The fall’s titles delve deeply inward, into the human body and brain, and expansively outward, into the Earth’s wild spaces, (hypothesized) life-forms on other worlds, and (theorized) universes existing alongside this one.
The Body: A Guide for Occupants
Bill Bryson. Doubleday, Oct. 15, $30, ISBN 978-0-385-53930-2
Having already taken readers on tours of Australia and the Appalachian Trail, the versatile Bryson is ideally suited to take his audience on a Fantastic Voyage–style inner journey.
The First Cell: And the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the Last
Azra Raza. Basic, Oct. 15, $28, ISBN 978-1-5416-9952-6
Raza served as her husband’s oncologist after his leukemia diagnosis and thus brings a deep level of knowledge, both personal and professional, to the subject of cancer.
The Hidden World of the Fox
Adele Brand. Morrow, Oct. 22, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-06-296610-0
The fox’s many human admirers will avidly follow along with Brand, a mammal ecologist, as she tracks her quarry through varied ecosystems and cultural contexts.
How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems
Randall Munroe. Riverhead, Sept. 3, $28, ISBN 978-0-525-53709-0
Munroe, author of the popular web comic Xkcd and a one-time NASA roboticist, reveals how to perform simple tasks in the most unnecessarily sophisticated ways possible.
The Neurogeneration: The New Era in Brain Enhancement That Is Revolutionizing the Way We Think, Work, and Heal
Tan Le. BenBella, Jan. 21, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-948836-48-7
Le, an inventor and entrepreneur, profiles scientists and technological innovators working toward enhancing and expanding the power of the human brain.
Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime
Sean Carroll. Dutton, Sept. 10, $29, ISBN 978-1-5247-4301-7
Alternative universes—a heady science fiction concept—are theorized as scientific reality by physicist Carroll, who is intent on reconciling quantum mechanics with the theory of general relativity.
Superheavy: Making and Breaking the Periodic Table
Kit Chapman. Bloomsbury Sigma, Aug. 27, $28, ISBN 978-1-4729-5389-6
PW praised this book—one of several fall titles on the periodic table—as a “lively debut” for Chapman, full of “memorable incidents and details.”
Testosterone: An Unauthorized Biography
Rebecca M. Jordan-Young and Katrina Karkazis. Harvard Univ., Oct. 15, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-674-72532-4
Jordan-Young and Karkazis address the hot-button debate over the biological and cultural basis of gender, showing that the reality of testosterone is more complicated than the cultural myth.
Wildhood: The Epic Journey from Adolescence to Adulthood in Humans and Other Animals
Barbara Natterson-Horowitz and Kathryn Bowers. Scribner, Sept. 17, $27, ISBN 978-1-5011-6469-9
Continuing to reveal what humans share in common with other animals, after 2013’s Zoobiquity, Natterson-Horowitz and Bowers look at the species-spanning process of maturation.
You Look Like a Thing and I Love You: How Artificial Intelligence Works and Why It’s Making the World a Weirder Place
Janelle Shane. Little, Brown, Nov. 5, $27, ISBN 978-0-316-52524-4
With AI fueling countless real-world technologies and fantastic scenarios, Shane, a computer scientist, aims to give her readers a better idea of what artificial intelligence actually is and does.
The Little Book of Bees: A Life of Honey, Hives, and Hexagons by Hilary Kearney, illus. by Amy Holliday (Sept. 10, $16.99, ISBN 978-1-4197-3868-5). This elaborately illustrated gift book looks at the 130-million-year evolutionary journey of a small but ecologically essential, and currently imperiled, animal.
Snow: A Scientific and Cultural Exploration by Giles Whittell (Nov. 19, $25, ISBN 978-1-982105-47-1) brings layreaders amusing facts and anecdotes to illuminate the science behind snow, touching on avalanches, yetis, the 1960 Winter Olympics, and the millennia-old history of skiing, among other topics.
The Dance of Life: The New Science of How a Single Cell Becomes a Human Being by Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz and Roger Highfield (Nov. 12, $30, ISBN 978-1-5416-9906-9). Zernicka-Goetz, a developmental and stem-cell biologist, and coauthor Highfield relate experiences and insights from Zernicka-Goetz’s two decades of researching human fertility and reproduction.
