New Books In Science



Interviews with Scientists about their New Books


  • Teya Brooks Pribac, Enter the Animal: Cross-Species Perspectives on Grief and Spirituality (Sydney UP, 2021)

    Teya Brooks Pribac, "Enter the Animal: Cross-Species Perspectives on Grief and Spirituality" (Sydney UP, 2021)

    06/04/2021 Duração: 01h08min

    For centuries, science has largely dismissed the idea that animals experience complex emotions, despite the fact the most humans who’ve spent time in the company of animals would argue otherwise. While research on animal subjectivity is expanding, we still know relatively little about the complexities of non-humans’ emotional lives. Teya Brooks Pribac’s new book, Enter the Animal: Cross-Species Perspectives on Grief and Spirituality, published this year by Sydney University Press, examines the scientific and cultural discourse surrounding animal grief and spirituality. Her interdisciplinary approach combines scientific research with a discussion of psychology and attachment theory, and argues for commonalities of experience shared by many—if not all—living creatures. Brooks Pribac is an independent researcher in the area of animal studies, with a particular interest in cross species grief as well as spirituality as a bodily-focused, non-denominational engagement. She lives in the rural Blue Mountains region o

  • Avi Loeb, Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth (Houghton Mifflin, 2021)

    Avi Loeb, "Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth" (Houghton Mifflin, 2021)

    06/04/2021 Duração: 54min

    In late 2017, scientists at a Hawaiian observatory glimpsed an object soaring through our inner solar system, moving so quickly that it could only have come from another star. Avi Loeb, an astronomer, showed it was not an asteroid; it was moving too fast along a strange orbit, and left no trail of gas or debris in its wake. There was only one conceivable explanation: the object was a piece of advanced technology created by a distant alien civilization. In Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth (Houghton Mifflin, 2021), Loeb takes readers inside the thrilling story of the first interstellar visitor to be spotted in our solar system. He outlines his controversial theory and its profound implications: for science, for religion, and for the future of our species and our planet. A mind-bending journey through the furthest reaches of science, space-time, and the human imagination, Extraterrestrial challenges readers to aim for the stars--and to think critically about what's out there, no

  • James S. J. Schwartz, The Value of Science in Space Exploration (Oxford UP, 2020)

    James S. J. Schwartz, "The Value of Science in Space Exploration" (Oxford UP, 2020)

    05/04/2021 Duração: 01h14min

    The Value of Science in Space Exploration (Oxford UP, 2020) provides a rigorous assessment of the value of scientific knowledge and understanding in the context of contemporary space exploration. It argues that traditional spaceflight rationales are deficient, and that the strongest defense of spaceflight comes from its potential to produce intrinsically and instrumentally valuable knowledge and understanding. It engages with contemporary epistemology to articulate an account of the intrinsic value of scientific knowledge and understanding. It also parleys with recent work in science policy and social philosophy of science to characterize the instrumental value of scientific research, identifying space research as an effective generator of new knowledge and understanding.  These values found an ethical obligation to engage in scientific examination of the space environment. This obligation has important implications for major space policy discussions, including debates surrounding planetary protection policie

  • Doug Bierend. In Search of Mycotopia: Citizen Science, Fungi Fanatics, and the Untapped Potential of Mushrooms (Chelsea Green, 2021)

    Doug Bierend. "In Search of Mycotopia: Citizen Science, Fungi Fanatics, and the Untapped Potential of Mushrooms" (Chelsea Green, 2021)

    02/04/2021 Duração: 55min

    From ecology to fermentation, in pop culture and in medicine—mushrooms are everywhere. With an explorer’s eye, author Doug Bierend guides readers through the weird, wonderful world of fungi and the amazing modern mycological movement. In Search of Mycotopia: Citizen Science, Fungi Fanatics, and the Untapped Potential of Mushrooms (Chelsea Green, 2021) introduces us to an incredible, essential, and oft-overlooked kingdom of life—fungi—and all the potential it holds for our future, through the work and research being done by an unforgettable community of mushroom-mad citizen scientists and microbe devotees. This entertaining and mind-expanding book will captivate readers who are curious about the hidden worlds and networks that make up our planet. Bierend uncovers a vanguard of mycologists; growers, independent researchers, ecologists, entrepreneurs, and amateur enthusiasts exploring and advocating for fungi’s capacity to improve and heal. From decontaminating landscapes and waterways to achieving food security

