Isaac Asimov, Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, Richard Dawkins … and many more are the names of great scientists who have written books that have brought the world of science closer to the general public. Best science books ever
But it is not only great scientists who have made an important scientific dissemination. Others, both journalists and biographers, have been in charge of publicizing great findings made by men and women who, unfortunately, their social context did not allow them to stand out.
Next we are going to know 20 recommended science books , with topics of all kinds and, many of them, suitable for all types of readers, both specialized and curious.
Science books you have to read
Next, we are going to talk about 20 highly recommended science books , both to get a first idea about fields as complex as physics or genetics, and to know the names of scientists (and, especially, female scientists) who have been widely ignored along the way. throughout history.
1. The Feynman Lectures on Physics (Richard Feynman)
The Feynman Lectures on Physics is a set of books on physics based on the lectures of Richard P. Feynman, Nobel laureate in physics , who was known as “The Great Explainer”, given to college students between 1961 and 1963, at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). This work is one of the most important in the field, and is co-authored with Matthew Sands and Robert B. Leighton.
The work comprises three volumes. In the first, Feynman’s lectures are exposed in which he addressed topics about radiation, mechanics and heat, including relativistic effects. In the second volume he talks mostly about electromagnetism and matter. Finally, the third talks about quantum mechanics.
2. Cosmos (Carl Sagan)
Cosmos is one of Carl Sagan’s most famous books, and is based on his well-known series “Cosmos: A Personal Journey”, which he produced himself with his wife Ann Druyan. Because his television series was so successful, Sagan focused on the writing of this book , with the intention of being able to analyze in greater depth the topics covered on the small screen. Best science books ever
The book contemplates human existence from a scientific and materialistic point of view, making us understand our place and meaning in the cosmos, something very difficult to define.
3. The Selfish Gene (Richard Dawkins)
The Selfish Gene: The Biological Basis of Our Behavior is Richard Dawkins’ reference book and, while now a classic, it is still a very popular book.
In it, Dawkins exposes his idea of the selfish gene as a vehicle for explaining who is the subject of natural evolution. The book defends the idea that the gene is the fundamental evolutionary unit , also criticizing the evolutionary arguments of group selection.
4. Think fast, think slowly (Daniel Kahneman)
Think Fast, Think Slowly by Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Laureate in Economics, is one of the best-known books of the 21st century in the field of behavioral science . This book brings together decades of research by the author in collaboration with psychologist Amos Tversky.
He exposes the three phases of his career, with a first, in which he delved into cognitive biases , then his development of perspective theory and, finally, his latest studies on the idea of happiness.
The title of the book is not causal. It is organized around two existing dichotomies, two ways of thinking: System 1, fast and instinctive, and System 2, slower and more logical. Throughout the book he also exposes other dichotomous systems of behavior. Best science books ever
5. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (Rebecca Skloot)
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was written by Rebecca Skloot and deals with the life of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman who was vitally important in cancer research because she suffered from cervical cancer and He passed away from it in 1951.
Before she passed away, she had a biopsy performed and, without her consent due to being black in a pro-segregation society, she became a donor of cancer cells for research. With these cells, a cell line culture was made that, to this day, is still active, being used for countless oncological experiments and which are called HeLa cells.
6. The man who mistook his wife for a hat (Oliver Sacks)
The man who mistook his wife for a hat was published in 1985 and written by the neurologist Oliver Sacks, this work being a reference in the anamnestic genre. It describes several clinical cases of patients with whom he had the opportunity to work throughout his career .
The title is based on the case of a particular patient, whom Sacks calls “Dr. P ”, who suffered from visual agnosia . This neurological disorder prevents people from recognizing faces and objects, hence the anecdote that he mistook his wife for a hat. Best science books ever
7. The Origin of Species (Charles Darwin)
The Origin of Species is probably one of the best known books in history, only being able to compete with the Bible in translations and number of sales. It is the most famous book by the English naturalist Charles Darwin, and is considered the founding book of everything that is the field of evolutionary biology , being one of the most important scientific pieces ever written.
This book was all the rage when it was published; It generated much controversy for its way of treating the authentic origin of the human being, in contrast to the religious idea of the intelligent design of man and other species. However, today his main ideas are considered a fundamental part of Biology as a science.
In short, the book states that individuals more adapted to the environment have a better chance of surviving than those who are less so, having more possibilities to reproduce and make their characteristics prevail in the next generation , thus influencing the evolutionary process of the species itself.
8. The future of our mind (Michio Kaku)
Michio Kaku, American theoretical physicist, professor at New York University and expert in string theory, exposes in The Future of Our Mind a narrative that would be between the frontier of the latest neuroscientific advances and science fiction .
Kaku exposes how in the future there will be advances such as being able to record memories, practice telepathy, record our dreams and even control the minds of other people. A future that, for better or for worse, could arrive within a relatively few years. The idea is even defended that in the not too distant future we will be able to transfer our knowledge to computers, like someone uploading a file in the cloud. Best science books ever
9. Very brief history of time (Stephen Hawking)
The late Stephen Hawking published in 2005 one of the best-known books in popular science, becoming a bestseller practically as soon as it was exhibited in bookstores .
In it, cosmology topics are exposed, such as the Big Bang and black holes, but in a simple way, suitable for the non-specialized audience. In fact, the publication of this book was done on the basis that an earlier book by Hawking, A Brief History of Time: From the Big Bang to Black Holes (1988) was difficult for many of its readers to understand.
