1. Health & Medicine

    BOOK REVIEW | Microcosm: E. coli and the New Science of Life

    When science writer Carl Zimmer looks into a petri dish teeming with E. coli, he sees himself, humanity and all life. In Microcosm, Zimmer traces the lessons biologists have learned from the microbe, which calls our guts its home. He also uses it to discuss some of the most fundamental questions in biology: What is […]

  2. Life

    BOOK LIST | Manipulative Monkeys: The Capuchins of Lomas Barbudal

    Primatologists follow the social lives of these big-brained Costa Rican monkeys. Harvard Univ. Press, 2008 358 p. $45 MANIPULATIVE MONKEYS

  3. Math

    BOOK LIST | Guesstimation: Solving the World’s Problems on the Back of a Cocktail Napkin

    Learn to use simple arithmetic to approximate anything. Princeton Univ. Press, 2008, 300 p. $19.95 GUESSTIMATION

  4. Space

    BOOK LIST | Newton: Ackroyd’s Brief Lives

    The book promises a personal history of Isaac Newton. Ackroyd also wrote Shakespeare: The Biography and London: The Biography. Nan A. Talese, 2008 176 p. $21.95 NEWTON: ACKROYD’S BRIEF LIVES

  5. Plants

    BOOK LIST | Winter Trees

    In this picture book, a child uses sight and touch to identify seven common trees, even after they’ve lost their leaves. Charlesbridge Publishing, 2008, 30 p. $15.95 WINTER TREES

  6. Health & Medicine

    BOOK REVIEW | A Portrait of the Brain

    What you don’t know about the brain could fill a book. That’s true even if you happen to be a brain surgeon or neuroscientist. Luckily, Zeman, a British neurologist, has painted A Portrait of the Brain in lucid, conversational prose. Zeman steps us through the brain’s inner workings, starting with the most fundamental element — […]

  7. Earth

    BOOK LIST | A Grain of Sand: Nature’s Secret Wonder

    Beautiful photos of sand grains up close reveal surprising diversity. Text describes a sand grain’s journey from mountain to beach. A GRAIN OF SAND Voyageur Press, 2008, 112 p. $20.

  8. Planetary Science

    BOOK LIST | Titan Unveiled

    Astronomer Lorenz and science writer Mitton provide the details of what we know so far about Saturn’s moon. TITAN UNVEILED Princeton University Press, 2008, 243 p., $29.95

  9. Astronomy

    BOOK LIST | Archimedes to Hawking: Laws of Science and the Great Minds Behind Them

    Pickover, who has authored 40 books on many aspects of science and mathematics, discusses how the works of great minds from Archimedes to Stephen Hawking have changed humankind’s understanding of the universe. BIG IDEAS, AND BIG THINKERS, IN COSMOLOGY Oxford University Press, 2008, 514 p., $27.95.