Summer Science Reading Suggestions
Pull up your beach chairs and check out these science books and podcasts recommended by our staff
An astronomer suggests recent that interstellar objects are evidence of alien technology. The author of a popular webcom uses science and math to probe random what ifs. And in this sci-fi thriller, a young woman grapples with how the social Internet is changing fame and radicalizing behavior. From books about viruses and rare diseases to medical innovations and technological advances, here are some science books to consider for your summer reading, all contributed by employees from Charles River Labs.
- What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Patrick Munroe. An engineer best known for his webcomic xkcd, Munroe is a master at using science to answer silly questions. In this 2014 bestseller, Munroe indulges people’s inner geek and asks—and answers—questions like what if you could drain all the water from the oceans? Or what would happen if you threw a baseball at light speed.” This delightful book is recommended by Mercedes Morino Doran, Lab-Sci Support
- An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green. When 23-year-old April May was roaming the streets of Manhattan around 3 am she got more than she bargained for. After filming an iPhone video with a 10-foot Transformer-like sculpture that she christened Carl, things started getting weird. She wakes up the next morning to a viral video and a new life filled with literally dozens of Carls. This lifechanging event has all kinds of unintended consequences and highlights the pressures technology have put on our every day lives. Recommended by Jessica Bing, Employee Communications
- Tales From the Bed by Jenifer Estess, as told to Valerie Estess. Written with the aid of her sister Valerie, this book chronicles the life and diagnosis of theatrical producer Jenifer Estess. In 1997 she was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative disease that eventually took her life in 2004. In that time, she and her sisters founded Project ALS and recruited doctors, researchers, and celebrities to their cause. Her book tells the story of her life before and after her diagnosis and chronicles the familial and friendly relationships that made her life richer. Recommended by Senior Scientific Editor and Podcast Host Mary Parker
- Brains On! a science podcast that is targeted toward kids. It takes questions from its young listeners and answers them in a really fun/engaging way. “My ten-year-old LOVES these,” says Teca Lewellyn, Senior Director of Communications at Charles River. Teca also recommends the podcasts Radio Lab and Radio Lab Kids.
- Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth by Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb. Face it, we all wonder if anyone is out there, and we have Hollywood to remind us, all the time, of the possibilities and perils of alien life forms should we wake up one day and, you know, find we are not alone. But what if scientists decided to collectively ignore evidence suggesting it already happened? That’s the crux of Loeb’s book, who argues that interstellar objects observed speeding through our solar system in 2017 could have been evidence of alien technology. Say what? Recommended by Senior Scientific Writer and Eureka Editor Regina Kelder.
- The Butchering Art by Lindsey Fitzharris and Deadly Outbreaks by Alexandra Levitt, take up different aspects of fighting disease. Fitzharris tells the story of how Victorian era physician Joseph Lister transformed surgery from a brutal, harrowing practice to the safe, vaunted profession we know today with his emphasis on antiseptic conditions. Levitt recounts the scientific adventures of a special group of intrepid individuals who investigate these outbreaks around the world and figure out how to stop them. These nonfiction books are also recommended by Mercedes Morino Doran, Lab-Sci Support
Happy reading Eureka readers! Leave your own recommendations in the comments section!