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FOR THE PERSON WHO ENJOYS SCIENCE ON THEIR OWN TERMS

 

1. The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World by Sarah Stewart Johnson

A young planetary scientist intimately details the search for life on Mars, tracing our centuries-old obsession with this seemingly desolate planet. Mars was once similar to Earth, but today there are no rivers, no lakes, no oceans. Coated in red dust, the terrain is bewilderingly empty.

2. The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein

From a star theoretical physicist, a journey into the world of particle physics and the cosmos — and a call for a more just practice of science.

3. Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake

A mind-bending journey into the hidden world of fungi that will change your understanding of life on earth.

4. On Time and Water by Andri Snaer Magnason

Based on interviews and advice from leading glacial, ocean, climate, and geographical scientists, and interwoven with personal, historical, and mythological stories, Magnason’s response is a rich and compelling work of narrative nonfiction that illustrates the reality of climate change—and offers hope in the face of an uncertain future. Moving from reflections on how one writes an obituary for an iceberg to exhortation for a heightened understanding of human time and our obligations to one another, throughout history and across the globe, On Time and Water is both deeply personal and globally-minded: a travel story, a world history, and a desperate plea to live in harmony with future generations. Already a massive bestseller in Iceland, and selling in two dozen territories around the world, this is a book unlike anything that has yet been published on the current climate emergency.

5. The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson

The Sea Around Us remains as fresh today as when it first appeared over six decades ago. Carson’s genius for evoking the power and primacy of the world’s bodies of water, combining the cosmic and the intimate, remains almost unmatched: the newly formed Earth cooling beneath an endlessly overcast sky; the centuries of nonstop rain that created the oceans; giant squids battling sperm whales hundreds of fathoms below the surface; the power of the tides moving 100 billion tons of water daily in one bay alone; the seismic waves known as tsunamis that periodically remind us of the oceans’ overwhelmingly destructive power.

6. Our Biggest Experiment by Alice Bell

Our Biggest Experiment recounts how the world became addicted to fossil fuels, how we discovered that electricity could be a savior, and how renewable energy is far from a twentieth-century discovery. Bell cuts through complicated jargon and jumbles of numbers to show how we’re getting to grips with what is now the defining issue of our time. The message she relays is ultimately hopeful; harnessing the ingenuity and intelligence that has driven the history of climate change research can result in a more sustainable and bearable future for humanity.

HOLIDAY 2021 GIFT GUIDE: ARMCHAIR SCIENTIST
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