Pop-sci meme: what books have you read?

August 29th, 2008 by Reinder

Via PZ "I bought you a sacred host but I trasheded it" Myers comes this book meme: from the list of popular science books below, highlight which ones you've read. It's making me feel like an ignoramus; even with the expanded list suggested by PZ, I don't get very far at all:

1. Micrographia, Robert Hooke
2. The Origin of the Species, Charles Darwin
3. Never at Rest, Richard Westfall
4. Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman, Richard Feynman
5. Tesla: Man Out of Time, Margaret Cheney
6. The Devil's Doctor, Philip Ball
7. The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Richard Rhodes
8. Lonely Hearts of the Cosmos, Dennis Overbye
9. Physics for Entertainment, Yakov Perelman
10. 1-2-3 Infinity, George Gamow
11. The Elegant Universe, Brian Greene
12. Warmth Disperses, Time Passes, Hans Christian von Bayer
13. Alice in Quantumland, Robert Gilmore
14. Where Does the Weirdness Go? David Lindley
15. A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson
16. A Force of Nature, Richard Rhodes
17. Black Holes and Time Warps, Kip Thorne
18. A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking
19. Universal Foam, Sidney Perkowitz
20. Vermeer's Camera, Philip Steadman
21. The Code Book, Simon Singh
22. The Elements of Murder, John Emsley
23. Soul Made Flesh, Carl Zimmer
24. Time's Arrow, Martin Amis
25. The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments, George Johnson
26. Einstein's Dreams, Alan Lightman
27. Godel, Escher, Bach, Douglas Hofstadter
28. The Curious Life of Robert Hooke, Lisa Jardine
29. A Matter of Degrees, Gino Segre
30. The Physics of Star Trek, Lawrence Krauss
31. E=mc2, David Bodanis
32. Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, Charles Seife
33. Absolute Zero: The Conquest of Cold, Tom Shachtman
34. A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, Janna Levin
35. Warped Passages, Lisa Randall
36. Apollo's Fire, Michael Sims
37. Flatland, Edward Abbott
38. Fermat's Last Theorem, Amir Aczel
39. Stiff, Mary Roach
40. Astroturf, M.G. Lord
41. The Periodic Table, Primo Levi
42. Longitude, Dava Sobel
43. The First Three Minutes, Steven Weinberg
44. The Mummy Congress, Heather Pringle
45. The Accelerating Universe, Mario Livio
46. Math and the Mona Lisa, Bulent Atalay
47. This is Your Brain on Music, Daniel Levitin
48. The Executioner's Current, Richard Moran
49. Krakatoa, Simon Winchester
50. Pythagorus' Trousers, Margaret Wertheim
51. Neuromancer, William Gibson
52. The Physics of Superheroes, James Kakalios
53. The Strange Case of the Broad Street Pump, Sandra Hempel
54. Another Day in the Frontal Lobe, Katrina Firlik
55. Einstein's Clocks and Poincare's Maps, Peter Galison
56. The Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sagan
57. The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins
58. The Language Instinct, Steven Pinker
59. An Instance of the Fingerpost, Iain Pears
60. Consilience, E.O. Wilson
61. Wonderful Life, Stephen J. Gould
62. Teaching a Stone to Talk, Annie Dillard
63. Fire in the Brain, Ronald K. Siegel
64. The Life of a Cell, Lewis Thomas
65. Coming of Age in the Milky Way, Timothy Ferris
66. Storm World, Chris Mooney
67. The Carbon Age, Eric Roston
68. The Black Hole Wars, Leonard Susskind
69. Copenhagen, Michael Frayn
70. From the Earth to the Moon, Jules Verne
71. Gut Symmetries, Jeanette Winterson
72. Chaos, James Gleick
73. Innumeracy, John Allen Paulos
74. The Physics of NASCAR, Diandra Leslie-Pelecky
75. Subtle is the Lord, Abraham Pais

76. Ascent of Man, Jacob Bronowski
77. Basin and Range, John McPhee
78. Beak of the Finch, Jonathan Weiner
79. Chance and Necessity, Jacques Monod
80. Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation, Olivia Judson
81. Endless Forms Most Beautiful, Sean Carroll
82. Evolution: The Triumph of an Idea, Carl Zimmer
83. Genome, Matt Ridley
84. Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond
85. It Ain't Necessarily So, Richard Lewontin
86. On Growth and Form, D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson
87. Phantoms in the Brain, VS Ramachandran
88. The Ancestor's Tale, Richard Dawkins
89. The Case of the Female Orgasm: Bias in the Science of Evolution, Elisabeth Lloyd
90. The Eighth Day of Creation, Horace Freeland Judson
91. The Great Devonian Controversy, Martin Rudwick
92. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, Oliver Sacks
93. The Mismeasure of Man, Stephen Jay Gould
94. The Triple Helix: Gene, Organism, and Environment, Richard Lewontin
95. Time, Love, Memory, Jonathan Weiner
96. Voyaging and The Power of Place, Janet Browne
97. Woman: An Intimate Geography, Natalie Angier

I have read several of the books suggested in the comment thread, though, including Steve Jones' Darwin's Ghost: The Origin of Species Updated and several other Dawkins books. Still, this makes me feel like I should work harder on this reading thing.

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2 Responses to “Pop-sci meme: what books have you read?”

  1. Aggie Says:

    #65, 82 and 84 are at my house :P

  2. Ben Says:

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Sadly, The Mismeasure of Man is one of Gould’s worst books. It’s filled with straw-man arguments, ignores the existing evidence, and picks & chooses who he will argue against. For example, Gould omits any mention of the eugenicists of the left, such as Margaret Sanger.

    I would recommend Steven Pinker’s The Blank Slate instead.

    While the nonscientific reviews of The Mismeasure of Man were almost uniformly laudatory, the reviews in the scientific journals were almost all highly critical (Davis, Bernard D. (1983). Neo-Lysenkoism, IQ, and the press. The Public Interest, 74, 41-59).

    - Gould also makes some misleading comments about the early performance of Jewish migrants on psychometric tests. Goddard never found that Jews as a group did poorly, and there is no evidence the tests were used in passing the 1924 Immigration Act (see, Franz Samelson (1975, 1982), Snyderman & Herrnstein 1983).

    - Gould overlooks identical twin studies.

    - Gould’s factor analysis is incorrect (also see John Carroll’s review Intelligence 21, 121-134 (1995), (also, Jensen Contemporary Education Review Summer 1982, Volume 1, Number 2, pp. 121- 135.) David J. Bartholomew, from London School of Economics, who has writtena textbook on factor analysis, also explains in “Measuring Intelligence: Facts and Fallacies” where Gould goes wrong in this area.

    -Gould states that Morton “doctored” his collection of results on cranial size, but J. S. Michael (1988) remeasured a random sample of the Morton collection he found that very few errors had been made, and that these were not in the direction that Gould had asserted.

    - The Army actually still uses IQ tests, and more generally, the tests have been shown to strongly predict academic performance.

    - Gould largely attacks old tests. Jensen responded to a large amount of Gould’s criticism in Contemporary Education Review
    Summer 1982, Volume 1, Number 2, pp. 121- 135.) I don’t think Gould ever replied.

    -He attacks Cyril Burt for fabricating his twin studies, but books since Gould’s first edition came out have vindicated Burt (Joynson (1988) and the other by Ronald Fletcher (1991). Further, twin studies since show average heritability from these studies of 75%, almost the same as Burts supposedly ‘faked’ heritability of 77%.