Prometheus Bedeviled

by Norman Levitt
New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1999. 416 pages.

In Prometheus Bedeviled, Norman Levitt attempts to "analyze the standing and the prospects of science in a society that is steeped in a democratic ethos, professes to admire science, and expects great things of science, but which, notwithstanding a massive educational system, comprehends science rather poorly," decrying the prospect of "the supplanting of science by a mélange of viewpoints and methods in which populist enthusiasm or even quasi-religious dogma will be anointed with the cultural authority of the 'scientific'." Richard Dawkins describes Levitt as "a new enlightenmen

Skeptics and True Believers

by Chet Raymo
New York: Walker & Company, 1999. 288 pages.

Drawing on his own quest for a rapprochement between science and religion, Chet Raymo, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Stonehill College and a science columnist for the Boston Globe, suggests that religion ought to embrace the findings of science and science ought to acknowledge and nourish the spiritual side of humanity.

The Borderlands of Science

by Michael Shermer
New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. 368 pages.

From the publisher: "As author of the bestselling Why People Believe Weird Things and How We Believe, and Editor-in-Chief of Skeptic magazine, Michael Shermer has emerged as the nation's number one scourge of superstition and bad science. Now, in The Borderlands of Science, he takes us to the place where real science (such as the big bang theory), borderland science (superstring theory), and just plain nonsense (Big Foot) collide with one another. ...

Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESPs, Unicorns, and Other Delusions

by James Randi
Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1988. 342 pages.

Published first in 1982 and still relevant today, Flim-Flam! explores — and debunks — a wide variety of paranormal, occult, and supernatural claims, all in Randi's characteristic buoyant and charming style. Not merely a pleasurable read, the book serves in effect as a practical tutorial in evaluating the claims of pseudoscience.

The Second Law

by P. W. Atkins
New York: W. H. Freeman, 1994. 216 pages.

Out of print, but well worth the search, The Second Law presents a nonmathematical account of the second law of thermodynamics, teeming with vivid examples, ideas, and images. "Mention of the Second Law," Atkins notes, "raises visions of lumbering steam engines, intricate mathematics, and infinitely incomprehensible entropy. ... In this book I hope to go some way toward revealing the workings of the [Second] Law, and showing its span of application." Originally published in the Scientific American Library series in 1984, and republished, with updates, in 1994 as a paperback.

Evolution as Entropy, second edition

by Daniel R. Brooks and E. O. Wiley
Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 1988. 429 pages.

Originally published in 1986, with a second edition following in 1988, Evolution as Entropy ambitiously sought to argue that living systems manifest growing complexity and self-organization as a result of increasing entropy (contrary, of course, to the canard that evolution is thermodynamically impossible).

Biological Thermodynamics

by Donald T. Haynie
Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001. 396 pages.

From the publisher: "Biological Thermodynamics provides an introduction to the study of energy transformations for students of the biological sciences. Donald Haynie uses an informal writing style to introduce this core subject in a manner that will appeal to biology and biochemistry undergraduate students. ... Each chapter provides numerous examples taken from different areas of biochemistry, as well as extensive exercises to aid understanding.

The Origin of the Universe

by John D. Barrow
New York: Basic Books, 1997. 176 pages.

"How, why, and when did the universe begin? How big is it? What shape is it? What's it made of? These are questions that any curious child might as, but they are also questions that modern cosmologist have wrestled with for many decades," writes John D. Barrow in introducing his popular book on cosmology, one in the Science Masters series. Barrow is Professor of Astronomy at the University of Sussex and is the author of several popular books, of which the latest is The Infinite Book: A Short Guide to the Boundless, Timeless and Endless (New York: Pantheon, 2005).

Introduction to Cosmology

by Barbara Ryden
San Francisco: Benjamin-Cummings, 2002. 300 pages.

The publisher writes, "Introduction to Cosmology provides a rare combination of a solid foundation of the core physical concepts of cosmology and the most recent astronomical observations. The book is designed for advanced undergraduates or beginning graduate students and assumes no prior knowledge of general relativity. ...

The Big Bang, 3rd edition

by Joseph Silk
New York: Times Books, 2000. 512 pages.

The publisher writes, "Our universe was born billions of years ago in a hot, violent explosion of elementary particles and radiation — the big bang. What do we know about this ultimate moment of creation, and how do we know it? Drawing upon the latest theories and technology, the new edition of The Big Bang is a sweeping, lucid account of the event that set the universe in motion.