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  • Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer
    Matthew Shoemaker


    A charming new game educates as players compete to stave off honey bee colony collapse

    Could you survive a year in the life of a queen bee? A new tabletop board game challenges players to do just that, providing a surprisingly educational experience along the way. Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer was designed by beekeeper and librarian Matthew Shoemaker and pointedly avoids cartoonish depictions of the beloved pollinators. Read More
  • End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World
    Bryan Walsh


    An urgent tour of catastrophic risks calls for action

    Extreme global catastrophe is a subject of endless fascination, and many books have been written on it. Those written by journalists for general audiences are often narrowly focused on the science of various apocalyptic scenarios (1, 2), whereas books by academics often also cover ethics and policy issues and emphasize the authors’ analysis over interviews… Read More
  • The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt
    Andrea Wulf, author; Lillian Melcher, illustrator


    A vivid biography of Alexander von Humboldt enlightens, but lacks greater historical context

    Making Alexander von Humboldt’s life, his works, and his thinking accessible to the public is one of the goals of this year’s commemoration of the 250th anniversary of his birth. As a result, not only have a large number of books been published that provide new insights into Humboldt’s scholarship, there are numerous attempts to… Read More
  • The Deep History of Ourselves: The Four-Billion-Year Story of How We Got Conscious Brains
    Joseph LeDoux


    An eminent fear researcher argues for an about-face in how we conceive of emotions

    Evolution, behavior, brains, consciousness, and emotions are topics of enduring fascination. In The Deep History of Ourselves, Joseph LeDoux embraces all five in earnest. His ambitious endeavor to cover them in an integrated fashion is successful in many respects, but controversial in others. LeDoux is a renowned neuroscientist and a pioneer in studying fear conditioning… Read More
  • Collection

    Our autumn reading list

    What can a lowly lichen reveal about a grisly murder case? Which common clothing item requires 5000 gallons of water to create? Where is the best place for a pilot to crash a malfunctioning airplane? Chockful of interesting trivia and thoughtful scholarship, the books on this year’s fall reading list—reviewed by alumni of the AAAS… Read More
  • Making Black Scientists: A Call to Action
    Marybeth Gasman and Thai-Huy Nguyen


    Data and success stories reveal how to ensure that African American students thrive in the STEM classroom

    Building a diverse STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) workforce is an enduring priority in the United States, but predominantly white institutions (PWIs) have been slow to correct the systematic exclusion of Native Americans, Hispanics, and African Americans from educational opportunities. In Making Black Scientists, Marybeth Gasman and Thai-Huy Nguyen examine African America… Read More
  • The Pursuit of Parenthood: Reproductive Technology from Test-Tube Babies to Uterus Transplants
    Margaret Marsh and Wanda Ronner


    A thought-provoking volume traces the medical, social, and political histories of in vitro fertilization

    Major academic figures admonish “immoral experiments on the unborn.” An advertisement in The New York Times cautions about the “unknowable risks to human lives.” A government official calls for an ethics board to investigate “attempts to control the genetic makeup of offspring.” No, these are not the latest outcries over germline gene editing. The concerns… Read More
  • Human Nature
    Adam Bolt, director


    Slick visuals and compelling interviews render gene editing intelligible to nonexperts

    If you could cure a child suffering from sickle cell anemia, would you? This is the question at the center of Human Nature, a new documentary directed by Adam Bolt about the revolutionary gene-editing technology known as CRISPR. The documentary is visually stunning, thought-provoking, informative, and tightly focused on human health—which means that there are… Read More
  • Collecting Experiments: Making Big Data Biology
    Bruno J. Strasser


    Scientific collections have long been lightning rods for data ownership concerns

    In Collecting Experiments, Bruno Strasser posits that biology’s increasing emphasis on large databases, best exemplified by the rise of genomics and bioinformatics, is a return to the venerable world of natural history—of collectors, curators, and museums. Beyond biology, the book connects to the broader context of data science emerging within many academic disciplines and throughout… Read More
  • Wilted: Pathogens, Chemicals, and the Fragile Future of the Strawberry Industry
    Julie Guthman


    Strawberry growers seek a sustainable path forward without go-to fungicides

    How do conventional, corporate berries that have traveled more than 2000 miles compare with local, organic berries? They are certainly more affordable and taste just as good—but at what cost? In her new book, Wilted, Julie Guthman explores the strawberry industry, from its origins in the mid-1800s to our kitchen tables today. But her focus… Read More