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BEAK OF THE FINCH

BEAK OF THE FINCH

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The Beak of the Finch tells the story of two Princeton University scientists - evolutionary biologists - engaged in an extraordinary investigation. They are watching, and recording, evolution as it is occurring - now - among the very species of Galapagos finches that inspired Darwin's early musings on the origin of species. They are studying the evolutionary process not through the cryptic medium of fossils but in real time, in the wild, in the flesh. The finches that Darwin took from Galapagos at the time of his voyage on the Beagle led to his first veiled hints about his revolutionary theory. But Darwin himself never saw evolution as Peter and Rosemary Grant have been seeing it - in the act of happening. For more than twenty years they have been monitoring generation after generation of finches on the island of Daphne Major - measuring, weighing, observing, tracking, analyzing on computers their struggle for existence. We see the Grants at work on the island among the thousands of living, nesting, hatching, growing birds whose world and lives are the Grants' primary laboratory. We explore the special circumstances that make the Galapagos archipelago a paradise for evolutionary research: an isolated population of birds that cannot easily fly away and mate with other populations, islands that are the tips of young volcanoes and thus still rapidly evolving as does the life that they support, a food supply changing radically in response to radical variations of climate - so that in a brief span of time the Grants can see the beak of the finch adapt. And we watch the Grants' team observe evolution at a level that was totally inaccessible to Darwin: the molecular level, as the DNA in theblood samples taken from the birds reveals evolutionary change. Here, brilliantly and lucidly recounted - with important implications for our own day, when man's alterations of the environment are speeding the rate of evolutionary changes - is a scientific enterprise in the grand m
BEHAVE

BEHAVE

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The New York Times Bestseller

"It's no exaggeration to say that Behave is one of the best nonfiction books I've ever read." --David P. Barash, The Wall Street Journal

It has my vote for science book of the year." --Parul Sehgal, The New York Times

Hands-down one of the best books I've read in years. I loved it. --Dina Temple-Raston, The Washington Post

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal

From the celebrated neurobiologist and primatologist, a landmark, genre-defining examination of human behavior, both good and bad, and an answer to the question: Why do we do the things we do?

Sapolsky's storytelling concept is delightful but it also has a powerful intrinsic logic: he starts by looking at the factors that bear on a person's reaction in the precise moment a behavior occurs, and then hops back in time from there, in stages, ultimately ending up at the deep history of our species and its evolutionary legacy.

And so the first category of explanation is the neurobiological one. A behavior occurs--whether an example of humans at our best, worst, or somewhere in between. What went on in a person's brain a second before the behavior happened? Then Sapolsky pulls out to a slightly larger field of vision, a little earlier in time: What sight, sound, or smell caused the nervous system to produce that behavior? And then, what hormones acted hours to days earlier to change how responsive that individual is to the stimuli that triggered the nervous system? By now he has increased our field of vision so that we are thinking about neurobiology and the sensory world of our environment and endocrinology in trying to explain what happened.

Sapolsky keeps going: How was that behavior influenced by structural changes in the nervous system over the preceding months, by that person's adolescence, childhood, fetal life, and then back to his or her genetic makeup? Finally, he expands the view to encompass factors larger than one individual. How did culture shape that individual's group, what ecological factors millennia old formed that culture? And on and on, back to evolutionary factors millions of years old.

The result is one of the most dazzling tours d'horizon of the science of human behavior ever attempted, a majestic synthesis that harvests cutting-edge research across a range of disciplines to provide a subtle and nuanced perspective on why we ultimately do the things we do...for good and for ill. Sapolsky builds on this understanding to wrestle with some of our deepest and thorniest questions relating to tribalism and xenophobia, hierarchy and competition, morality and free will, and war and peace. Wise, humane, often very funny, Behave is a towering achievement, powerfully humanizing, and downright heroic in its own right.

BLIND WATCHMAKER

BLIND WATCHMAKER

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The Blind Watchmaker is the seminal text for understanding evolution today. In the eighteenth century, theologian William Paley developed a famous metaphor for creationism: that of the skilled watchmaker. In The Blind Watchmaker, Richard Dawkins crafts an elegant riposte to show that the complex process of Darwinian natural selection is unconscious and automatic. If natural selection can be said to play the role of a watchmaker in nature, it is a blind one--working without foresight or purpose.

In an eloquent, uniquely persuasive account of the theory of natural selection, Dawkins illustrates how simple organisms slowly change over time to create a world of enormous complexity, diversity, and beauty.

BLUEPRINT

BLUEPRINT

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A top behavioral geneticist makes the case that DNA inherited from our parents at the moment of conception can predict our psychological strengths and weaknesses.

In Blueprint, behavioral geneticist Robert Plomin describes how the DNA revolution has made DNA personal by giving us the power to predict our psychological strengths and weaknesses from birth. A century of genetic research shows that DNA differences inherited from our parents are the consistent lifelong sources of our psychological individuality--the blueprint that makes us who we are. Plomin reports that genetics explains more about the psychological differences among people than all other factors combined. Nature, not nurture, is what makes us who we are. Plomin explores the implications of these findings, drawing some provocative conclusions--among them that parenting styles don't really affect children's outcomes once genetics is taken into effect. This book offers readers a unique insider's view of the exciting synergies that came from combining genetics and psychology. The paperback edition has a new afterword by the author.

