically over the ages, the way we think about the senses and put them to use has been rather different.
Eclipse: Journeys to the Dark Side of the Moon by Frank Close (Mar. 19, hardcover, $21.95, ISBN 978-0-19-879549-0) describes the spellbinding allure of this beautiful natural phenomenon, revealing why eclipses happen, their role in human history, and the lives of those who chase eclipses across some of the most inaccessible places on the globe.
Mass: The Quest to Understand Matter from Greek Atoms to Quantum Fields by Jim Baggott (June 1, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-19-875971-3) shows how we have become confronted by very complicated explanations of the nature of matter, the origin of mass, and its implications for our understanding of the material world.
The Strange Order of Things: The Biological Roots of Culture by Antonio Damasio (June 6, hardcover, $28.95, ISBN 978-0-307-90875-9). The pre-eminent neuroscientist leads a multidiscliplinary investigation into homeostasis, offering a landmark reflection on the origins of life, mind, and culture and a new way of understanding who we are and how we behave.
Atomic Adventures: Secret Islands, Forgotten N-Rays, and Isotopic Murder: A Journey into the Wild World of Nuclear Science by James Mahaffey (June 6, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-68177-421-3) looks back at the atom’s wild, secretive past and toward its potentially bright future, unearthing forgotten nuclear endeavors that were sometimes hare-brained, often risky, and always fascinating.
Darwin’s First Theory: Exploring Darwin’s Quest for a Theory of Earth by Rob Wesson (Apr. 11, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-68177-316-2) offers an immersion into the landscape that absorbed Charles Darwin and led him to conceive his original theory of plate tectonics, which segued to the theory of evolution.
Making Contact: Jill Tarter and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence by Sarah Scoles (July 4, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-68177-441-1) delves into the science behind the search for extraterrestrial intelligence and its pioneer, Jill Tarter, the inspiration for the main character in Carl Sagan’s Contact.
Mask of the Sun: The Science, History and Forgotten Lore of Eclipses by John Dvorak (Mar. 7, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-68177-330-8) reveals the humanism behind the science of lunar and solar eclipses. With insightful detail and vivid prose, Dvorak explains how and why eclipses occur, and provides insight into the forthcoming total eclipse of August 21, 2017.
The Vacation Guide to the Solar System by Olivia Koski and Jana Grcevich (June 6, hardcover, $20, ISBN 978-0-14-312977-6). Beautifully illustrated and packed with real-world science, this is the essential planning guide for the curious space adventurer, covering all of the essentials for your next voyage, how to get there, and what to do when you arrive.
Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky (May 2, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1-59420-507-1). Looking at the question from every angle, Sapolsky attempts to explain why humans do the things they do. It’s a majestic synthesis that harvests cutting-edge research across a range of disciplines.
Scale: The Search for Simplicity and Unity in the Complexity of Life, from Cells to Cities, Companies to Ecosystems, Milliseconds to Millennia by Geoffrey West (May 16, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1-59420-558-3). A pioneer in the field of complexity science explores the hidden laws that govern the life cycle of plants, animals, and even the cities we live in.
Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind by Kevin N. Laland (Feb. 28, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-691-15118-2) presents a captivating new theory of human cognitive evolution. Laland shows how culture is not just the magnificent end product of an evolutionary process—it is also the key driving force behind that process.
We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe by Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson (May 9, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-7352-1151-3). With humor and delight, Cham and Whiteson spelunk through the enormous gaps in our cosmic knowledge, inviting readers to see the universe as a vast expanse of mostly uncharted territory that’s still open for exploration.
Simon & Schuster
Why? What Makes Us Curious by Mario Livio (July 11, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-4767-9209-5). Astrophysicist Livio interviews scientists in several fields to explore the nature of curiosity, investigates why it’s essential to art and science, and talks with several multidisciplinary superstars to find out what drives them.
Asteroid Hunters by Carrie Nugent (Mar. 14, hardcover, $16.99, ISBN 978-1-5011-2008-4). As asteroid hunter Nugent introduces readers to the telescope she uses to detect near-Earth asteroids, she reveals the known impact asteroids have had and explains how scientists could use increasing knowledge to prevent an epic natural disaster.
Into the Gray Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death by Adrian Owen (June 20, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-5011-3520-0) reveals Owen’s controversial, groundbreaking work with patients whose brains were previously thought vegetative or nonresponsive, but turn out to be alive in the zone between full consciousness and brain death.
Exoplanets: Diamond Worlds, Super Earths, Pulsar Planets, and the New Search for Life Beyond Our Solar System by Michael E. Summers and James Trefil (Mar. 14, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-1-58834-594-3). Astronomer Summers and physicist Trefil explore the Kepler satellite’s remarkable recent discoveries, arguing that the incredible richness and complexity being found necessitates a change in mental paradigms.
Bugged: The Insects Who Rule the World and the People Obsessed with Them by David MacNeal (July 4, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-250-09550-3) takes readers on an offbeat scientific journey that weaves history, travel, and culture in order to define the human relationship with these mini-monsters.
Mercies in Disguise: A Story of Hope, a Family’s Genetic Destiny, and the Science That Rescued Them by Gina Kolata (Mar. 21, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1-250-06434-9). New York Times science reporter Kolata follows a South Carolina family through their reckoning with genetic illness and one courageous daughter’s determination to disrupt her destiny.
The Great Unknown: Seven Journeys to the Frontiers of Science by Marcus du Sautoy (Apr. 11, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0-7352-2180-2) takes readers into the minds of science’s greatest innovators to reveal the fraught circumstances of their discoveries. Du Sautoy presents tools for understanding the biggest questions that scientists are struggling to solve.
The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics, and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease by Meredith Wadman (Feb. 7, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-525-42753-7) covers the story of how political roadblocks nearly stopped the urgent race to develop the first widely used normal human cell line and, through it, some of the world’s most important vaccines.
In the Shadow of the Moon: The Science, Magic, and Mystery of Solar Eclipses by Anthony Aveni (Apr. 25, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-300-22319-4). Anticipating solar eclipses visible in 2017 and 2024, astronomer and anthropologist Aveni explains the science behind the phenomenon as he reveals the profound effects these cosmic events have had on human history.
Spaceflight in the Shuttle Era and Beyond: Redefining Humanity’s Purpose in Space by Valerie Neal (June 27, hardcover, $40, ISBN 978-0-300-20651-7) questions over four decades’ worth of thinking about, and struggling with, the meaning of human spaceflight. Neal examines the ideas, images, and people that emerged in light of competing visions of the spaceflight enterprise.