Unsurprisingly, climate change is a big topic this season. Authors also consider hormones, the human brain, and the beginning of the universe.

Top 10

It's Elemental : The Hidden Chemistry in Everything

Kate Biberdorf. Park Row, July 13 ($27.99, ISBN 978-0-7783-8942-2)

In this introduction to chemistry, Biberdorf aims to make science accessible by turning household experiences like cooking, showering, and watching the sun set into chemical case studies.

Cosmic Queries: Startalk’s Guide to Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going

Neil DeGrasse Tyson and James Trefil. National Geographic, Mar. 2 ($30, ISBN 978-1-4262-2177-4)

Expanding on his podcast StarTalk, Tyson (with the help of physicist Trefil) answers old questions in physics with the latest data and research.

Genesis: The Story of How Everything Began

Guido Tonelli, trans. by Erica Segre and Simon Carnell. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Apr. 13 ($26, ISBN 978-0-374-60048-8)

In seven chapters (mimicking the biblical seven days of creation), Tonelli uses discoveries in physics to explore how the universe began and evolved.

The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything

Michio Kaku. Doubleday, Apr. 6 ($19.95, ISBN 978-0-385-54274-6)

Kaku, a theoretical physicist, explains the incompatibilities between relativity and quantum mechanics—and describes what a theory combining the two would mean.

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need

Bill Gates. Knopf, Feb. 16 ($28.95, ISBN 978-0-385-54613-3)

This plan from Gates to get the Earth to net-zero greenhouse emissions offers solutions in the form of both personal actions and governmental policies, and draws on experts in a wide range of fields such as engineering, finance, and biology.

Minerva’s French Sisters: Women of Science in Enlightenment France

Nina Rattner Gelbart. Yale Univ., May 11 ($40, ISBN 978-0-300-25256-9)

Gelbart covers six groundbreaking scientists who have been largely lost to history in this celebration of 18th-century discovery.

Probable Impossibilities: Musings on Beginnings and Endings

Alan Lightman. Pantheon, Feb. 9 ($25, ISBN 978-1-5247-4901-9)

Physicist Lightman considers the curiosities of infinity and nothingness in these essays.

This Is Your Mind on Plants

Michael Pollan. Penguin Press, July 6 ($28, ISBN 978-0-593-29690-5)

Pollan sets his focus on opium, caffeine, and mescaline in this study of psychoactive plants.

Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future

Elizabeth Kolbert. Crown, Feb. 9 ($28, ISBN 978-0-593-13627-0)

In her follow-up to The Sixth Extinction, Pulitzer-winner Kolbert explores whether humanity still has any hope of saving nature.

Wild Souls: Freedom and Flourishing in the Non-human World

Emma Marris. Bloomsbury, July 20 ($28, ISBN 978-1-63557-494-4)

Musing on what it means to call an animal “wild,” Marris questions humans’ relationships with creatures large and small.

Science Listings

Atlantic Monthly

The Brilliant Abyss: Exploring the Majestic Hidden Life of the Deep Ocean, and the Looming Threat That Imperils It by Helen Scales (July 6, $27, ISBN 978-0-8021-5822-2) sheds light on one of Earth’s most mysterious ecosystems in this survey of life deep below the sea.

Avid Reader

Holding Back the River: The Struggle Against Nature on America’s Waterways by Tyler J. Kelley (Apr. 20, $27, ISBN 978-1-5011-8704-9) highlights the many ways America depends on and tries to control its rivers.


Hawking Hawking: The Selling of a Scientific Celebrity by Charles Seife (Apr. 6, $30, ISBN 978-1-5416-1837-4) unearths the man behind the legend in this account that traces physicist Stephen Hawking’s rise to fame.

A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence by Jeff Hawkins (Mar. 2, $28, ISBN 978-1-5416-7581-0). The neuroscientist questions perception, explores the ways intelligence works in the human brain, and outlines a theory on how brain cells make intelligence.

Bloomsbury SIGMA

First Light: Switching on Stars at the Dawn of Time by Emma Chapman (Feb. 23, $28, ISBN 978-1-4729-6292-8). Astrophysicist Chapman considers the first billion years of the universe, when stars first formed.

