Here is a meme that I was tagged with recently by the good peeps at Science on Tap. The author writes;
Imagine: YOU are asked to assign a half-dozen-or-so books as required reading for ALL science majors at a college as part of their 4-year degree; NOT technical or text books, but other works, old or new, touching upon the nature of science, philosophy, thought, or methodology in a way that a practicing scientist might gain from.
Post your list, and forward the meme to a half-dozen-or-so other science-oriented bloggers of your choosing.
As you know, even though I am an ornithologist and evolutionary biologist, I have taught quite a few university courses in biology, biochemistry, genetics and chemistry, so I actually do think about this question a lot. Further, you also know that I read a lot of very good science books, but .. which are the half dozen (or so) best? I have chosen two books that discuss evolution, but I need some help choosing the best books in other scientific disciplines;
- The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. This clearly and logically written book combines genetics with evolution to give the reader a good understanding of genetics and for how evolution occurs at the molecular level.
- The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time by Jonathan Weiner. This book is beautifully written and documents the evolution of Darwin’s Finches throughout a period of severe drought — it brilliantly explores the complex and subtle interrelationship between evolution, environment and behavioral ecology.
- The Dinosaur Heresies: New Theories Unlocking the Mystery of the Dinosaurs and Their Extinction by Robert Bakker. This book is wonderful because it not only changed our thinking about dinosaurs, but the author’s logic is beautifully argued and provides insight into how scientists think about the data they collect.
Which books would you recommend I add to this list?
I also am tagging these blogs with this meme, and I give them permission to post a list that is biased towards their field, just as I have done;
- Sandy at Discovering Biology in a Digital World
- John at Stranger Fruit
- Chris at Highly Allochthonous
- Carl at The Loom
- Kevin at The Other 95%
- Henry at The End Of The Pier Show GrrlScientist note: as expected, Henry wins the most unusual list award.
And at least one science blog writer, Dan, who is a postdoc at the University of Cyprus, liked this meme enough to also participate by writing Required Reading for Biology Majors.
I would also ask my good friend, Bob O’Hara toparticipate, but it seems that someone (not naming who) already convinced him to post his list in the comments thread here.