What a Plant Knows
What a Plant Knows is a rare inside look at what life is really like for the grass we walk on, the flowers we sniff, and the trees we climb. It is a true field guide to the senses for science buffs and green thumbs, and for anyone who seeks a greater understanding of our place in nature.
July 18, 2013
7:15 - 8:30 pm
Thinking, Fast and Slow
Daniel Kahneman, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his seminal work in psychology that challenged the rational model of judgment and decision making, is one of our most important thinkers...Kahneman reveals where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. He offers practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both our business and our personal lives—and how we can use different techniques to guard against the mental glitches that often get us into trouble. Thinking, Fast and Slow will transform the way you think about thinking.
June 13, 2013
7:15 - 8:30 pm
Cells to Civilizations
Cells to Civilizationsis the first unified account of how life transforms itself--from the production of bacteria to the emergence of complex civilizations. What are the connections between evolving microbes, an egg that develops into an infant, and a child who learns to walk and talk? Award-winning scientist Enrico Coen synthesizes the growth of living systems and creative processes, and he reveals that the four great life transformations--evolution, development, learning, and human culture--while typically understood separately, actually all revolve around shared core principles and manifest the same fundamental recipe.
May 23, 2013 (new date!)
7:15 pm - 8:30 pm
The Pulitzer Prize winning authors of The Ants render the extraordinary lives of the social insects in this visually spectacular volume...The study of the superorganism has led to important advances in our understanding of how the transitions between such levels have occurred in evolution, and how life as a whole has progressed from simple to complex forms.
April 18, 2013
7:00 - 8:15 pm
We'll read: 1-102, 167-182, and 407-500
The Medical Book
Following his hugely successful The Math Book and The Physics Book, Clifford Pickover now chronicles the advancement of medicine in 250 entertaining, illustrated landmark events. Touching on such diverse subspecialties as genetics, pharmacology, neurology, sexology, and immunology...
March 14, 2013
The burgeoning new science of epigenetics offers a cornucopia of insights-some comforting, some frightening. For example, the male fetus may be especially vulnerable to certain common chemicals in our environment, in ways that damage not only his own sperm but also the sperm of his sons...But here’s the good news: unlike mutations, epigenetic effects are reversible. Indeed, epigenetic engineering is the future of medicine.
*note: the paperback and hardcover have different titles, but they are the same book*
February 21, 2013
The Emotional Lives of Animals
...After years of fieldwork studying the communication patterns of coyotes and domestic dogs, Bekoff began challenging the scientific status quo that argued that no scientific proof existed that animals even have emotions, an argument that stubbornly persists today. In The Emotional Lives of Animals, Bekoff moves beyond this academic argument to address what every animal lover and pet owner knows from everyday observation: that animals have rich emotional lives that not only can teach us about love, empathy and compassion but that require us to alter radically our current relationship of domination and abuse with them...
January 17, 2013
7:30 - 9 pm
How the Mind Works
In this extraordinary bestseller, Steven Pinker, one of the world's leading cognitive scientists, does for the rest of the mind what he did for language in his 1994 book, The Language Instinct. He explains what the mind is, how it evolved, and how it allows us to see, think, feel, laugh, interact, enjoy the arts, and ponder the mysteries of life. And he does it with the wit that prompted Mark Ridley to write in the New York Times Book Review, "No other science writer makes me laugh so much. . . . [Pinker] deserves the superlatives that are lavished on him."
November 15, 2012
7:30 - 9 pm
We'll discuss: Aladdin’s Lamp 131-148, What is Intelligence 179-210, The Mind’s Eye 211-298 and Hotheads 369-424.
Your Inner Fish
Why do we look the way we do? What does the human hand have in common with the wing of a fly? Are breasts, sweat glands, and scales connected in some way? To better understand the inner workings of our bodies and to trace the origins of many of today's most common diseases, we have to turn to unexpected sources: worms, flies, and even fish. Your Inner Fish is science writing at its finest; enlightening, accessible, and told with irresistible enthusiasm.
October 11, 2012
7:30 - 9 pm
A World Without Ice
A co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize offers a clear-eyed explanation of the planet's imperiled ice. Much has been written about global warming, but the crucial relationship between people and ice has received little focus-until now... Henry Pollack provides an accessible, comprehensive survey of ice as a force of nature, and the potential consequences as we face the possibility of a world without ice.
September 13, 2012
7:30 - 9 pm
...More than 200 million years ago, geological forces split apart the continents... When Christopher Columbus set foot in the Americas, he ended that separation at a stroke... Mann shows how the creation of this worldwide network of ecological and economic exchange fostered the rise of Europe, devastated imperial China, convulsed Africa, and for two centuries made Mexico City---where Asia, Europe, and the new frontier of the Americas dynamically interacted---the center of the world.
