book reviews

The Scientific Activist

Category archives for book reviews

E. coli, We Hardly Knew You

Microcosm: E. Coli and the New Science of Life by Carl Zimmer Pantheon: 2008, 256 pages. Buy now! (Amazon) I come face-to-face with Escherichia coli every day. In a sense, we all do–as billions of E. coli inhabit every individual’s intestines. But for me, E. coli is a protein factory. I’m a structural biologist, and…

The Animal Research War by P. Michael Conn and James V. Parker Palgrave Macmillan: 2008, 224 pages. Buy now! (Amazon) In a dark room, buried in a nondescript building somewhere in London, an orderly array of new trainees sits silently, listening intently as a senior police official delivers a security briefing. Clicking through slide after…

Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming by Chris Mooney Harcourt: 2007, 400 pages. Buy now! (Amazon) At 2:09 am on September 13, 2007, Hurricane Humberto made landfall just east of Galveston, Texas–still the site of the deadliest natural disaster in US history, the Galveston Hurricane of 1900. With maximum sustained winds…

Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America’s Energy Future by Jeff Goodell Houghton Mifflin: 2006. 352 pages. Buy now! (Amazon) Coal tends to inspire a few common images in our collective minds. Grizzled and hardened miners, working in deep, dark underground tunnels, piece by piece haul out the black feed needed to power the oversized,…

Coming to Life: How Genes Drive Development by Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard Kales Press: 2006. 176 pages. Buy now! (Amazon) If you examine yourself in the mirror, take a closer look at your favorite pet, or even contemplate that pesky fly that just won’t leave you alone, it’s difficult to not come away with a starry-eyed appreciation…