Science at the beach: Summer reading suggestions

Haley Bridger, June 29th, 2010 | Filed under

Flip-flop season is upon us and it’s time for beach reading to commence. If you’re like me, by now you’ve had your fill of mystery novels and thrillers and want to cuddle up with something that has a bit more science to it. With a little help from friends around the Broad, I’ve put together a list of some of the science-themed books (both fiction and nonfiction) I’m hoping to read this summer – maybe you’d like to read them too.

Here’s what’s on my summer reading bookshelf:

-Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis

Nobel laureate Paul Berg described Arrowsmith as one of the books that inspired him to become a scientist. Arrowsmith is a work of fiction that was published in 1925 and follows the life of Martin Arrowsmith as he attends medical school and embarks on an important research career. Be forewarned: this book may inspire you to become a scientist, too.

-The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure of DNA by James Watson

James Watson recounts the adventures that led to one of the most "twisted" discoveries in science history.

-Full House: The Spread of Excellence from Plato to Darwin by Stephen Jay Gould

Evolutionary biologist and prolific writer Stephen Jay Gould explains the nature of evolution Find out how in this intriguing work of nonfiction.

-Genome by Matt Ridley

The story of the genome in 23 chapters (one for each of our 23 pairs of chromosomes). Matt Ridley illustrates the significance of mapping the human genome by highlighting one newly discovered gene from each chromosome. This book, along with many other fabulous reads, is part of our “artifact” collection in the DNAtrium.

-Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond

It’s not just military strength and powerful governments that determine a civilization’s fate – disease plays a critical role, too. Find out how these three forces have shaped human society and get brownie points for reading a book with historical and political themes as well as heaping serving of science.

We'll post more science-centric reading suggestions this summer on the blog and book reviews too! Check back for more.