Ellis has a nice response to my wee post on the best science books:

I’ve read two of Tim’s choices. James Watson’s DNA book is very good, although notoriously it underplays the role of Rosalind Franklin, who was resented as a very bright woman in a male-dominated scientific culture. (Being Jewish may also not have helped.) An essential corrective to Crick’s book is this very readable account of Franklin’s contribution [Brenda Maddox's Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA].

And there was more on the best science books story in the Guardian yesterday where James Randerson, "science correspondent", writes Levi's memoir beats Darwin to win science book title.

One book that did not make the shortlist was Oliver Sacks' A Leg to Stand On, which was nominated by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The work of the New York-based neurologist was made famous in the film Awakenings. Dr Williams said the book "challenges all sorts of assumptions about mind and body, and sketches a very exciting concept of the body itself as 'taking shape' in mind and imagination".

Over at The Book Depository, I regularly have top ten lists on the homepage there. My Ten Great Science Books list, in no particular order, is:

  • Lewis Wolpert's Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast
  • Elaine Morgan's The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis
  • Kenan Malik's Man, Beast and Zombie
  • James Gleick's Isaac Newton
  • Daniel Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea
  • Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions
  • Jared Diamond's Guns Germs and Steel
  • Chris Knight's Blood Relations
  • Edward Wilson's The Diversity of Life
  • Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene

I'm also rather partial to Frank Ryan's Darwin's Blind Spot.

Readers Comments

  1. Resolute Reader Monday 23 October 2006

    Oooh. Book lists. How exciting! My two-pence worth would be to add:

    James Gleicks' Chaos
    Charles Darwin's Voyage of the Beagle
    Steven Mithen's After the Ice - A Global Human History

    and a recent, but important contribution to the Climate Change debate, Heat, by George Monbiot.

    I'd have to echo calls for Steven Rose (particularly "Not In Our Genes", which so influenced me in my university years) and Stephen Gould. And I'd agree with the Jared Diamond mentioned above.

    Honourable mentions should also go to Longitude by Dava Sobel, The Cogwheel Brain (about Babbage and the mechanical computer, rebuilt at the Science Museum in London) by Doran Swade and I think, that Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" is well worth a mention too.

  2. Thanks for that Jim. I'll take a good look at your site over this coming weekend. I've always been very sympathetic to Elaine Morgan so it will be good to see what you have to say against her theory.
    Jim's website about the Aquatic Ape Theory is

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