Bradshaw, Gillian. The Sand-Reckoner. New York, Forge: 2000. A youthful Archimedes comes into his own as a mathematician, an engineer, and a fascinating human being in this engaging novel.
Brown, David. Inventing Modern America: From the Microwave to the Mouse. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002. Whose idea was it?--the human stories and faces behind American scientific and technological innovations and achievements.
Bryson, Bill. A Short History of Nearly Everything. New York: Broadway, 2003. A renowned travel writer brings complex scientific concepts to life by describing how the universe and life as we know it came to be.
Enzensberger, Hans. The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure. New York: Holt, 1998. A boy dreams a devil who guides him through a colorful, Alice in Wonderland-like world of mathematical concepts.
Fagan, Brian. The Little Ice Age: How Climate Made History, 1300-1850. New York: Basic Books, 2002. Fagan provides a fascinating look at how climate change influenced the course of the last thousand years of Western history. He highlights climate’s profound influence on the Viking discovery of North America, the Industrial and French Revolutions, and the Irish Potato Famine.
Feynman, Richard. What Do You Care What People Think? Further Adventures of a Curious Character. New York: Norton, 2001. Quirky, hilarious, and fascinating memoirs from one of the last century’s greatest physicists cover everything from his early childhood to his work on the atomic bomb and his investigation into the Challenger explosion.
Flannery, Sarah. In Code: A Mathematical Journey. New York: Workman Publishing, 2001. One teenager’s discoveries in the science of cryptography dramatically impact the modern world.
* Hawking, Stephen. The Universe in a Nutshell. New York: Bantam, 2001. The physics guru illuminates startling new theories about our world in a lavishly illustrated sequel to A Brief History of Time.
Horvitz, Leslie A. Eureka!: Scientific Breakthroughs That Changed the World. New York: Wiley, 2002. Horvitz explores the dramatic events and thought processes of twelve great minds that lead to profound scientific discoveries. The author examines the impact of these discoveries on the way we live, think, and view the world around us.
Hoyt, Erich and Ted Schultz, eds. Insect Lives. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1999. Erich and Schultz compiled a diverse collection of brief essays and illustrations that entice readers to explore the fascinating and mysterious world of insects.
Judson, Olivia. Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation: the Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2002. A “Dear Abby” style science column that answers the who, what, when, where, why, and how of a fascinating variety of sexual activity for all creatures, great and small.
Krauss, Lawrence. Atom: An Odyssey from the Big Bang to life on the Earth and Beyond. Boston: Little Brown & Co., 2001. Follow a single oxygen atom on a fantastic voyage from the beginning of the universe and far into the future.
Lambrecht, Bill. Dinner at the New Gene Café: How Genetic Engineering Is Changing What We Eat, How We Live, and the Global Politics of Food. New York: St. Martin Press, 2001. Lambrecht traces the scientific and political controversies surrounding the use of genetically modified organisms and the food we eat.
* Livio, Mario. The Golden Ratio: The Story of Phi, the World’s Most Astonishing Number. New York: Broadway Books, 2002. A captivating journey through art and architecture, botany and biology, physics and mathematics; this ratio, 1.6180339887... impacts so many facets of our lives that it has fascinated us through the ages.
Nash, Madeline. El Nino: Unlocking the Secrets of the Master Weather Maker. New York: Warner, 2002. Hard work and chance lead to the discovery of El Nino and La Nina, powerful climactic systems that we still struggle to understand.
Nolen, Stephanie. Promised the Moon: The Untold Story of the First Women in the Space Race. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2002. The history of women in aviation and as astronauts is revealed in this compelling story.
Porter, Roy. Madness: A Brief History. New York: Oxford U.P., 2002. What is meant when we say, “madness?” Examine the wide range of possibilities this question covers, from witches to electric shock therapy to Prozac.
Preston, Richard. The Demon in the Freezer: A True Story. New York: Random House, 2002. A striking portrait of smallpox makes readers uncomfortably aware that it could rise again as a biological weapon of mass destruction.
Rigden, John S. Hydrogen: The Essential Element. Cambridge, MA: Harvard U.P., 2002. A fascinating history is revealed in this probe of a scientific giant, the hydrogen atom.
Roach, Mary. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. New York: Norton, 2003. Discover the amazing life-after-death adventures of human bodies in this examination of how medical and research scientists use cadavers to make our lives better.
Sobel, Dava. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. New York: Walker and Company, 1995. The little known story behind the greatest innovation in navigational science; an 18th century version of the GPS.
Stark, Peter. Last Breath: Cautionary Tales from the Limits of Human Endurance. New York: Ballantine, 2001. Whether the danger is hypothermia, mountain sickness, or cerebral malaria, this blend of adventure and science takes you to the absolute edges of human endurance.
Strauch, Barbara. Primal Teen: What the New Discoveries about the Teenage Brain Help Us About Our Kids. New York: Doubleday, 2003. Ever wonder what makes teens tick? A tour of the teenage brain reveals startling new research about this pivotal and exciting time of life.
Sykes, Bryan. The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science that Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry. New York: Norton, 2001. Fascinating mitochondrial DNA evidence supports the idea that almost all modern Europeans are descended from just seven women.
Tobin, James. Great Projects: The Epic Story of the Building of America from the Taming of the Mississippi to the Invention of the Internet. New York: Free Press, 2001. Milestones of engineering and vision that connected us and moved a nation forward.
OBCBLL = Outstanding Books for the College Bound and the Lifelong Learner