  • Jonas Peters and Nicolai Meinshausen, The Ravens Hat: Fallen Pictures, Rising Sequences, and Other Mathematical Games (MIT Press, 2021)

    Jonas Peters and Nicolai Meinshausen, "The Raven's Hat: Fallen Pictures, Rising Sequences, and Other Mathematical Games" (MIT Press, 2021)

    02/04/2021 Duração: 57min

    Games have been of interest to mathematicians almost since mathematics became a subject. In fact, entire branches of mathematics have arisen simply to analyze certain games. The Raven's Hat: Fallen Pictures, Rising Sequences, and Other Mathematical Games (MIT Press, 2021) does something very different, and something that I think listeners will find intriguing – it uses games in order to explain mathematical concepts. The Raven's Hat presents a series of engaging games that seem unsolvable--but can be solved when they are translated into mathematical terms. How can players find their ID cards when the cards are distributed randomly among twenty boxes? By applying the theory of permutations. How can a player guess the color of her own hat when she can only see other players' hats? Hamming codes, which are used in communication technologies. Like magic, mathematics solves the apparently unsolvable. The games allow readers, including university students or anyone with high school-level math, to experience the joy

  • Roy Richard Grinker, Nobodys Normal: How Culture Created the Stigma of Mental Illness (Norton, 2021)

    Roy Richard Grinker, "Nobody's Normal: How Culture Created the Stigma of Mental Illness" (Norton, 2021)

    30/03/2021 Duração: 01h02min

    A compassionate and captivating examination of evolving attitudes toward mental illness throughout history and the fight to end the stigma. For centuries, scientists and society cast moral judgments on anyone deemed mentally ill, confining many to asylums. In Nobody's Normal: How Culture Created the Stigma of Mental Illness (W. W. Norton & Company, 2021), anthropologist Roy Richard Grinker chronicles the progress and setbacks in the struggle against mental-illness stigma—from the eighteenth century, through America’s major wars, and into today’s high-tech economy. Nobody’s Normal argues that stigma is a social process that can be explained through cultural history, a process that began the moment we defined mental illness, that we learn from within our communities, and that we ultimately have the power to change. Though the legacies of shame and secrecy are still with us today, Grinker writes that we are at the cusp of ending the marginalization of the mentally ill. In the twenty-first century, mental illness

  • Rick McIntyre, The Reign of Wolf 21: In the Valley of the Druid King (Greystone Books, 2020)

    Rick McIntyre, "The Reign of Wolf 21: In the Valley of the Druid King" (Greystone Books, 2020)

    22/03/2021 Duração: 01h27min

    Today I talked to Rick McIntyre about the first two books of his ongoing The Alpha Wolves of Yellowstone series. The first book we discuss, The Rise of Wolf 8: Witnessing the Triumph of Yellowstone's Underdog, introduces us to the wolves of Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone National Park was once home to an abundance of wild wolves—but park rangers killed the last of their kind in the 1920s. Decades later, the rangers brought them back, with the first wolves arriving from Canada in 1995. This is the incredible true story of one of those wolves. Wolf 8 struggles at first—he is smaller than the other pups, and often bullied—but soon he bonds with an alpha female whose mate was shot. An unusually young alpha male, barely a teenager in human years, Wolf 8 rises to the occasion, hunting skillfully, and even defending his family from the wolf who killed his father. But soon he faces a new opponent: his adopted son, who mates with a violent alpha female. Can Wolf 8 protect his valley without harming his protégé

  • A. Blair and K. von Greyerz, Physico-Theology: Religion and Science in Europe, 1650–1750 (Johns Hopkins UP, 2020)

    A. Blair and K. von Greyerz, "Physico-Theology: Religion and Science in Europe, 1650–1750 (Johns Hopkins UP, 2020)

    19/03/2021 Duração: 38min

    Ann Blair and Kaspar von Greyerz have edited an outstanding volume that breaks important new ground in the history of early modern science and religion. As the contributors to this volume demonstrate, the long-standing discussion of natural theology gave way in the mid-seventeenth century to a new conversation about physico-theology, a distinctive genre of science and religion writing that emphasised the goodness and the predictability of the divine being. Emerging first in the immediate aftermath of the crisis of the English civil wars, this discourse emphasised order and causality, and subjected the being of God to the science of order that was emerging in the same period. But, constructed to explain the benevolence of the creator and creation, physico-theology struggled to make sense of creaturely suffering, and eventually was understood as undermining its own presuppositions. Just published by Johns Hopkins University Press, Physico-Theology: Religion and Science in Europe, 1650-1750 will be a landmark te