Do Dice Play God? The Mathematics of Uncertainty by Ian Stewart (Sept. 3, $28, ISBN 978-1-5416-9947-2). Mathematician Stewart looks at ways in which his discipline can, or cannot, help to predict the unpredictable, especially given that humans are notoriously bad at predicting future events on their own.
Black Dog & Leventhal
Change Is the Only Constant: The Wisdom of Calculus in a Madcap World by Ben Orlin (Oct. 8, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-316-50908-4). A popular math blogger (Math with Bad Drawings) shares 28 stories illustrating calculus’s place in everyday life, accompanied by his signature amateurish sketches.
How Things Work: The Inner Life of Everyday Machines by Theodore Gray (Oct. 22, $29.99, ISBN 978-0-316-44543-6). The bestselling author of The Elements, Molecules, and Reactions describes the inner workings of dozens of types of machines and mechanisms via a mix of photos, illustrative stories, and experiments.
The Contact Paradox: Challenging Our Assumptions in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence by Keith Cooper (Jan. 21, $28, ISBN 978-1-4729-6042-9) examines controversies and questions arising from the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) project, including its chances of success and the dangers posed if it should succeed.
The Missing Lynx: The Past and Future of Britain’s Lost Mammals by Ross Barnett (Sept. 10, $24, ISBN 978-1-4729-5734-4). With the concept of rewilding drawing new attention in conservationist circles, Barnett uses the case of Britain’s extinct lynx to discuss the loss of the megafauna with which humans once coexisted and the possibility of restoring these species.
Tracking the Highland Tiger: In Search of Scottish Wildcats by Marianne Taylor (Aug. 13, $24, ISBN 978-1-4729-0092-0) looks at Britain’s rarest mammal. Taylor (Way of the Hare) seeks out this completely untamable carnivore, one of the world’s most endangered, in a book that mixes narrative and biology.
The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator by Timothy C. Winegard (Aug. 6, $28, ISBN 978-1-5247-4341-3). Reinterpreting human history through a mosquito-shaped lens, historian Winegard shows how everything from the popularity of the gin and tonic to the American Revolution has depended on this tiny pest, by far the deadliest animal humankind has encountered.
Space Exploration: A History in 100 Objects by Sten Odenwald (Oct. 29, $25, ISBN 978-1-61519-614-2) assembles an inventory of objects that reflect changes in humanity’s relationship with space, from artifacts of prehistory to fixtures of the modern space program.
The Champions of Camouflage by Jean-Philippe Noel (Oct. 1, $35, ISBN 978-0-228-10203-8) profiles animals that use visual trickery to survive, whether as a means of catching prey or evading predators. Subjects include the willow ptarmigan, the satanic leaf-tailed gecko, and the frog Physalaemus.
Meet Your Hormones: Discover the Hidden World of the Chemical Messengers in Your Body by Nicola Temple and Catherine Whitlock (Sept. 1, trade paper, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-228-10220-5) introduces readers to the science behind how hormones keep the human body working properly, while coordinating such processes as growth, fertility, and metabolism.
Scatterbrain: How the Mind’s Mistakes Make Humans Creative, Innovative, and Successful by Henning Beck (Oct. 8, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-77164-401-3). A neuroscientist draws on his field to take on the fallacy of perfectionism, while praising error as the key to creativity.
Altered Inheritance: CRISPR and the Ethics of Human Genome Editing by Françoise Baylis (Sept. 17, $24.95, ISBN 978-0-674-97671-9) offers a bioethicist’s insights into the controversies surrounding the emerging technology of human genome editing and the once fantastical, now conceivable prospect of designer babies.
The Number of the Heavens: A History of the Multiverse and the Quest to Understand the Cosmos by Tom Siegfried (Sept. 17, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-674-97588-0). A former editor of Science News reflects on the long history of the controversial idea that there exist multiple, parallel universes.
