Great Big Science Read Book Suggestions
Great Big Science Read is coming soon to help celebrate National Science Week and the National Year of Reading! If you’re involved with a book club, consider participating in the Great Big Science Read through choosing a science-related book to read in August or beyond.
Here are some recommendations for books to read from some of Australia’s leading scientists and the RiAus Book Club. These and more will be shared with libraries and the media in the lead-up to science week, including quotes from leading scientists about their favourite science books. So keep an eye out for discussion and debate about science books this August and we’d love to see your local book club getting involved!
A short history of nearly everything by Bill Bryson
If hearing science books compels you to think of text books, then take a look at the bestselling pop culture version. Bill Bryson wrote this book because he felt that text book writers “wanted to keep the good stuff secret by making all of it soberly unfathomable” –now he’s sharing the good stuff with you.
Contact by Carl Sagan
This sci-fi classic is worth re-reading while radio astronomy is a hot topic in Australia. Brian Schmidt, Australia’s winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, used radio astronomy to show how the expansion of the universe is accelerating. This year it was announced Australia will collaborate with New Zealand and African countries to build the Square Kilometre Array, a globally significant radio astronomy project. This book gives readers a sense of what radio astronomers do, while inspiring discussion about where knowing more about our universe might lead us.
Rosalind Franklin – the dark lady of DNA by Brenda Maddox
This powerful biography tells the tale of a single-minded, forthright and tempestuous woman scientist who had been edited out of the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the structure of DNA. It has been nominated by one of Australia’s leading women scientists as a favourite.
The philosophical breakfast club: four remarkable friends who transformed science and changed the world by Laura J. Snyder
This narrative about the friendship and ideas that flourished between four scientists in Cambridge in the 1800s won last year’s Great Big Science Read public vote for Australia’s favourite science book.
The physics of superheroes by James Kakalios
If you prefer comic books to text books then this could be the Great Big Science Read pick for you. This book explains what Superman’s strength can tell us about Newtonian physics and shares the science behind the death of Spider-Man’s girlfriend Gwen Stacy. Professor Kakalios’s explanation was so influential it shaped the plot of a new Spider-Man comic!
Or consider sharing your own favourite science book this August – what comes to mind?
By Cobi Smith, @cobismith
Image credit: Denisa Kadlecova