  • Courtney E. Thompson, An Organ of Murder: Crime, Violence, and Phrenology in Nineteenth-Century America (Rutgers UP, 2021)

    Courtney E. Thompson, "An Organ of Murder: Crime, Violence, and Phrenology in Nineteenth-Century America" (Rutgers UP, 2021)

    19/03/2021 Duração: 51min

    An Organ of Murder: Crime, Violence, and Phrenology in Nineteenth-Century America (Rutgers UP, 2021) explores the origins of both popular and elite theories of criminality in the nineteenth-century United States, focusing in particular on the influence of phrenology. In the United States, phrenology shaped the production of medico-legal knowledge around crime, the treatment of the criminal within prisons and in public discourse, and sociocultural expectations about the causes of crime. The criminal was phrenology’s ideal research and demonstration subject, and the courtroom and the prison were essential spaces for the staging of scientific expertise. In particular, phrenology constructed ways of looking as well as a language for identifying, understanding, and analyzing criminals and their actions. This work traces the long-lasting influence of phrenological visual culture and language in American culture, law, and medicine, as well as the practical uses of phrenology in courts, prisons, and daily life. Clair

  • Barbara J. King, Animals Best Friends: Putting Compassion to Work for Animals in Captivity and in the Wild (U Chicago Press, 2021)

    Barbara J. King, "Animals' Best Friends: Putting Compassion to Work for Animals in Captivity and in the Wild" (U Chicago Press, 2021)

    19/03/2021 Duração: 49min

    As people come to understand more about animals' inner lives-the intricacies of their thoughts and the emotions that are expressed every day by whales and cows, octopus and mice, even bees-we feel a growing compassion, a desire to better their lives. But how do we translate this compassion into helping other creatures, both those that are and are not our pets? Bringing together the latest science with heartfelt storytelling, Animals' Best Friends: Putting Compassion to Work for Animals in Captivity and in the Wild (University of Chicago Press, 2021) reveals the opportunities we have in everyday life to help animals in our homes, in the wild, in zoos, and in science labs, as well as those considered to be food. Barbara J. King, an expert on animal cognition and emotion, guides us on a journey both animal and deeply human. We meet cows living relaxed lives in an animal sanctuary-and cows with plastic portals in their sides at a university research station. We observe bison free-roaming at Yellowstone National P

  • Alisha Rankin, The Poison Trials: Wonder Drugs, Experiment, and the Battle for Authority in Renaissance Science (Alisha Rankin, 2021)

    Alisha Rankin, "The Poison Trials: Wonder Drugs, Experiment, and the Battle for Authority in Renaissance Science" (Alisha Rankin, 2021)

    18/03/2021 Duração: 01h09min

    In 1524, Pope Clement VII gave two condemned criminals to his physician to test a promising new antidote. After each convict ate a marzipan cake poisoned with deadly aconite, one of them received the antidote, and lived—the other died in agony. In sixteenth-century Europe, this and more than a dozen other accounts of poison trials were committed to writing. Alisha Rankin tells their little-known story. At a time when poison was widely feared, the urgent need for effective cures provoked intense excitement about new drugs. As doctors created, performed, and evaluated poison trials, they devoted careful attention to method, wrote detailed experimental reports, and engaged with the problem of using human subjects for fatal tests. In reconstructing this history, Rankin reveals how the antidote trials generated extensive engagement with “experimental thinking” long before the great experimental boom of the seventeenth century and investigates how competition with lower-class healers spurred on this trend. Alisha R

  • Mitchell L. Hammond, Epidemics and the Modern World (University of Toronto Press, 2020)

    Mitchell L. Hammond, "Epidemics and the Modern World" (University of Toronto Press, 2020)

    17/03/2021 Duração: 01h45min

    Normally we write blogposts that try to convince you to listen to a conversation with an author about their fascinating book. In the time of COVID-19, it doesn't seem necessary to have to sell you on why you should listen to this podcast. Suffice it to say that Mitchell Hammond’s excellent survey of a dozen deadly diseases is a must-read primer to make sense of epidemic history. In Epidemics and the Modern World (University of Toronto Press, 2020), he balances the science of disease etiology and disease cycles with political, socio-economic, and cultural contexts. Read this book! Mitchell L. Hammond, an Assistant Professor at the University of Victoria in beautiful British Columbia. Dr. Hammond studied at Yale, where he earned a BA in Political Science and a MA in Religious History before getting another MA and a PhD in European History at the University of Virginia. His dissertation was entitled “The Origins of Civic Health Care in Early Modern Germany”. He has published several articles and book chapters on