Dark Matter and Dark Energy: The Hidden 95% of the Universe by Brian Clegg (Nov. 12, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1-78578-550-4) discusses a cosmological puzzle: dark matter and dark energy, which are believed to make up almost the entire universe.
Nikola Tesla and the Electrical Future by Iwan Rhys Morus (Oct. 8, $22.95, ISBN 978-1-78578-546-7) is a biography of the famous inventor that reveals his contradictions—such as his opposing impulses toward showmanship and reclusiveness—and places him in the context of the fierce competition of late Victorian and Edwardian electrical inventors.
Little, Brown Spark
Gender Mosaic: Beyond the Myth of the Male and Female Brain by Daphna Joel and Luba Vikhanski (Sept. 17, $26, ISBN 978-0-316-53461-1). Joel, a neuroscientist, and Vikhanski, a science writer, take on the widespread idea that male and female brains are distinctly different, sharing Joel’s research and summarizing other scientists’ recent discoveries.
The Big Thaw: Ancient Carbon, Modern Science, and a Race to Save the World by Eric Scigliano (Oct. 1, $35, ISBN 978-1-68051-247-2) surveys the changes taking place in the permafrost, the permanently frozen ground that makes up over 12% of the Earth’s land mass, and the possible climatic effects of those changes.
Rethinking Consciousness: A Scientific Theory of Subjective Experience by Michael S. A. Graziano (Sept. 17, $28.95, ISBN 978-0-393-65261-1). A neuroscientist and psychologist theorizes that the act of focusing attention drove the development of consciousness.
Antimony, Gold, and Jupiter’s Wolf: How the Elements Were Named by Peter Wothers (Aug. 27, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-19-965272-3) delves into the stories of how the elements received their names, and tracks changes in how they have been named over time.
The Crowd and the Cosmos: Adventures in the Zooniverse by Chris Lintott (Dec. 24, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-19-884222-4) discusses how the concept of citizen science has been given new life by the spread of high-speed internet connection and online distribution of scientific data, resulting in discoveries about galaxies, exoplanets, and penguin behavior, among many other subjects.
Designing Babies: How Technology Is Changing the Ways We Create Children by Robert Klitzman (Oct. 1, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-19-005447-2). To understand the issues posed by in vitro fertilization and other assisted reproductive technologies, Klitzman conducts in-depth interviews with health care providers and patients.
The Women of the Moon: Tales of Science, Love, Sorrow, and Courage by Daniel R. Altschuler and Fernando J. Ballesteros (Sept. 1, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-19-884441-9) profiles the 28 women among the 1,586 people after whom a crater on the Moon has been named.
Physical Intelligence: The Science of How the Mind and Body Guide Each Other Through Life by Scott Grafton (Jan. 7, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-5247-4732-9). Drawing on behavioral neurology and cognitive neuroscience, neuroscientist Grafton examines action intelligence, which enables humans to navigate their world.
The Slow Moon Climbs: The Science, History, and Meaning of Menopause by Susan Mattern (Sept. 24, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-691-17163-0). Historian Mattern looks at changing perceptions of menopause, from prehistory to the present, and argues for a more positive view of the condition as a necessary stage in a woman’s life.
Stephen Hawking: His Science in a Nutshell by Florian Freistetter, trans. by Brian Taylor (Oct. 22, $19, ISBN 978-1-63388-576-9). The late Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time was, famously, a book millions bought, but many fewer understood. Austrian science blogger and astronomer Freistetter sets out to explain Hawking’s difficult ideas in accessible terms.
Virusphere: From Common Colds to Ebola Epidemics—Why We Need the Viruses That Plague Us by Frank Ryan (Dec. 10, $24, ISBN 978-1-63388-604-9). Ryan, a physician, takes a look at viruses, explaining how they are defined and how they function, and revealing how they have shaped human history and the evolution of life.
Proving Einstein Right: The Daring Expeditions That Changed How We Look at the Universe by S. James Gates and Cathie Pelletier (Sept. 24, $28, ISBN 978-1-5417-6225-1) chronicles, and coincides with the 100th anniversary of, two adventurous scientific experiments commonly considered to have proved Einstein’s theory of general relativity.
