Best Science Books 2012: Cocktail Party Physics

Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure.

Every year for the last bunch of years I’ve been linking to and posting about all the “year’s best sciencey books” lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year.

All the previous 2012 lists are here.

This post includes the following: Cocktail Party Physics Baker’s Dozen: Sampling the Best Science Books of 2012.

  • The Particle at the End of the Universe by Sean M. Carroll
  • A Man of Misonceptions: The Life of an Eccentric in an Age of Change by John Glassie
  • The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation, by Jon Gertner
  • The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver
  • The Joy of X: A Guided Tour of Math from One to Infinity by Steven Strogatz
  • Fooling Houdini: Magicians, Mentalists, Math Geeks and the Hidden Powers of the Mind by Alex Stone
  • To The Last Breath: A Memoir of Going to Extremes by Francis Slakey
  • Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm
  • Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History by Florence Williams
  • The Magic of Reality: How We Know What’s Really True by Richard Dawkins
  • Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic by David Quammen
  • Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe by George Dyson
  • God’s Hotel: A Doctor, A Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine by Victoria Sweet
  • Before the Lights Go Out: Conquering the Energy Crisis Before It Conquers Us by Maggie Koerth-Baker

I'm always looking for recommendations and notifications of book lists as they appear in various media outlets. If you see one that I haven't covered, please let me know at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or in the comments.

I am picking up most of my lists from Largehearted Boy.

For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and isn’t a science book is squishy at best, especially at the margins, but in the end I pick books that seem broadly about science and technology rather than something else completely. Lists of business, history or nature books are among the tricky ones.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs or The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks or maybe even something else from today's list.


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