Bold Type

The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein (Mar. 9, $28, ISBN 978-1-5417-2470-9). A theoretical physicist, Prescod-Weinstein writes of her love for physics and its discoveries and presents a version of physics that is inclusive, with roots in Black feminism.


The Genome Odyssey: Medical Mysteries and the Incredible Quest to Solve Them by Euan Angus Ashley (Feb. 23, $28, ISBN 978-1-250-23499-5). The Stanford professor of medicine and genetics breaks down genome sequencing and its effects on medicine.


Forgetting: The Benefits of Not Remembering by Scott Small (July 13, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-13619-5) makes a case that daily bouts of forgetting have huge benefits for human cognition and creativity, drawing on art, animals, and medicine as reference points.

The Loneliest Polar Bear: A True Story of Survival and Peril on the Edge of a Warming World by Kale Williams (Mar. 23, $28, ISBN 978-1-9848-2633-6) tells the story of a polar bear cub who was abandoned by her mother—and the humans who raised her—and sounds a warning about how the species is threatened by climate change.


Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence by Anna Lembke (June 8, $28, ISBN 978-1-5247-4672-8) dives into dopamine addiction and outlines all the strange ways people search for the neurotransmitter’s rush—along with offering solutions to resist modern society’s plethora of quick dopamine fixes.

Life’s Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive by Carl Zimmer (Mar. 9, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-18271-0) offers strange tales of what may not be traditionally considered “life” and questions what the word actually means.

The Experiment

The Secret World of Weather: How to Read Signs in Every Cloud, Breeze, Hill, Street, Plant, Animal, and Dewdrop by Tristan Gooley (Apr. 27, $21.95, ISBN 978-1-61519-754-5). Gooley (The Natural Navigator) teaches readers how to make meaning of the world using everyday weather patterns.


Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting by Lisa Genova (Mar. 23, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-593-13795-6). Novelist Genova (Still Alice) returns with a study of how memory functions and fails, and draws on research to offer advice for protecting one’s memory.


First Steps: How Upright Walking Made Us Human by Jeremy Desilva (Apr. 6, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-293849-7). A paleoanthropologist covers bipedalism in this take on human evolution, arguing that the ability to walk on two legs is what has made humans dominant.


T: The Story of Testosterone, the Hormone That Dominates and Divides Us by Carole Hooven (July 13, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-250-23606-7). Harvard evolutionary biologist Hooven shares her research on testosterone
and masculinity in this survey of the hormone.


Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering How the Forest Is Wired for Intelligence and Healing by Suzanne Simard (May 4, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-525-65609-8). First-time author Simard traces her growth from a tree-loving child into a once-doubted, now renowned ecologist fascinated by the way trees communicate.

A Most Remarkable Creature: The Hidden Life and Epic Journey of the World’s Smartest Birds of Prey by Jonathan Meiburg (Mar. 30, $30, ISBN 978-1-101-87570-4). Journalist and musician Meiburg travels across the world to uncover the history of caracaras, birds that were one of Darwin’s topics of study.

Rescuing the Planet: Protecting Half the Land to Heal the Earth by Tony Hiss (Mar. 30, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-525-65481-0) argues that conserving 50% of the Earth’s land and sea by 2050 will protect its biodiversity, and introduces groups already pursuing this goal.

Frances Lincoln

Forces of Nature: The Women Who Changed Science by Anna Reser and Leila McNeill (Feb. 16, $30, ISBN 978-0-7112-4897-7). Historians McNeill and Reser uncover scientific discoveries made by women from medieval to modern times.


Second Nature: Scenes from a World Remade by Nathaniel Rich (Apr. 6, $27, ISBN 978-0-374-10603-4). Rich follows up Losing Earth with this look at the work scientists are doing to bring back extinct species and projects designed to protect ecosystems.


Northern Light: Power, Land, and the Memory of Water by Kazim Ali (Mar. 9, $24, ISBN 978-1-57131-382-9) recalls Ali’s connections to his parents’ native South Asia as well as London, the U.S., and Manitoba, Canada, all places he’s called home; his exploration lands him in a small Canadian community dependent on an at-risk body of water.


Brave Green World: How Science Can Save Our Planet by Chris Forman and Claire Asher (Mar. 30, $29.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-262-04446-2). Forman, a physicist, and Asher, a biologist, suggest that science can learn from nature to help humanity reduce pollution and waste.

The Next 500 Years: Engineering Life to Reach New Worlds by Christopher E. Mason (Apr. 20, $29.95, ISBN 978-0-262-04440-0). Geneticist Mason lays out a 500-year plan for humanity, arguing that humans are obligated to establish society elsewhere in the universe as life on Earth dwindles.

New Press

The World We Need: Stories and Lessons from America’s Unsung Environmental Movement, edited by Audrea Lim (Apr. 20, $17.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-62097-515-2), spotlights small communities and grassroots organizations that are making strides in the fight against climate change.


Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction by Michelle Nijhuis (Mar. 9, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-324-00168-3) tracks the animal conservation movement from its origin in the late 19th century up to the present.

The Hidden Spring: A Journey to the Source of Consciousness by Mark Solms (Feb. 16, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-393-54201-1). Psychoanalyst and neuropsychologist Solms surveys the origins of consciousness.

What Is Life? Five Great Ideas in Biology by Paul Nurse (Feb. 2, $20, ISBN 978-0-393-54115-1). Nobel laureate Nurse walks readers through key biological discoveries, from genes to methods for modifying crops.

Open Letter

On Time and Water by Andri Snær Magnason, trans. by Lytton Smith (Mar. 23, $26, ISBN 978-1-948830-23-2). Magnason combines science writing, myth, and personal narrative in this consideration of how water on Earth is changing as glaciers melt and sea levels rise.

Oxford Univ.

On the Fringe: Where Science Meets Pseudoscience by Michael D. Gordin (Apr. 1, $18.95, ISBN 978-0-19-755576-7). Historian Gordin surveys ideas of what constitutes “science” and why it matters, and investigates conspiracies and fringe beliefs in the history of scientific discovery.

Penguin Press

The Zoologist’s Guide to the Galaxy: What Animals on Earth Reveal About Aliens—and Ourselves by Arik Kershenbaum (Mar. 16, $28, ISBN 978-1-9848-8196-0). Cambridge zoologist Kershenbaum considers what life on other planets will be like based on the biological rules that allow for life on Earth.


Unexpected Life: A Short History of Living Longer by Steven Johnson (May 11, $28, ISBN 978-0-525-53885-1). This study on life expectancy focuses on the discoveries and reforms that have resulted in humans living longer.


An Anatomy of Pain: How the Body and the Mind Experience and Endure Physical Suffering by Abdul-Ghaaliq Lalkhen (Feb. 2, $28, ISBN 978-1-9821-6098-2). Lalkhen debuts with an investigation of how and why pain works the way it does in humans.

Count Down: How Our Modern World Is Threatening Sperm Counts, Altering Male and Female Reproductive Development, and Imperiling the Future of the Human Race by Shanna Swan, with Stacey Colino (Feb. 23, $28, ISBN 978-1-9821-1366-7) builds on a 2017 study of decreasing sperm counts in Western countries and finds connections between the changing environment and reductions in human fertility.

Simon & Schuster

After Cooling: On Freon, Global Warming, and the Terrible Cost of Comfort by Eric Dean Wilson (July 6, $28, ISBN 978-1-9821-1129-8) focuses on Freon, a refrigerant gas that may cause a United States–size hole in the ozone layer, in this survey of how humans’ desire for comfort could destroy the planet.


The Plant Hunter: A Scientist’s Quest for Nature’s Next Medicines by Cassandra Quave (June 1, $26, ISBN 978-1-9848-7911-0). This mix of science writing and memoir follows Quave on her globe-trotting quest to heal disease via plants.

Yale Univ.

Bitter Shade: The Ecological Challenge of Human Consciousness by Michael R. Dove (Feb. 23, $38, ISBN 978-0-300-25174-6). A curator in the Peabody Museum of Natural History brings together years of his research in South and Southeast Asia to survey how humans’ environments tie into consciousness.

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This article has been updated to include new bibliographic information for one title.