10. The bonobo and the ten commandments (Frans de Waal)
Frans de Waal, a Dutch biologist, exposes in The Bonobo and the Ten Commandments a way of seeing these primates that does not leave indifferent.
This researcher has spent decades studying the behavior of bonobos and chimpanzees, observing attitudes that we would relate to our species , such as empathy, cooperation and even grief after the death of another individual.
11. We are our brain: how we think, suffer and love (Dick Swaab)
Dick Swaab, a Dutch neurologist, published a best-selling book in 2011, probably due to some of the controversial clarifications he shared in it. Best science books ever
In We Are Our Brain: How We Think, Suffer and Love , Swaab recounts, in an entertaining and rather rigorous way, about changes in the brain related to sexuality, puberty, psychological disorders and faith .
In fact, in this book he affirms that sexual orientation is determined by the hormones secreted by the mother during embryonic development, something that perhaps earned the book popularity.
12. The Countdown (Alan Weisman)
In The Countdown, Alan Weisman tries to make us aware of the limited resources on Earth and their rate of consumption.
Every four and a half days a million more people are born on the planet, people who will feed themselves in addition to consuming products such as televisions, cars and clothes . If the entire planet had the same consumption pattern as developed countries, humanity would need the resources of three planets to reach the end of the year.
Alan Weisman resorts to a countdown, a race against time in which countries should now find solutions to prevent the collapse of humanity. In this book Weisman uses the expert voice of people of various cultures, religions and nationalities, trying to raise awareness that saving the planet is not an issue that should be taken separately by governments.
13. Brief history of chemistry: Introduction to the ideas and concepts of chemistry, (Isaac Asimov)
Isaac Asimov was a Russian scientist, not only known for being one of the great minds of the 20th century, but also for being a prolific writer of science fiction works, being considered one of the references of the genre . Best science books ever
In Brief history of chemistry: Introduction to the ideas and concepts of chemistry introduces concepts and ideas of chemistry present throughout the history of mankind, going from ancient times to atomic theory.
14. What is life? (Erwin Schrödinger)
Life is a truly spectacular phenomenon, and more if we consider that it is something that, probabilistically speaking, is remotely possible. In What is life? who was a Nobel Prize winner, Erwin Schrödinger raises, in a somewhat philosophical way but without leaving science aside, this question, addressing concepts of thermodynamics, trying to understand biological complexity, and talking about the debate of determinism and chance .
15. Homo Deus (Yuval Noah Harari)
In Homo Deus , Yuval Noah Harari raises several questions about the increasingly sophisticated world of technology and how it influences our decision-making . In addition, it also raises questions about evolution, such as what will happen once it has been possible to design modified brains in such a way that they are perfect, will natural selection give way to intelligent design made in the laboratory?
In the work he raises both dreams and nightmares that could materialize throughout our century, such as overcoming death until the creation of artificial intelligence, intelligence which could turn against us. Best science books ever
16. On the theory of special and general relativity (Albert Einstein)
What was initially going to be a short scientific article ended up becoming one of the best-known books of the 21st century, and written by neither more nor less than Albert Einstein himself. In On the theory of special and general relativity , Einstein tries to give an idea as exact as possible about his theory of relativity, approaching it from both a scientific and a philosophical point of view .
It is divided into three parts. The first talks about special relativity, the second about general relativity and, finally, the third talks about considerations about the universe treated as a whole.
17. Did you know
There are many women who have contributed to great scientific advances but they have been ignored. In Sabias , by Adela Muñoz Perez, the story of some of the many women who have made great contributions to science is rescued , in addition to explaining why they were so ignored and unknown, despite the fact that some of their inventions and discoveries have been a before and after.
In addition, a reflection is made on the role of women in science and how they have been prevented from studying it, putting as examples the case of universities in the last century, which prohibited the access of female students, or how women could not go to the libraries of monasteries during the Middle Ages.
18. Women of the Moon (Daniel Roberto Altschuler and Fernando J. Ballesteros)
The astronomers and scientific disseminators Daniel Roberto Altschuler and Fernando J. Ballesteros expose in Las Mujeres de la Luna the existing inequality with the recognition of women.
Of the 1594 geographical features of our satellite that have been baptized, only 31 have women’s names, mostly European and North American. These data show the inequality that, to this day, continues not only in the recognition of women in major scientific findings , but also varies greatly from region to region. Best science books ever
19. Dying young, at 140
Aging is an inevitable process. Or not? In Die Young, at 140 , María A. Blasco, a molecular biologist, and Mónica G. Salomone, a journalist, explore the shift in the scientific paradigm that, until recently, aging was seen as an inevitable process,
However, the book highlights the fact that great things have been achieved through scientific advances, such as increasing survival and life expectancy in patients with Alzheimer’s or cancer . What we see today as something totally impossible does not have to be tomorrow, prolonging our lives for several more decades being something that, one day, will cease to be a dream.
20. The girls are from science
Let’s make a mental effort: let’s try saying ten names of female scientists? Difficult, right? The funny thing is that we do know of great scientific findings made by women, such as radio or DNA research, made by Marie Curie or Rosalind Franklin, respectively.
There are many things in our day to day that were inventions or female discoveries, despite the fact that their authors have gone very unnoticed. The girls are from science, as the title of the book says well and, as with Sabias, Irene Cívico and Sergio Parra Castillo tell us about the life and findings of great women, women who, if they had not been interested in science, They couldn’t have made our lives much better. Best science books ever