  • Jeremy DeSilva, First Steps: How Upright Walking Made Us Human (Harper, 2021)

    Jeremy DeSilva, "First Steps: How Upright Walking Made Us Human" (Harper, 2021)

    12/03/2021 Duração: 01h07min

    Blending history, science, and culture, a stunning and highly engaging evolutionary story exploring how walking on two legs allowed humans to become the planet’s dominant species. Humans are the only mammals to walk on two, rather than four legs—a locomotion known as bipedalism. We strive to be upstanding citizens, honor those who stand tall and proud, and take a stand against injustices. We follow in each other’s footsteps and celebrate a child’s beginning to walk. But why, and how, exactly, did we take our first steps? And at what cost? Bipedalism has its drawbacks: giving birth is more difficult and dangerous; our running speed is much slower than other animals; and we suffer a variety of ailments, from hernias to sinus problems. In First Steps: How Upright Walking Made Us Human (Harper, 2021), paleoanthropologist Jeremy DeSilva explores how unusual and extraordinary this seemingly ordinary ability is. A seven-million-year journey to the very origins of the human lineage, First Steps shows how upright walk

  • David Payne on the Community of Scientists and Diversity

    David Payne on the Community of Scientists and Diversity

    12/03/2021 Duração: 01h17min

    Listen to this interview of David Payne, who is Chief Careers Editor at Nature. We talk about high quality writing, about the gracious community of scientists, and about diversity, diversity, diversity. Interviewer : "What is the one thing you hope, for sure, that every piece of Careers content will achieve?" David Payne : "Oh, that's a question, isn't it? You know what, I think it is about emotion. And I just want it to––not tug at your heartstrings, that sounds cheesy––but I feel, we spend so much time at work, and work does define us, rightly or wrongly, actually. So much of what we do is mediated through the jobs that we do. We spend so much time with our colleagues, and probably more than we do with family members often. So, I just hope that every piece we publish resonates. We can't resonate with everybody, of course, because it's a very diverse workforce in science. But, whenever I read any piece of content, I always think, how many boxes are we ticking here. You know, who is going to be interested in

  • Edzard Ernst, Chiropractic: Not All That Its Cracked Up to Be (Springer, 2020)

    Edzard Ernst, "Chiropractic: Not All That It's Cracked Up to Be" (Springer, 2020)

    08/03/2021 Duração: 50min

    Of all forms of alternative medicine, chiropractic is the one that is most generally accepted. In the UK, for instance, chiropractors are regulated by statute and even have their own ‘Royal College of Chiropractic’. In the US, chiropractic’s country of origin, most chiropractors carry the title ‘doctor’ and many consumers believe they are medically trained. Despite this high level of acceptance, chiropractic is wide open to criticism. The claims and assumptions made by chiropractors are far from evidence based. Chiropractic manipulations are of doubtful effectiveness and have regularly been associated with severe adverse effects, including multiple fatalities. The advice issued by chiropractors to patients and consumers is often less than responsible. The behaviour of chiropractors and their organisations is frequently less than professional. Edzard Ernst's Chiropractic:' Not All That It's Cracked Up to Be (Springer, 2020) presents and discusses recent evidence in and around chiropractic in a factual and unem

  • Han Yu, Mind Thief: The Story of Alzheimers (Columbia UP, 2021)

    Han Yu, "Mind Thief: The Story of Alzheimer's" (Columbia UP, 2021)

    03/03/2021 Duração: 01h12min

    Alzheimer’s disease, a haunting and harrowing ailment, is one of the world’s most common causes of death. Alzheimer’s lingers for years, with patients’ outward appearance unaffected while their cognitive functions fade away. Patients lose the ability to work and live independently, to remember and recognize. There is still no proven way to treat Alzheimer’s because its causes remain unknown. Mind Thief: The Story of Alzheimer's (Columbia UP, 2021) is a comprehensive and engaging history of Alzheimer’s that demystifies efforts to understand the disease. Beginning with the discovery of “presenile dementia” in the early twentieth century, Han Yu examines over a century of research and controversy. She presents the leading hypotheses for what causes Alzheimer’s; discusses each hypothesis’s tangled origins, merits, and gaps; and details their successes and failures. Yu synthesizes a vast amount of medical literature, historical studies, and media interviews, telling the gripping stories of researchers’ struggles w

