9 Accessible & Fascinating Books About Science

Tue, 7 Aug 2018

Science is the best tool humans have for answering questions about the world, and even the universe. But articles published in academic journals can be tough to understand if you don't have a degree in the field. Luckily, there are plenty of talented authors who write about scientific topics in an easy-to-understand and entertaining way. We've gathered nine books written for a wide audience that cover fascinating topics, from astrophysics to rain. When you click links from this website, we may receive advertising revenue to support our research. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

9 Accessible & Fascinating Books About Science

Title Description Author(s) More by the Author
1. Storm in a Teacup The physics of everyday life Helen Czerski N/A
2. Through Two Doors at Once The elegant experiment that captures the enigma of our quantum reality Anil Ananthaswamy The Edge of Physics
3. Why You Eat What You Eat The science behind our relationship with food Rachel Herz PhD That's Disgusting
4. Black Hole Blues Songs from outer space Janna Levin How the Universe Got Its Spots
5. The Vital Question Energy, evolution, and the origins of complex life Nick Lane Oxygen
6. Algorithms to Live By The computer science of human decisions Brian Christian & Tom Griffiths The Most Human Human
7. Pandemic Tracking contagions, from cholera to ebola and beyond Sonia Shah The Fever
8. Rain A natural and cultural history of rain Cynthia Barnett Blue Revolution
9. Happy Brain Where happiness comes from, and why Dean Burnett Idiot Brain

The Major Branches of Science

  1. Natural Sciences: Include biology, chemistry, & physics
  2. Social Sciences: Include psychology, sociology, & economics
  3. Formal Sciences: Include math, statistics, & computer science

Frequently Asked Questions About Science

In Depth

There are a number of science books that are not only informational, but truly fun to read. For the curious minds out there, we have taken the liberty of listing some of the best reads in this genre. These types of resources cover complex and interesting topics, from psychology to quantum mechanics, that are sure to entertain any science-hungry reader. In no particular order, here are nine of our top picks.

At the #1 spot is "Storm in a Teacup." Written by physicist and BBC presenter Helen Czerski, this book is able to explain everyday things using physics. It explores various topics, such as the reason why the sky is blue, how popcorn pops, and the mechanics of making ketchup flow from the bottle. Aside from discussions about ordinary processes, the author also includes jokes, personal stories, and cute footnotes.

Coming in at #2 is "Through Two Doors at Once," an explanation of the quantum world by award-winning journalist Anil Ananthaswamy. It provides essential information about the "double-slit experiment," which shows that light behaves both as a particle and a wave. Despite the complexity of the topic, the author cleverly manages to write in clear and compelling prose. This is a great read for anyone interested in scientific research.

Next, at #3 is "Why You Eat What You Eat" by acclaimed neuroscientist Rachel Herz. This book sheds light on Western eating habits. It touches upon several subjects, including the effect of our senses on food consumption and the influence of color on our diet. Written as a narrative, the topics are all based on scientific research, weaving together facts and techniques for a more pleasurable digestive experience.

Taking the #4 spot is "Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space." A century after Albert Einstein theorized their presence, gravitational waves were detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. This book is author Janna Levin's authoritative account of that discovery, relaying the complex and fascinating science behind Einstein's most radical experiment.

At #5, "The Vital Question" is a clever synthesis of a new theory, answering why life is the way it is on Earth. Author Nick Lane, a biochemist at University College London, sets out to explain why we have multiple genders, the reason for aging, and how complex organisms arose. This book attempts to answer one of life's most important queries: "Why are we here?" Written in lucid and accessible prose, this resource is a strikingly entertaining view of biology.

Coming in at #6 is "Algorithms to Live By." This remarkable book by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths utilizes the principles of computer science as practical strategies for human living. It features discussions about algorithms and how they apply to real-life problems, such as house hunting in a new city, finding a parking spot, or simply organizing your inbox. The authors offer readers the chance to improve their probability of success by using shortcuts.

At the #7 spot is "Pandemic" by Sonia Shah, a science journalist and prizewinning author. Her superbly-written guide to infectious diseases traces pathogens from their earliest stages and links them to new illnesses that are experienced globally. Cholera, a sickness which has caused seven pandemics in the past two centuries, is used as a case study in this book.

Next, At #8 is "Rain." Authored by award-winning environmental journalist Cynthia Barnett, this resource is filled with well-researched information. Rain is comprehensively discussed here, from its genesis to its effect on climate change. The author also inserted some anecdotes, including the existence of a perfume said to capture the aroma of parched ground after a rainfall. For anyone who longingly looks at nimbus clouds or frets about drought, this is an ideal read.

Finally, at #9 is "Happy Brain." In this stimulating book, Dean Burnett explores the origin of happiness in a neuroscientific perspective. He begins by describing the brain and then explaining how dopamine and oxytocin work as neurotransmitters. Based on research and interviews with experts, the author comes up with an effective method of determining what makes us happy and what happens to our mental state when we are feeling joyful.