Iflscience 117 Things You Should F*#king Know About Your World by the writers of Iflscience and Paul Parsons (Oct. 8, trade paper, $25, ISBN 978-0-7624-9453-8) is a compendium of articles from the IFLScience website, sorted into such chapters as Health & Medicine, Plants & Animals, Technology, etc., each with an original, irreverent introduction by Parsons.
For the Birds: Protecting Wildlife Through the Naturalist Gaze by Elizabeth Cherry (Sept. 13, trade paper, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-978801-05-9). Environmental sociologist Cherry argues against popular stereotypes of birdwatchers as monomaniacal obsessives, and for the significance of their contribution to scientific and conservation projects.
The History of the American Space Shuttle by Dennis R. Jenkins (Sept. 28, $59.99, ISBN 978-0-7643-5770-1) gives an overview of winged spacecraft in general and of the 30-year, 135-mission career of the American space shuttle in particular, with plenty of detailed technical info for space-travel fans.
Proof! How the World Became Geometrical by Amir Alexander (Sept. 10, $28, ISBN 978-0-374-25490-2) argues that the proofs in Euclid’s Elements have been uniquely influential on later societies, up to the present, in what PW’s review called a “lucid and convincingly argued book [that] fully demonstrates how ideas ancient in origin can continue to shape the contemporary world.”
Beyond the Known: How Exploration Created the Modern World and Will Take Us to the Stars by Andrew Rader (Nov. 12, $28, ISBN 978-1-982123-53-6). A SpaceX mission manager chronicles the human impulse toward exploration, from early history to current planning for interstellar travel.
Imagined Life: A Speculative Scientific Journey Among the Exoplanets in Search of Intelligent Aliens, Ice Creatures, and Supergravity by James Trefil and Michael Summers (Sept. 17, $29.95, ISBN 978-1-58834-664-3). Two scientists explore the possibilities of life outside the solar system, extrapolating from current astronomical and biological knowledge.
Volcanoes and Earthquakes: A Guide to Our Unquiet Earth by Chiara Maria Petrone, Roberto Scandone, and Alex Whittaker (Oct. 1, trade paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-58834-655-1). Illustrated with photographs, diagrams, and maps, this guide outlines the natural processes that cause volcanoes and earthquakes, and reveals the consequences for humankind and the Earth.
The Field Guide to Citizen Science: How You Can Contribute to Scientific Research and Make a Difference by Darlene Cavalier, Catherine Hoffman, and Caren Cooper (Jan. 21, trade paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-60469-847-3) explains the concept of citizen science, shows the range of possible ways to participate, and shares tips for staying motivated.
Univ. of Chicago
Ahab’s Rolling Sea: A Natural History of Moby-Dick by Richard J. King (Oct. 21, $30, ISBN 978-0-226-51496-3) looks at the classic novel as a work of nature writing, surveying the scientific knowledge that would have been available to Melville while he was writing.
How to Grow a Human: Adventures in How We Are Made and Who We Are by Philip Ball (Oct. 25, $25, ISBN 978-0-226-65480-5) covers the current state of the scientific art in cell biology and tissue culture technology, while also attending to the ethical dilemmas that might result from using that technology.
A Better Planet: Forty Big Ideas for a Sustainable Future, edited by Daniel C. Esty (Oct. 22, $27.5, ISBN 978-0-300-24624-7), assembles 40 essays from environmental thinkers, offering a variety of political perspectives and delving into such subjects as ecology, environmental justice, big data, and public health.
Einstein on the Run: How Britain Saved the World’s Greatest Scientist by Andrew Robinson (Nov. 19, $25, ISBN 978-0-300-23476-3) tells the story of how Einstein found refuge from the Nazis in Britain, only to later leave, never to return.
On the Backs of Tortoises: Darwin, the Galápagos, and the Fate of an Evolutionary Eden by Elizabeth Hennessy (Oct. 22, $30, ISBN 978-0-300-23274-5) discusses the giant tortoises after which the Galápagos islands are named as a case study in how humans shape evolution.