  • J. Jureidini and L. B. McHenry, The Illusion of Evidence-Based Medicine: Exposing the Crisis of Credibility in Clinical Research (Wakefield Press, 2020)

    J. Jureidini and L. B. McHenry, "The Illusion of Evidence-Based Medicine: Exposing the Crisis of Credibility in Clinical Research" (Wakefield Press, 2020)

    03/03/2021 Duração: 57min

    An exposé of the corruption of medicine by the pharmaceutical industry at every level, from exploiting the vulnerable destitute for drug testing, through manipulation of research data, to disease mongering and promoting drugs that do more harm than good. Authors, Professor Jon Jureidini and Dr Leemon McHenry, made critical contributions to exposing the scientific misconduct in two infamous trials of antidepressants. Ghostwritten publications of these trials were highly influential in prescriptions of paroxetine (Paxil) and citalopram (Celexa) in paediatric and adolescent depression, yet both trials (Glaxo Smith Kline's paroxetine study 329 and Forest Laboratories' citalopram study CIT-MD-18) seriously misrepresented the efficacy and safety data. The Illusion of Evidence-Based Medicine: Exposing the Crisis of Credibility in Clinical Research (Wakefield Press, 2020) provides a detailed account of these studies and argues that medicine desperately needs to re-evaluate its relationship with the pharmaceutical ind

  • Erika Engelhaupt, Gory Details: Adventures from the Dark Side of Science (National Geographic, 2020)

    Erika Engelhaupt, "Gory Details: Adventures from the Dark Side of Science" (National Geographic, 2020)

    25/02/2021 Duração: 56min

    Would your dog eat you if you died? What are face mites? Why do clowns creep us out? In this illuminating collection of grisly true science stories, journalist Erika Engelhaupt, the writer of National Geographic’s highly acclaimed Gory Details blog, shares the answers to these questions and many more. Gory Details: Adventures from the Dark Side of Science (National Geographic, 2020) explores the strange and shocking realities of our minds, our bodies and our universe, taking readers on a fascinating tour through overlooked but astonishing aspects of biology, anatomy, nature and more, as well as the ways that science helps to break down taboos surrounding such conversation topics as women’s bodies. Blending humor and real science, Engelhaupt shares captivating stories and intriguing research that will alter the way readers view the world. From a peek inside the world's smallest crime scenes to a hands-on look at maggot farming, Gory Details features top-notch reporting, interviews with leading scientists and a

  • Tracie White and Ronald W. Davis, The Puzzle Solver: A Scientists Desperate Hunt to Cure the Illness That Stole His Son (Hachette, 2021)

    Tracie White and Ronald W. Davis, "The Puzzle Solver: A Scientist's Desperate Hunt to Cure the Illness That Stole His Son" (Hachette, 2021)

    24/02/2021 Duração: 01h04min

    Based on a viral article, the gripping medical mystery story of Ron Davis, a world-class Stanford geneticist who has put his career on the line to find the cure for chronic fatigue syndrome, the disease killing his son. For the past six years, Whitney Dafoe has been confined to a bedroom in the back of his parents' home, unable to walk, to eat, to speak. The sound of music causes him pain. At one point, the formerly healthy, young, freelance photographer, faced starvation as his 6'3" frame withered to 115 pounds. In desperation, Whitney and his parents went from one specialist to another, and still no answers. Then, finally, a diagnosis: the mysterious disease myalgic encephalomyelitis or chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS). Whitney's story is heartbreaking, but it's also one of redemption. It reaches far beyond just one family's harrowing tale.  Today, ME/CFS affects between 1 and 2.5 million Americans--and 20 million people around the world. Those afflicted largely suffer in silence because the disease is lit

  • Milo Beckman, Math Without Numbers (Dutton, 2020)

    Milo Beckman, "Math Without Numbers" (Dutton, 2020)

    22/02/2021 Duração: 55min

    One of the questions I am often asked is exactly what do mathematicians do. The short answer is that they look at different mathematical structures, try to deduce their properties, and think about how they might apply to the real world. Math Without Numbers (Dutton, 2020) does a wonderful job of explaining what mathematical structures are, and does so in a fashion that even readers who are uncomfortable with the process of doing mathematics can appreciate and enjoy. There are courses in music and art appreciation, and if there ever are courses in math appreciation, this book would certainly be at or near the top of the reading list. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit Support our show by becoming a premium member!

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