Science: Notable at Last

The New York Times list of “Notable Books for 2009” has been released, which means it’s time for my annual rant about how they’ve slighted science books. So, how did they do this year? Here are the science books on this year’s list:

  • The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn By LOUISA GILDER
  • The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science By RICHARD HOLMES
  • Cold: Adventures in the World’s Frozen Places By BILL STREEVER
  • The Invention of Air: A Story of Science, Faith, Revolution, and the Birth of America By STEVEN JOHNSON
  • The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Mystic of the Atom By GRAHAM FARMELO

That’s five books that are definitely about science, the most since 2005, and does not include The Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found by Mary Beard, The Lost City Of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann, or The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street by Justin Fox, all of which might contain some science content, depending on what you count as a science.

Honestly, I can’t complain. Nice work, New York Times.

Comments

  1. #1 A very concerned scientist
    November 28, 2009

    Actually there is some room for complaining. Given that this is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s On the Origins of Species (and his 200th birthday to boot)and given that the ideas presented in his book provided the foundational groundwork for a vast array of scientific work that has followed, I find it disparaging that not one book about Darwin or evolution made the list. I personally would have added Richard Dawkin’s well argued and readable book The Greatest Show On Earth. In a time when one of the most elegant and parsimonious ideas in all of scientific enlightenment is under direct attack by those who least understand science and scientific methodology it is critical that scientists, science journalists, and intelligent media do all within their ability to put a stop to this nonsense.

  2. #2 Johan Larson
    November 28, 2009

    A Colon: What Every Non-fiction Book Title Must Have

  3. #3 Chad Orzel
    November 28, 2009

    Actually there is some room for complaining. Given that this is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin’s On the Origins of Species (and his 200th birthday to boot)and given that the ideas presented in his book provided the foundational groundwork for a vast array of scientific work that has followed, I find it disparaging that not one book about Darwin or evolution made the list.

    It’s also the International Year of Astronomy, honoring the 400th anniversary of Galileo’s use of a telescope to observe the moons of Jupiter, and there are no books about Galileo on the list.

    Given that they had zero science books on the list two years ago, I’m happy just to see a fair number of science books making the list.

  4. #4 Mathew Putman
    November 28, 2009

    It was a good list, for science and non science. I especially like “Invention of Air”, which was one of the thought provoking of real invention, which sometimes gets it right and sometimes wrong. I have thought, ever since reading it, that Priestly would have been a dedicated blogger.

  5. #5 sikiş izle
    November 30, 2009

    And speaking of the death panel conspiracy theory, has anyone been checking out Arthur Goldwag’s coverage of Sarah Palin’s conspiratorial beliefs? How sad is it that we still have candidates for national office that believe things that fail the snopes.com test.