Science has been unlocking secrets of the universe since people started asking strange and wonderful questions about how everything works. Thanks to the brave and brilliant of us asking ‘why’, ‘how’, ‘what’ and ‘are we absolutely sure??’, we know more than ever about the world around us.
From Stephen Hawking to Carl Sagan, observations about our universe to psychology, and beyond- this list of the ultimate science books is guaranteed to get those grey cells sparking. The books in this list were selected for their popularity and compelling content but if there were any you believe should have been included please let us know! If you have read one or more of these why not send us a review?
Our choices were compiled via a selection taken from an extensive list by Book Scrolling. Many thanks to them for the inspiration and information.
Here are ten of the most popular science non-fiction books of all time to expand your mind.
“In this book, his last, Carl Sagan again demonstrates his extraordinary ability to interpret the mysteries of life and the majesty of the universe to the lay reader. He provides clarity and understanding for an audience eager to make sense of the world and goes beyond that as he illuminates the strongly held belief that we have the ability to change things for the better. In their posthumous award to Dr. Sagan, the National Science Foundation declared that his “research transformed planetary science, ” and that “his gifts to mankind were infinite.””
“When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? What is the nature of reality? Is the apparent “grand design” of our universe evidence of a benevolent creator who set things in motion—or does science offer another explanation? In this startling and lavishly illustrated book, Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow present the most recent scientific thinking about these and other abiding mysteries of the universe, in nontechnical language marked by brilliance and simplicity. They conclude with a riveting assessment of M-theory, an explanation of the laws governing our universe that is currently the only viable candidate for a “theory of everything”: the unified theory that Einstein was looking for, which, if confirmed, would represent the ultimate triumph of human reason.”
“From the world’s greatest scientists comes the world’s greatest science book–now in a smaller format at a great new affordable price. It presents 250 of the most significant milestones in the history of scientific discovery. Accompanying this unique perspective on our ever-evolving view of the universe are some of the most visually dramatic illustrations you’ll ever see. Short, lucid articles focus on everything from the speculations of the ancient Greeks to today’s Nobel Prize winners, from Ptolemy’s theory of an Earth-centred universe to the first steps on the moon, and from the dawning of the concept of zero to the cloning of Dolly the sheep. Biology, physics, astronomy, medicine and mathematics: the breakthroughs in every field are all here and celebrated, in the first truly accessible, fully illustrated story of science.”
“Why is there more chance we’ll believe something if it’s in a bold type face? Why are judges more likely to deny parole before lunch? Why do we assume a good-looking person will be more competent? The answer lies in the two ways we make choices: fast, intuitive thinking, and slow, rational thinking. This book reveals how our minds are tripped up by error and prejudice (even when we think we are being logical), and gives you practical techniques for slower, smarter thinking. It will enable to you make better decisions at work, at home, and in everything you do.”
“In this enlightening book, Michio Kaku reassesses Einstein’s work by centring on his three great theories: special relativity, general relativity and the Unified Field Theory. He first yielded the equation E =mc² which is now such a fixture in our culture that it is practically a ubiquitous slogan. But the subsequent theories led to the Big Bang theory, and have changed irrevocably the way we perceive time and space. Michio Kaku offers a new, refreshing look at the pioneering work of Einstein, giving a more accurate portrayal of his enduring legacy than previous biographies. As today’s advanced physicists continue their search to fulfil Einstein’s most cherished dream, a ‘theory of everything’, he is recognised as a prophet who set the agenda for modern physics.”
“Bill Bryson describes himself as a reluctant traveller, but even when he stays safely at home he can’t contain his curiosity about the world around him. A Short History of Nearly Everything is his quest to understand everything that has happened from the Big Bang to the rise of civilisation – how we got from there, being nothing at all, to here, being us. Bill Bryson’s challenge is to take subjects that normally bore the pants off most of us, like geology, chemistry and particle physics, and see if there isn’t some way to render them comprehensible to people who have never thought they could be interested in science. The ultimate eye-opening journey through time and space, A Short History of Nearly Everything is the biggest-selling popular science book of the 21st century, and reveals the world in a way most of us have never seen it before.”
“Millions visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe’s iconic webcomic. Fans ask him a lot of strange questions: How fast can you hit a speed bump, driving, and live? When (if ever) did the sun go down on the British Empire? When will Facebook contain more profiles of dead people than living? How many humans would a T Rex rampaging through New York need to eat a day? In pursuit of answers, Munroe runs computer simulations, pores over stacks of declassified military research memos, solves differential equations and consults nuclear reactor operators. His responses are masterpieces of clarity and hilarity, complemented by comics. They often predict the complete annihilation of humankind, or at least a really big explosion.”
“In The Greatest Show on Earth Richard Dawkins takes on creationists, including followers of ‘Intelligent Design’ and all those who question the fact of evolution through natural selection. Like a detective arriving on the scene of a crime, he sifts through fascinating layers of scientific facts and disciplines to build a cast-iron case: from the living examples of natural selection in birds and insects; the ‘time clocks’ of trees and radioactive dating that calibrate a timescale for evolution; the fossil record and the traces of our earliest ancestors; to confirmation from molecular biology and genetics. All of this, and much more, bears witness to the truth of evolution.”
“Ben Goldacre has made a point of exposing quack doctors and nutritionists, bogus credentialing programs, and biased scientific studies. He has also taken the media to task for its willingness to throw facts and proof out the window. But he’s not here just to tell you what’s wrong. Goldacre is here to teach you how to evaluate placebo effects, double-blind studies, and sample sizes, so that you can recognise bad science when you see it. You’re about to feel a whole lot better.”
“Warped Passages is a brilliantly readable and altogether exhilarating journey that tracks the arc of discovery from early twentieth-century physics to the razor’s edge of modern scientific theory. One of the world’s leading theoretical physicists, Lisa Randall provides astonishing scientific possibilities that, until recently, were restricted to the realm of science fiction. Unraveling the twisted threads of the most current debates on relativity, quantum mechanics, and gravity, she explores some of the most fundamental questions posed by Nature—taking us into the warped, hidden dimensions underpinning the universe we live in, demystifying the science of the myriad worlds that may exist just beyond our own.”
Jólabókaflóðið is Icelandic for Yule Book Flood and that’s because every year there’s an annual release of new books that occurs just before Chirstmas, it’s a national publishing tradition and in Iceland, Christmas is planned around it.
His style has been copied, styled out, and parodied the world over, referenced in popular culture, and we have selected some of our favourite Seuss parodies from the years.
Enjoy these very silly parodies and clever covers dedicated to Dr Seuss.
For those of us who spend much of our time in the library, a festive display is good fun and the ones we want to show you are just amazing! The staff at the libraries must have had a great time putting these together…
Each list will be ten books, the ten bestselling books of the last one hundred years and as we’re still in 2018 (just) we’re starting with 1918.
As the lists continue you’ll see trends through the years as popular authors shine through, but for today it’s the ten bestselling books of 1918.