Whether it's the sky above us or the tools inside of your house, science is all around us. What you learn in school is only a fraction of the scientific information that is available. However, taking a trip to the science section of your local bookstore is overwhelming, as there are thousands of science books available on millions of topics. Luckily for you, we've compiled a list of the 49 best science books that cover an array of different subjects.
2003 | Bill Bryson
In Bryson's biggest book, he confronts his greatest challenge: to understand—and, if possible, answer—the oldest, biggest questions we have posed about the universe and ourselves. Taking as territory everything from the Big Bang to the rise of civilization, Bryson seeks to understand how we got from there being nothing at all to there being us. To that end, he has attached himself to a host of the world’s most advanced (and often obsessed) archaeologists, anthropologists, and mathematicians, travelling to their offices, laboratories, and field camps. He has read (or tried to read) their books, pestered them with questions, apprenticed himself to their powerful minds. A Short History of Nearly Everything is the record of this quest, and it is a sometimes profound, sometimes funny, and always supremely clear and entertaining adventure in the realms of human knowledge, as only Bill Bryson can render it. Science has never been more involving or entertaining.
2008 | National Geographic Society, Marshall Brain
A delight for the casual reader, yet so complete and wide-ranging that science buffs and students will welcome it, The Science Book encapsulates centuries of scientific thought in one richly illustrated volume. Natural phenomena, revolutionary inventions, and the most up-to-date investigations are explained in detailed text, and 2,000 vivid illustrations—including 3-D graphics and pictograms—make the information even more accessible and amazing to discover. The Science Book offers both a general overview of topics for the browsing reader and more specific information for those seeking deeper insight into a particular subject. Six major sections, ranging from the universe and planet Earth to biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, encompass everything from microscopic life to nuclear power—with particular attention given to subjects in the news today, like climate change and genetic engineering. The innovative organization allows for quick reference, while numerous fact boxes and cross-references emphasize the many links among modern scientific fields. Visual elements make even the most involved discussions easy to understand. The successes of National Geographic’s Visual History of the World and The Knowledge Book underscore the market for accessible resources such as this. Attractively priced for gift-giving and loaded with essential information, The Science Book will shine as an indispensable family reference.
2014 | Randall Munroe
Randall Munroe left NASA in 2005 to start up his hugely popular site XKCD 'a web comic of romance, sarcasm, math and language' which offers a witty take on the world of science and geeks. It now has 600,000 to a million page hits daily. Every now and then, Munroe would get emails asking him to arbitrate a science debate. 'My friend and I were arguing about what would happen if a bullet got struck by lightning, and we agreed that you should resolve it . . . ' He liked these questions so much that he started up What If. If your cells suddenly lost the power to divide, how long would you survive? How dangerous is it, really, to be in a swimming pool in a thunderstorm? If we hooked turbines to people exercising in gyms, how much power could we produce? What if everyone only had one soulmate? When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British empire? How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live? What would happen if the moon went away? In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations, and consults with nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, studded with memorable cartoons and infographics. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind, or at least a really big explosion. Far more than a book for geeks, WHAT IF: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions explains the laws of science in operation in a way that every intelligent reader will enjoy and feel much the smarter for having read.
2006 | Neil deGrasse Tyson
A vibrant collection of essays on the cosmos from the nation's best-known astrophysicist. "One of today's best popularizers of science." —Kirkus Reviews. Loyal readers of the monthly "Universe" essays in Natural History magazine have long recognized Neil deGrasse Tyson's talent for guiding them through the mysteries of the cosmos with stunning clarity and almost childlike enthusiasm. Here, Tyson compiles his favorite essays across a myriad of cosmic topics. The title essay introduces readers to the physics of black holes by explaining the gory details of what would happen to your body if you fell into one. "Holy Wars" examines the needless friction between science and religion in the context of historical conflicts. "The Search for Life in the Universe" explores astral life from the frontiers of astrobiology. And "Hollywood Nights" assails the movie industry's feeble efforts to get its night skies right. Known for his ability to blend content, accessibility, and humor, Tyson is a natural teacher who simplifies some of the most complex concepts in astrophysics while simultaneously sharing his infectious excitement about our universe.
2011 | Burkard Polster, Gerard Cheshire, Matt Tweed, Matthew Watkins, Moff Betts
From basic mathematical and physical formulas that govern much of our world to the components of matter; from the structure of the cosmos to that of the human body-the discoveries of scientists over the last millennium have been remarkable. Sciencia gathers together Useful Mathematical and Physical Formulae, Q.E.D, Essential Elements, Evolution, The Human Body, and The Compact Cosmos, six elegant and insightful short volumes spanning the realms of mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, evolution, and astronomy, offering invaluable information to today's readers. Lavishly illustrated with engravings, woodcuts, and original drawings and diagrams, Sciencia will inspire readers of all ages to take an interest in the interconnected knowledge of the modern sciences. Beautifully produced in thirteen different colors of ink, Sciencia is an essential reference and an elegant gift. Wooden Books was founded in 1999 by designer John Martineau near Hay-on-Wye. The aim was to produce a beautiful series of recycled books based on the classical philosophies, arts and sciences. Using the Beatrix Potter formula of text facing picture pages, and old-styles fonts, along with hand-drawn illustrations and 19th century engravings, the books are designed not to date. Small but stuffed with information. Eco friendly and educational. Big ideas in a tiny space. There are over 1,000,000 Wooden Books now in print worldwide and growing.