The heat of July is currently upon us, which means that more and more of us are either taking to the beaches and pools or hiding inside to avoid the high temperatures. Regardless of how you’re dealing with the height of summer, it’s a great time to sit down with a captivating book and an icy beverage.
These science books releasing in July, August, and September promise to be both fascinating and readable, taking on different subjects about the world and universe around us.
10. How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler by Ryan North
This book is a little bit different from the others on this list. It’s told with the premise of being thrown back in time, with no way to get back to the present. How would you improve the timeline? What discoveries would you make earlier? The book gives you everything you need to start your own cultured civilization from scratch quickly, rather than taking the epic amount of time humans did to actually make something of ourselves.
9. The Dinosaur Artist: Obsession, Betrayal, and the Quest for Earth’s Ultimate Trophy by Paige Williams
When a fossil is found, does it belong to the person who discovers it or the country it’s found in? That’s the battle at the center of The Dinosaur Artist, which features a fossil hunter named Eric Prokopi who tried to auction off the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus cousin he discovered in Mongolia. But when the Mongolian government was alerted, a war between science and those who would profit off it began.
8. The Penguin Book of Outer Space Exploration: NASA and the Incredible Story of Human Spaceflight by John Logsdon
With the rise of private space companies, we may be on the cusp of a new golden age in spaceflight. But how did we get here? That’s just what historian John Logsdon traces in his history of American spaceflight. The real gem here is that Logsdon uses historical NASA documents to tell this epic story of humanity’s greatest achievement and beyond.
7. Accessory to War: The Unspoken Alliance Between Astrophysics and the Military by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Avis Lang
Neil deGrasse Tyson is back with a new book, along with his colleague and sometimes-editor Avis Lang. This time, they’re tackling a subject that’s a bit different than Tyson’s previous works: the relationship between science and military power. The alliance (and tension) between these two goes back centuries, and in this book Tyson and Lang trace it in order to help readers understand how the universe is perceived by those who would choose to militarize it.
6. Superhuman: Life at the Extremes of Our Capacity by Rowan Hooper
Some people are more naturally talented at specific things than others — a born athlete or a gifted scientist, for example. But what makes these people exceptional and how can others aspire to this kind of greatness? That’s what evolutionary biologist Rowan Hooper examines in Superhuman. He looks at the most extreme people to take a look at the potential our species has from a genetic standpoint, making this an exceptional — and very human — story.
5. Through Two Doors at Once: the Elegant Experiment That Captures the Enigma of Our Quantum Reality by Anil Ananthaswamy
Light behaves like both a particle and a wave. You probably remember this from high school science class, but what does it mean? How can one thing have a dual nature? That’s the subject that journalist Anil Ananthaswamy tackles in Through Two Doors at Once. He takes readers back to Einstein’s discovery, and the subsequent battle over the very nature of reality, as he discusses the “double slit” experiment that challenged everything we thought we knew about the world around us.
4. Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World by Maryanne Wolf
There has been a lot of speculation on our dependence on technology and how it will affect kids who grow up on screens. Now, Maryanne Wolf takes a cognitive science approach to these many questions, pondering how the move to digital is changing the way we think and process information. It deals with both adults and children alike, as Wolf writes a series of letters asking thought-provoking (and sometimes troublesome) questions about our futures as readers.
3. Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart by Mimi Swartz
The waiting list for a heart transplant numbers 50,000, and yet there are only 2,500 surgeries of this nature actually performed every year. That means that thousands of people die because they don’t have access to a new heart. Enter the quest for an artificial heart. Journalist Mimi Swartz chronicles the race for its development through Bud Frazier, one of the foremost heart surgeons in the world, who has been working on this elusive goal for decades.
2. Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees by Thor Hanson
We’ve heard a lot about how important bees are to the natural world. Now, conservation biologist Thor Hanson takes readers through time, as he traces a journey that started 125 million years ago. This book discusses the cultural history of bees, how they’ve evolved and developed over the centuries, and how crucial these little creatures are to ecosystems around the world.
1. The Poison Squad: One Chemist’s Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twentieth Century by Deborah Blum
Deborah Blum’s The Poisoner’s Handbook was a fascinating read about how poison played a role in the Jazz Age of New York City. Now, she’s back with another tale of poison. This time, it’s set at the end of the nineteenth century and focuses on food manufacturers who were selling food and drink laced with dangerous chemicals. Dr. Washington Wiley, a chemistry professor who was named the chief chemist of the Department of Agriculture, took it upon himself to wage war against these practices, culminating in regulation of the entire industry with the 1906 Food and Drug Act.