Book recommendations thread

Claymore

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#1
I figure we need a thread for scientific book recommendations, so I'll start one.

Here are some of the books I've found really enlightening and interesting:

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed - Jared Diamond.
Fascinating, but a little worrying from an environmental point of view.

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies - Jared Diamond.
I think this book has an amazingly clear discussion on why it was Europeans who came to explore the world and dominate modern society

The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal - Jared Diamond.
Plenty of stuff there if you're interested in human evolution, and how an ape species came to dominate the world.

Earth: An Intimate History - Richard Fortey.
I'm still busy with this one, but it's given me a great introduction to an understanding of Earth's geological processes.

Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History - Stephen Jay Gould.
This deals with the Cambrian explosion, and is really interesting, though some of Gould's ideas have been superseded since the book was published.

A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson.
A brilliant thumbnail of the Earth's scientific history.

The Seven Daughters of Eve - Brian Sykes.
This was a really nice discussion on human evolution and mitochondrial DNA.
 

Moederloos

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#2
The Blind watchmaker and the God Delusion
Richard Dawkins
Although, the latter is more of an intelligent debate against religion, than pure science.
 

Nick333

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#3
A Short History of Nearly Everything - Bill Bryson

Cosmos - Carl Sagan

Two good rough guides to science.
 

texo

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#4
I'm busy reading "What It Means To Be 98% Chimpanzee" by Jonathan Marks.
Fascinating stuff.
 

icyrus

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#5
A request rather than a recommendation if I may?

Has anyone read, or know of, any interesting books that deal with extinction, particularly from a behavioral basis?

Claymore's suggestion Collapse sounds interesting, I will check it out.
 

Moederloos

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#6
A request rather than a recommendation if I may?

Has anyone read, or know of, any interesting books that deal with extinction, particularly from a behavioral basis?

Claymore's suggestion Collapse sounds interesting, I will check it out.
behavioral basis? as in inability to adapt or predator behaviour?
Dawkins 'the selfish gene" may touch on that - it was a bit "above me" and I got bored :eek:

EDIT: not so sure its extinction directly, but rather the end of a species because of evolution into another.
 

Xarog

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#7
The Blind watchmaker and the God Delusion
Richard Dawkins
Although, the latter is more of an intelligent debate against religion, than pure science.
Aye. And since the majority of the people that wanted this section were trying to get away from those preaching dogma, let's try to not goad those preaching dogma into thinking there's something that they can meaningfully respond to with regard to this particular subsection.
 

Moederloos

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#8
Aye. And since the majority of the people that wanted this section were trying to get away from those preaching dogma, let's try to not goad those preaching dogma into thinking there's something that they can meaningfully respond to with regard to this particular subsection.
I would prefer to not hide from the dogma preaching, science avoiding, self-appointed saviours of human kind.
;)
 

icyrus

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#9
behavioral basis? as in inability to adapt or predator behaviour?
Kind of. I was thinking of situations like a species whose environment changes but their behavior stays the same or a species whose behavior radically changes but their environment stays the same. Along those lines.

Dawkins 'the selfish gene" may touch on that - it was a bit "above me" and I got bored :eek:
Thanks, will check it out.
 

Xarog

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#10
I would prefer to not hide from the dogma preaching, science avoiding, self-appointed saviours of human kind.
;)
If it seems like I'm taking you to task, I apologise in advance, but :

That's not what this place is about. As you rightly mentioned, those books are not about science, which is what this forum is about. If you want to tackle dogma head-on, the philosophical section (for the moment) is the place to do it.

People wanted the Science section largely so that they could discuss scientific issues without having to constantly defend the tenets on which Science is based. The second dogma gets discussed is the second that, once again, the majority of intellectual energy will be spent on defending the tenets of science rather than the interesting things those tenets have yielded.

I'm asking that with respect to the above, that nothing be posted which would open the door to that question. Let's not leave the dogmatists feeling that their viewpoint has been ridiculed in a place where they're unwelcome to respond.

(And that's all I'll say on this in this thread. This is supposed to be a book thread and the hijack has gone far enough.)
 

Bernie

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#11
I actually enjoy John Gribbins Books, and find he best explains science and quantum physics in the most elegant manner suitable for the average guy/gal in the street. There are almost no maths in his explanations. While I understand that the true beauty of many of these theories cannot truly be appreciated without a thorough understanding of the underlying mathematical concepts, the resultant summaries and explanations that he gives is more than enough to enable one to get a grasp and appreciation of the topic at hand.


Schrodinger's Kittens and the Search for Reality


The Scientists: A History of Science Told Through the Lives of Its Greatest Inventors

There a bunch of other books hes written - Google is your friend here :D

One of the books I most enjoyed was
Fermat's Last Theorem
 

twiga

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#12
No one mentioned "A brief history of time" by Hawkings.
Also: "The Golden Ratio" by Dr. Mario Livio

- twiga
 

Bernie

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#13
No one mentioned "A brief history of time" by Hawkings.
...
Very true. But perhaps the huge headache I got after reading A brief history of time, the first time, had something to do with me forgetting about it :D. I must read it again. Its definitely one of those that the more you read it the more you learn, you cant just read it once :)
 

Nick333

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#14
Very true. But perhaps the huge headache I got after reading A brief history of time, the first time, had something to do with me forgetting about it :D. I must read it again. Its definitely one of those that the more you read it the more you learn, you cant just read it once :)
I think I got to chapter two on my third try. :D
 

Nanfeishen

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#15
For those who are interested in Quantum Physics and Eastern Philosophy a rather good introduction is :
The Dancing Wu Li Masters --Gary Zukav

Does a nice explanation of the parallels between the two.
 

ernstn

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#16
I am currently reading Verkeerdespruit by Michiel Heyns. Although the author is fully bilingual and is a lecturer at Stellenbosch, it was published in English first as The children's day.

For anyone familiar with the platteland(country) towns in the sixties, this will certainly stir some memories and provide humor and sharp observations aplenty.

The author translated the book into Afrikaans himself with the help of another.
 

Claymore

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#17
I am currently reading Verkeerdespruit by Michiel Heyns. Although the author is fully bilingual and is a lecturer at Stellenbosch, it was published in English first as The children's day.

For anyone familiar with the platteland(country) towns in the sixties, this will certainly stir some memories and provide humor and sharp observations aplenty.

The author translated the book into Afrikaans himself with the help of another.
What aspect of science does it deal with?
 
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