A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution by Jennifer A. Doudna and Samuel H. SternbergCRISPR-Cas9 is a genome editing technique that makes possible permanent modifications within an organism's DNA. However, the scientists who discovered this "molecular machine" argue that we shouldn't use it without first addressing the serious bioethical issues involved. This balanced and accessible book describes the research that led to this groundbreaking discovery and examines the potential applications (and implications) of a revolutionary new technology.
Into the Gray Zone: A Neuroscientist Explores the Border Between Life and Death by Adrian OwenBlending science and autobiography, cognitive neuroscientist Adrian Owen recounts personal experiences (his mother's death from cancer, a former partner's brain aneurysm) that prompted him to explore the "gray zone" between consciousness and brain death. In addition to introducing readers to the basics of neuroscience, Owen shares intriguing research findings that reveal that 15 to 20 percent of patients in vegetative states are partially or fully conscious but physically unable to respond to stimuli. Into the Gray Zone is must-read for anyone fascinated by the human brain and its many mysteries.
Everything All at Once
by Bill Nye
Whether addressing climate change, the future of our society as a whole, or personal success, or stripping away the mystery of fire walking, there are certain strategies that get results: looking at the world with relentless curiosity, being driven by a desire for a better future, and being willing to take the actions needed to make change happen. He shares how he came to create this approach―starting with his Boy Scout training (it turns out that a practical understanding of science and engineering is immensely helpful in a capsizing canoe) and moving through the lessons he learned as a full-time engineer at Boeing, a stand-up comedian, CEO of The Planetary Society, and, of course, as Bill Nye The Science Guy.
Focus on: Natural Disasters
The Year Without Summer: 1816 and the Volcano that Darkened the World... by William K. Klingaman and Nicholas P. KlingamanWhen Indonesia's Mount Tambora erupted in 1815, locals couldn't help but be aware of the cataclysm, which killed 12,000 people and caused 100 million tons of sulfuric acid to rain down on the archipelago. However, the rest of the world barely noticed until the following year, when global weather patterns changed severely, causing famines and food riots, epidemics and mass emigration. This joint effort by a historian and a meteorologist uses documentary sources to trace the environmental and geopolitical impact of the volcanic eruption, as well as some of the disaster's less obvious consequences, such as Mary Shelley's decision to stay indoors and write Frankenstein.
Fukushima: The Story of a Nuclear Disaster by David A. Lochbaum, Edwin Lyman, Susan Q. Stranahan, and the Union of Concerned ScientistsOn March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Japan caused a tsunami that flooded the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, resulting in the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. This suspenseful account vividly recreates the event, offering lessons that could help prevent future catastrophes. Fukushima may interest readers of Sheri Fink's Five Days at Memorial, another disturbing work of long-form investigative reporting that examines how natural disasters can be compounded and exacerbated by human error.
The Storm of the Century: Tragedy, Heroism, Survival, and the Epic True Story of... by Al RokerThe category-four hurricane that descended on Galveston, Texas, in 1900 leveled the city, killing upwards of 10,000 people and causing millions of dollars worth of damage. Author and television personality Al Roker illustrates the devastation wrought by the storm by focusing on a cross-section of notable figures and ordinary citizens, including members of Galveston's then-thriving African-American community. For more on this epic disaster, pick up Erik Larson's Isaac's Storm: A Man, A Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History.
Contact the Library for more great titles!