August 9, 2012
7:30 - 9 pm
We'll discuss: Parts 3, 4, and the Coda
From the author of 1491, the best-selling study of the pre-Columbian Americas, a deeply engaging new history of the most momentous biological event since the death of the dinosaurs... In 1493, Charles Mann gives us an eye-opening scientific interpretation of our past, unequaled in its authority and fascination.
July 12, 2012
7:30 - 9 pm
We'll discuss: Parts 1 and 2
Animals in Translation
I don't know if people will ever be able to talk to animals the way Doctor Doolittle could, or whether animals will be able to talk back. Maybe science will have something to say about that. But I do know people can learn to "talk" to animals, and to hear what animals have to say, better than they do now. —From Animals in Translation
May 10, 2012
The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring
"Richard Preston...is a science writer with an uncommon gift for turning complex biology into riveting page-turners. In The Wild Trees, he hoists himself into a gentler subject: old-growth forests, mostly redwoods, that have managed to evade the timber industry's blades and still live along the coast of northern California. Preston assures us that, amazingly, until the past two decades the ecosystem formed by the intertwining limbs of these ancient, gargantuan living things had never really been studied..." Grace Lichtenstein
April 12, 2012
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
"From a single, abbreviated life grew a seemingly immortal line of cells that made some of the most crucial innovations in modern science possible. And from that same life, and those cells, Rebecca Skloot has fashioned in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks a fascinating and moving story of medicine and family, of how life is sustained in laboratories and in memory..." --Tom Nissley
March 8, 2012
Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science
“Lawrence Krauss's wonderful biography manages to combine a rolling narrative with a crystal clear explanation of Richard Feynman's science. Its lively descriptions make both electromagnetism and quantum mechanics fun, while Krauss's personal reflections on his subject add a new level of insight into the man and his scientific legacy. Quantum Man is a masterpiece.” (Walter Isaacson, author of Einstein: His Life and Universe)
February 9, 2012
Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
...Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain examines the extreme effects of music on the human brain and how lives can be utterly transformed by the simplest of harmonies. With clinical studies covering the tragic (individuals afflicted by an inability to connect with any melody) and triumphant (Alzheimer's patients who find order and comfort through music), Sacks provides an erudite look at the notion that humans are truly a "musical species." --Dave Callanan
January 12, 2012
Feathers: The Evolution of a Natural Miracle
“[C]aptivating…. Beginning with the evolution of birds, Hanson, a biologist, explains competing theories with ease, and unfolds the human fascination with feathers in terms of science, commerce, tools, folklore, art, and aerodynamics with panache. Anecdotes infuse the fascinating survey.” Audubon
December 8, 2011
Marie Curie: A Life
"This book...is a carefully researched, well-rounded study of Curie (1867-1934), the physicist credited with isolating radium. Born Marie Sklodowska in Poland, she left her home to study in Paris, where she met and married physics professor Pierre Curie. Agreeing with earlier accounts, Quinn depicts their marriage as a devoted partnership...Quinn breaks ground in her detailed description, drawn from newly available papers, of Marie's life after Pierre's accidental death in 1906." --Reed Business Information, Inc.
November 10, 2011
The Disappearing Spoon (Parts IV-V)
"...Kean presents the elements in stories. The result is an entertaining book of interwoven tales that will give even the most highly trained chemist renewed appreciation of the history and drama of the central science..."
--Gussman, Neil. Chemical Engineering Progress 107. 5 (May 2011): 64.
October 13, 2011
Read: pages 203-346
The Disappearing Spoon (Parts I-III)
"Science magazine reporter Kean views the periodic table as one of the great achievements of humankind, "an anthropological marvel," full of stories about our connection with the physical world...The title refers to gallium (Ga, 31), which melts at 84F, prompting a practical joke among "chemical cognoscenti": shape gallium into spoons, "serve them with tea, and watch as your guests recoil when their Earl Grey eats their utensils..."
--Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.
September 8, 2011
Read: pages 3-199
Journey to the Ants
Journey to the Ants combines autobiography and scientific lore to convey the excitement and pleasure the study of ants can offer. Bert Holldobler and E. O. Wilson interweave their personal adventures with the social lives of ants, building, from the first minute observations of childhood, a remarkable account of these abundant insects' evolutionary achievement.
August 11, 2011
7:30 - 9 pm
Where does DNA come from? What is consciousness? How did the eye evolve? Drawing on a treasure trove of new scientific knowledge, Nick Lane expertly reconstructs evolution's history by describing its ten greatest inventions-from sex and warmth to death-resulting in a stunning account of nature's ingenuity.
July 14, 2011
7:30 - 9 pm
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
When Kingsolver and her family move from suburban Arizona to rural Appalachia, they take on a new challenge: to spend a year on a locally produced diet, paying close attention to the provenance of all they consume. "Our highest shopping goal was to get our food from so close to home, we'd know the person who grew it. Often that turned out to be ourselves as we learned to produce what we needed, starting with dirt, seeds, and enough knowledge to muddle through. Or starting with baby animals, and enough sense to refrain from naming them."
June 9, 2011
7:30 - 9 pm