Five super science books landed on my desk during the last week or two, everything from a Haynes manual for the Space Shuttle to hacking life and from astrobiology to the discovery of Lucy by way of the fact of evolution.
- The Fact of Evolution – Opponents of evolution are wont to say it's "just" a theory, as if that somehow implies it's a fiction or not proven. Scientists often dislike talking in plain or making absolute, definitive statements. But, science writers and some scientists really don't mind telling it like it is. Forget the wishy-washy word "theory" with its non-scientific baggage, this is the Fact of Evolution. The onus is on opponents to prove otherwise by coming up with evidence for their own "theory".
- Biopunk: DIY Scientists Hack the Software of Life – Biopunks, as defined by science writer Marcus Wohlsen, are part of a loosely knit, multifaceted movement to find ways to permit people to engage in DNA research without the restrictions and costs imposed by the scientific and medical establishment. Practitioners, some self-taught, set up shop in their kitchens or garages, believing that significant biological advances are more likely to occur as more people get involved in the enterprise. DNA for DIY GM, in other words.
- The Lucy Man – Biography of the man who discovered 'Lucy' – perhaps the most well-known fossil ever. Scientists dream of making a discovery that changes the way we think. That dream came true for Donald Johanson when he found 'Lucy' (Australopithecus afarensis); Lucy changed everything we know about human evolution.
- From Dying Stars to the Birth of Life – Personally, I'm with Fermi when it comes to intelligent ET – if they're out there, where are they? Nevertheless, there could very well be less than technological life on other worlds, indeed it is almost inevitable. This is the incredible story of the birth of an entirely new field of science called astrobiology – a field that is now investigating whether life might exist on other worlds. From the discovery that other stars in our galaxy are circled by planets to the detection of single-cell organisms found living on Earth in extremely hostile environments, this account details the recent breakthroughs made by astronomers and earth scientists over the last few decades. Based on these findings, it argues that scientists now have the technology they need to move from speculating or fantasizing about extraterrestrials to possibly providing humanity with the first definitive proof that we are not alone.
- Space Shuttle Haynes Manual – The NASA Space Shuttle Manual: An Insight into the Design, Construction and Operation of the NASA Space Shuttle (Owner's Workshop Manual). Sounds like a spoof but an astrogeek's insider dream. Shame they're all heading for museums rather than flying more missions…
The latest five science books to land on the desk of David Bradley Science Writer @sciencebase.