Physics, the Human Adventure

by Gerald Holton and Stephen G. Brush
New Brunswick (NJ): Rutgers University Press, 2001. 598 pages.

The third edition of a classic text, Physics, the Human Adventure presents the content and nature of physical science while emphasizing its history as well. As the authors explain, "Our purpose in this book is to tell the story of the major ideas that have led to our current understanding of how the physical universe functions. At the same time we also aim to show that the growth of science was part of the general development of our civilization, as it is to this day." NCSE Supporter Stephen G.

Present at the Flood

by Richard E. Dickerson
Sunderland (MA): Sinauer Associates, 2005. 307 pages.

Present at the Flood chronicles a scientific revolution — the rise of structural molecular biology — by providing forty-two key scientific papers together with informed commentary to place their accomplishments in context.

Essential Cell Biology, third edition

Bruce Alberts and others
New York: Routledge, 2008. 860 pages.

A brand-new and thoroughly up-to-date edition of a classic textbook widely used in introductory classes in cell and molecular biology, supplemented with a DVD-ROM including over 130 animations and videos, all of the figures from the book, and a self-testing feature for students. "This book fills a critical niche in the pedagogical process of introducing cell biology and does an excellent job in reaching its objective," wrote a reviewer of The Quarterly Review of Biology.

What is Life?

by Lynn Margulis & Dorian Sagan
New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. 208 pages.

With eighty illustrations ranging from the smallest known organism to the biosphere itself, this exploration of the meaning of "life" has been praised by E. O. Wilson as a "new and spirited explanation ... likely to influence future introductions to biology." Introduction by Niles Eldredge.

A Natural History of Australia

by Tim M Berra
San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1998. 256 pages.

This beautifully illustrated guide to Australia's geology, flora, and fauna includes not only explanations of the evolution of the continent and its inhabitants, but a natural history of the Great Barrier Reef, discussions of paleoanthropology and Aboriginal culture... even a glossary of Aussie slang! (Berra has also written Evolution and the Myth of Creationism.)

Relatively Speaking

by Eric J. Chaisson
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1990. 254 pages.

Written by an astrophysicist for general readers, Relatively Speaking explains the special and general theories of relativity and what they imply about the origins and structure of the universe. "An authoritative, gracefully written synopsis of modern relativity theory that should be accessible to a wide audience", writes Frank Wilczek.

The Whole Shebang

by Timothy Ferris
New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998. 400 pages.

"We live in a changing universe, and few things are changing faster than our conception of it." So begins The Whole Shebang, in which Ferris, the author of Coming of Age in the Milky Way, provides an excellent popular synthesis of the state of the art in cosmology. James Gleick exults, "What luck that the universe has Tim Ferris to report on its condition!"

Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion, and the Appetite for Wonder

by Richard Dawkins
Boston: Mariner Books, 2000. 352 pages.

The author of Climbing Mount Improbable and The Selfish Gene argues, in his characteristically lively prose, that understanding science increases, rather than decreases, the sense of wonder that we feel in contemplating the world. The title alludes to the poem Lamia, in which Keats complained that "cold philosophy" proposes to demystify the world; in contrast, Dawkins insists, through a series of illuminating vignettes and reasoned discussions, that unweaving the rainbow is itself profoundly poetic.

Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science

by Martin Gardner
New York: Dover Publications, 1957. 373 pages.

Published originally in 1957 as the revised edition of his In the Name of Science (1952), Martin Gardner's first book on pseudoscience is still as relevant — and as readable — as ever. A chapter is devoted to creationism, of course, but Gardner discusses a wide variety of bizarre pseudoscientific beliefs.

Skeptical Odysseys

edited by Paul Kurtz
Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2001. 430 pages.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of CSICOP — the Committee for Scientific Investigations of Claims of the Paranormal — Paul Kurtz invited 35 prominent skeptics either to provide autobiographical reflections on their skeptical activities or to report on the current state of research on the areas in which they specialize. Contributors include Steve Allen, Martin Gardner, Philip J. Klass, Joe Nickell, Michael Shermer, Victor J. Stenger, and NCSE's very own Eugenie C. Scott.