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Past Readings

2022 Book Selections

David Stipp, A Most Elegant Equation: Euler's Formula and the Beauty of Mathematics
Carl Rovelli, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics; Paul Nurse, What Is Life? Five Great Ideas in Biology
Caleb Scharf, The Ascent of Information: Books, Bits, Genes, Machines, and Life’s Unending Algorithm
Virginia Postrel, The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World
Michael J. Benton and Bob Nicholls, Dinosaurs: New Visions of a Lost World
Lisa Jardine, The Curious Life of Robert Hooke: The Man Who Measured London Ananyo Bhattacharya, The Man from the Future: The Visionary Life of John von Neumann
Peter Atkins, Atkins’ Molecules
Jeremy Desilva, First Steps, How Upright Walking Made Us Human
Don Norman, The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition

2021 Book Selections

Eli Maor, Music by the Numbers: From Pythagoras to Schoenberg
A.S. Barwich, Smellosophy: What the Nose Tells the Mind
Michael Strevens, Knowledge Machine: How Irrationality Created Modern Science
Joseph Mazur, The Clock Mirage: Our Myth of Measured Time
Nick Lane, Oxygen: The Molecule That Made the World
Paul Hoffman, The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul Erdos
Steven Johnson, The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic—and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World
Jennifer Ackerman, The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think
Tim Gregory, Meteorite: How Stones From Outer Space Made Our World
Roland Ennos, The Age of Wood: Our Most Useful Material and the Construction of Civilization
Paul Sen, Einstein's Fridge: How the Difference Between Hot and Cold Explains the Universe

2020 Book Selections

David Hockney and Martin Gayford, A History of Pictures: From the Cave to the Computer Screen
Ian Stewart, Do Dice Play God? The Mathematics of Uncertainty
Cathy Cobb and Harold Goldwhite, Creations Of Fire: Chemistry's Lively History From Alchemy To The Atomic Age
Nathaniel Bradlee, History Introduction of Pure Water into the City of Boston 
Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind 
Jack Hartnell, Medieval Bodies: Life and Death in the Middle Ages
Merlin Sheldrake, Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our

John McPhee, Basin and Range
Naomi Oreskes, Stephen Macedo, et al. , Why Trust Science?
Sean Carroll, Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime

2019 Book Selections

  • Peter Godfrey-Smith, Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea and the Deep Origins of Consciousness
  • Simon Winchester, The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology
  • Penny Le Couteur  and Jay Burreson, Napoleon's Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History
  • David Quammen and Jacques Roy, The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life
  • David Reich, Who Are We and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past
  • Jim Holt, When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought
  • Sabine Hossenfelder, Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray
    Christof Koch, The Feeling of Life Itself. Why Consciousness Is Widespread but Can’t Be Computed
    Timothy C. Winegard, The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator

2018 Book Selections

  • Fred Piper and Sean Murphy, Cryptography: A Very Short Introduction
  • Paul Halpern, The Quantum Labyrinth: How Richard Feynman and John Wheeler Revolutionized Time and Reality
  • Jenny Uglow, The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World
  • Nick Bostrom, Super Intelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies
  • Stephen Jay Gould, The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister's Pox: Mending the Gap Between Science and the Humanities
  • Simon Winchester, The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World
  • Carlo Rovelli, The Order of Time
  • Steven Weinberg, Third Thoughts
  • Alan Jasanoff, The Biological Mind: How Brain, Body, and Environment Collaborate to Make Us Who We Are
  • Sean Carroll, The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself

2017 Book Selections

Simon Singh, The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
Frans de Waal, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are
Eugene S. Ferguson, Engineering and the Mind's Eye
Arlindo Oliveira, The Digital Mind: How Science is Redefining Humanity
Ian Stewart, Calculating the Cosmos: How Mathematics Unveils the Universe
Helen Czerski, Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life
Barry Mazur, Imagining Numbers
Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder: The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror of Science

2016 Book Selections

  • Eric Scerri, A Tale of Seven Elements
  • William Rosen, The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention
    Nick Lane, The Vital Question, Why Is Life The Way It Is? 
    Reviel Netz, The Archimedes Codex: How a Medieval Prayer Book Is Revealing the True Genius of Antiquity's Greatest Scientist
    Alan Hirshfeld, Starlight Detectives: How Astronomers, Inventors, and Eccentrics Discovered the Modern Universe
    Arnold Pacey, Technology in World Civilization: A Thousand-Year History
    Joseph Henrich, The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter
    Caspar Henderson, The Book of Barely Imagined Beings
  • Dava Sobel​, Longitude
  • Braden R. Allenby and Daniel R. Sarewitz, The Techno-Human Condition
  • John L. Heilborn​, Galileo​
  • Charles Perrow​, Normal Accidents​

2015 Book Selections

  • Joseph Needham, Science & Civilization, Volume 6, Biology and Biological Technology
  • R. Buckminster Fuller, Critical Path
  • Jo Marchant, Decoding the Heavens: A 2,000-Year-Old Computer and the Century-Long Search to Discover its Secrets
  • Walter Isaacson, The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
  • Nicholas Carr, The Glass Cage: Automation and Us
  • Marcus du Sautoy, The Music of the Primes: Searching to Solve the Greatest

2014 Book Selections

  • Margalit Fox, The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code
  • Noson S. Yanofsky, The Outer Limits of Reason: What Science, Mathematics, and Logic Cannot Tell Us
  • Jim al-Khalili, The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge
  • Lawrence M. Principe, The Secrets of Alchemy
  • Philip Ball, Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything
  • Sam Kean, The Disappearing Spoon and other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements
  • Henry Petroski, To Forgive Design: Understanding Failure
  • Michael Blastland and David Spiegelhalter, The Norm Chronicles: Stories and Numbers About Danger
  • Richard P. Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out:  The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman
  • Amir Alexander, Infinitesimal: How a Dangerous Mathematical Theory Shaped the Modern World; optional reading G.H. Hardy, Orders of Infinity: The `Infinitärcalcül’ of Paul Du Bois-Reymond

2013 Book Selections

  • Owen Gingerich, The Book Nobody Read: Chasing the Revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicus.
  • Mario Livio, Brilliant Blunders
  • Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar, Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts