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Curl Up With a Good Science Book!
Science Book Award Winners and Other Good Reads: Selected Reading List

Science Reference Section
Science, Technology and Business Division
Library of Congress


Poster shows a woman (college student) sitting in a room filled with books reading a work titled Economy. A sign with text "Do It Now" hangs on the wall above her head.
Poster: "Dig" by Sadie Wendell Mitchell.
Prints and Photographs Online Catalog,
Library of Congress.

Award Winners and Nominees

The following are chosen from current and past winners of three notable science book awards (see their web sites for lists of previous winners and nominees):

The Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books (est. 1988):

The PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award (est. 2011):

The Phi Beta Kappa Award in Science (est. 1959):


Abram, David. Becoming animal: an earthly cosmology. New York, Pantheon Books, c2010. 313 p.
GN33.A32 2010
     2011 Runner-up, PEN/E.O. Wilson Award

Bryson, Bill. A short history of nearly everything. New York, Broadway Books, 2003. 544 p.
Q162.B88 2003
     2004 Royal Society Winton Prize

Commoner, Barry. The closing circle; nature, man, and technology. New York, Knopf, 1971. 326 p.
     1972 Phi Beta Kappa Award

Foer, Joshua. Moonwalking with Einstein: the art and science of remembering everything. New York, Penguin Press, 2011. 307 p.
BF385.F64 2011
     Top six choice, 2012 Royal Society Winton Prize

Frank, Lone. My beautiful genome: exposing our genetic future, one quirk at a time. Oxford, England, Oneworld, 2011. 313 p.
(not yet in LC)
     Top six choice, 2012 Royal Society Winton Prize
     Speaker in the Library of Congress Science, Technology & Business Lecture Series

Gleick, James. The information: a history, a theory, a flood. New York, Pantheon Books, c2011. 526 p.
Z665.G547 2011 or Q355.G55 2011
     2012 Royal Society Winton Prize
     2012 PEN/E.O. Wilson Award

Gould, Stephen Jay. Hen’s teeth and horse’s toes. New York, Norton, c1983. 413 p.
QH366.2.G66 1983
     1983 Phi Beta Kappa Award

Greene, B. (Brian). The hidden reality: parallel universes and the deep laws of the cosmos. New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. 370 p.
QC6.G6885 2011
     Top six choice, 2012 Royal Society Winton Prize

Hohn, Donovan. Moby-duck: the true story of 28,800 bath toys lost at sea and of the beachcombers, oceanographers, environmentalists, and fools, including the author, who went in search of them. New York, Viking, 2011. 402 p.
GC231.2.H65 2011
     2012 Runner-up, PEN/E.O. Wilson Award

Mukherjee, Siddhartha. The emperor of all maladies: a biography of cancer. New York, Scribner, 2010. 573 p.
RC275.M85 2010 or RC275.M85 2011
     2011 PEN/E.O. Wilson Award

Panek, Richard. The 4 percent universe: dark matter, dark energy, and the race to discover the rest of reality. Boston, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011. 297 p.
QB981.P257 2010
     Top 12 choice, 2012 Royal Society Winton Prize

Pinker, Steven. Better angels of our nature: why violence has declined. New York, Viking, 2011. 802 p.
HM1116.P57 2011
     Top six choice, 2012 Royal Society Winton Prize

Pretor-Pinney, Gavin. The wavewatcher’s companion: from ocean waves to light waves via shock waves, stadium waves, and all the rest of life’s undulations. New York, Bloomsbury, 2010. 336 p.
QC157.P74 2010b
     2011 Royal Society Winton Prize

Richter, Burton. Beyond smoke and mirrors: climate change and energy in the 21st century. New York, Cambridge University Press, 2010. 226 p.
QC903.R53 2010
     2010 Phi Beta Kappa Award

Shubin, Neil. Your inner fish: a journey into the 3.5-billion-year history of the human body. New York, Pantheon Books, c2008. 229 p.
QM26.S58 2008
     2008 Phi Beta Kappa Award

Warner, William. Beautiful swimmers: watermen, crabs, and the Chesapeake Bay. Boston, Little, Brown, c1976.
304 p.
     1976 Phi Beta Kappa Award

Wolfe, Nathan. The viral storm: the dawn of a new pandemic age. New York, Times Books, 2011. 304 p.
QR360.W65 2011
      Top six choice, 2012 Royal Society Winton Prize

Books Written by Speakers in the LC Science, Technology & Business Division Lecture Series

Cutler, Alan. The seashell on the mountaintop: a story of science, sainthood and the humble genius who discovered a new history of the earth. London, Heinemann, 2003. 228 p.
QE22.S77C85 2003

Goodall, Jane, and others. Hope for animals and their world: how endangered species are being rescued from the brink. New York, Grand Central Pub., 2009. 392 p.
QH75.G636 2009

Herbert, Sandra. Charles Darwin, geologist. Ithaca, Cornell University Press, 2005. 485 p.
QE22.D27H47 2005 <SciRR>

Kakalios, James. The physics of superheroes. Spectacular 2nd ed. New York, Gotham Books, c2009. 424 p.
QC23.2.K35 2009

Nestle, Marion. What to eat. New York, North Point Press, 2006. 611 p.
RA784.N46 2006 <SciRR>

Restak, Richard M. The new brain: how the modern age is rewiring your mind. Emmaus, Pa., Rodale, c2003. 228 p.
QP355.2.R47 2003

Vertosick, Frank T., Jr. The genius within: discovering the intelligence of every living thing. New York, Harcourt, c2002. 354 p.
QP398.V47 2002

A Few Other Suggestions from the Past

Bodanis, David. The secret house: the extraordinary science of an ordinary day. New York, Berkeley Books, 2003.
260 p.
Q173.B663 2003

Gribbin, John. The scientists: a history of science told through the lives of its greatest inventors. New York, Random House, c2003. 646 p.
Q141.G79 2003

Hawking, S. W. (Stephen W.). A brief history of time. Updated and expanded tenth anniversary ed. New York, Bantam Books, 1998. 212 p.
QB981.H337 1998 <SciRR>

Kandel, Eric. R. In search of memory: the emergence of a new science of mind. New York, W.W. Norton & Company, c2006. 510 p.
RC339.52.K362A3 2006

Pretor-Pinney, Gavin. The cloudspotter’s guide: the science, history, and culture of clouds. New York, Perigee Books, c2006. 320 p.
QC921.P78 2006

Thomas, Lewis. The lives of a cell: notes of a biology watcher. New York, Viking Press, 1974. 153 p.
QH331.T45 1974

Watson, James D. The double helix: a personal account of the discovery of the structure of DNA. New York, Atheneum, 1968. 226 p.

Weiner, Jonathan. Time, love, memory: a great biologist and his quest for the origins of behavior. New York, Knopf, 1999. 300 p.
QH457.W43 1999

Wilson, Edward O. Naturalist. Washington, D.C., Island Press/Shearwater Books, c1994. 380p.
QH31.W64A3 1994

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