BLUEPRINT: THE EVOLUTIONARY OR

BLUEPRINT: THE EVOLUTIONARY OR

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A dazzlingly erudite synthesis of history, philosophy, anthropology, genetics, sociology, economics, epidemiology, statistics, and more (Frank Bruni, The New York Times), Blueprint shows why evolution has placed us on a humane path -- and how we are united by our common humanity.
For too long, scientists have focused on the dark side of our biological heritage: our capacity for aggression, cruelty, prejudice, and self-interest. But natural selection has given us a suite of beneficial social features, including our capacity for love, friendship, cooperation, and learning. Beneath all of our inventions -- our tools, farms, machines, cities, nations -- we carry with us innate proclivities to make a good society.
In Blueprint, Nicholas A. Christakis introduces the compelling idea that our genes affect not only our bodies and behaviors, but also the ways in which we make societies, ones that are surprisingly similar worldwide.
With many vivid examples -- including diverse historical and contemporary cultures, communities formed in the wake of shipwrecks, commune dwellers seeking utopia, online groups thrown together by design or involving artificially intelligent bots, and even the tender and complex social arrangements of elephants and dolphins that so resemble our own -- Christakis shows that, despite a human history replete with violence, we cannot escape our social blueprint for goodness.
In a world of increasing political and economic polarization, it's tempting to ignore the positive role of our evolutionary past. But by exploring the ancient roots of goodness in civilization, Blueprint shows that our genes have shaped societies for our welfare and that, in a feedback loop stretching back many thousands of years, societies are still shaping our genes today.
BRIEF HIST OF EVERYONE WHO EVE

BRIEF HISTORY OF EVERYONE WHO EVE

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National Book Critics Circle Award--2017 Nonfiction Finalist

"Nothing less than a tour de force--a heady amalgam of science, history, a little bit of anthropology and plenty of nuanced, captivating storytelling."--The New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice

A National Geographic Best Book of 2017

In our unique genomes, every one of us carries the story of our species--births, deaths, disease, war, famine, migration, and a lot of sex. But those stories have always been locked away--until now. Who are our ancestors? Where did they come from? Geneticists have suddenly become historians, and the hard evidence in our DNA has blown the lid off what we thought we knew. Acclaimed science writer Adam Rutherford explains exactly how genomics is completely rewriting the human story--from 100,000 years ago to the present.

CASE AGAINST REALITY

CASE AGAINST REALITY

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Challenging leading scientific theories that claim that our senses report back objective reality, cognitive scientist Donald Hoffman argues that while we should take our perceptions seriously, we should not take them literally. How can it be possible that the world we see is not objective reality? And how can our senses be useful if they are not communicating the truth? Hoffman grapples with these questions and more over the course of this eye-opening work.

Ever since Homo sapiens has walked the earth, natural selection has favored perception that hides the truth and guides us toward useful action, shaping our senses to keep us alive and reproducing. We observe a speeding car and do not walk in front of it; we see mold growing on bread and do not eat it. These impressions, though, are not objective reality. Just like a file icon on a desktop screen is a useful symbol rather than a genuine representation of what a computer file looks like, the objects we see every day are merely icons, allowing us to navigate the world safely and with ease.

The real-world implications for this discovery are huge. From examining why fashion designers create clothes that give the illusion of a more "attractive" body shape to studying how companies use color to elicit specific emotions in consumers, and even dismantling the very notion that spacetime is objective reality, The Case Against Reality dares us to question everything we thought we knew about the world we see.

Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race

Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race

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The bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns with a gripping account of how Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and have healthier babies.

When Jennifer Doudna was in sixth grade, she came home one day to find that her dad had left a paperback titled The Double Helix on her bed. She put it aside, thinking it was one of those detective tales she loved. When she read it on a rainy Saturday, she discovered she was right, in a way. As she sped through the pages, she became enthralled by the intense drama behind the competition to discover the code of life. Even though her high school counselor told her girls didn't become scientists, she decided she would.

Driven by a passion to understand how nature works and to turn discoveries into inventions, she would help to make what the book's author, James Watson, told her was the most important biological advance since his co-discovery of the structure of DNA. She and her collaborators turned a curiosity ​of nature into an invention that will transform the human race: an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA. Known as CRISPR, it opened a brave new world of medical miracles and moral questions.

The development of CRISPR and the race to create vaccines for coronavirus will hasten our transition to the next great innovation revolution. The past half-century has been a digital age, based on the microchip, computer, and internet. Now we are entering a life-science revolution. Children who study digital coding will be joined by those who study genetic code.

Should we use our new evolution-hacking powers to make us less susceptible to viruses? What a wonderful boon that would be! And what about preventing depression? Hmmm...Should we allow parents, if they can afford it, to enhance the height or muscles or IQ of their kids?

After helping to discover CRISPR, Doudna became a leader in wrestling with these moral issues and, with her collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier, won the Nobel Prize in 2020. Her story is a thrilling detective tale that involves the most profound wonders of nature, from the origins of life to the future of our species.

CRACK IN CREATION: GENE EDITIN

CRACK IN CREATION: GENE EDITIN

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BY THE WINNER OF THE 2020 NOBEL PRIZE IN CHEMISTRY Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize

"A powerful mix of science and ethics . . . This book is required reading for every concerned citizen--the material it covers should be discussed in schools, colleges, and universities throughout the country."-- New York Review of Books

Not since the atomic bomb has a technology so alarmed its inventors that they warned the world about its use. That is, until 2015, when biologist Jennifer Doudna called for a worldwide moratorium on the use of the gene-editing tool CRISPR--a revolutionary new technology that she helped create--to make heritable changes in human embryos. The cheapest, simplest, most effective way of manipulating DNA ever known, CRISPR may well give us the cure to HIV, genetic diseases, and some cancers. Yet even the tiniest changes to DNA could have myriad, unforeseeable consequences, to say nothing of the ethical and societal repercussions of intentionally mutating embryos to create "better" humans. Writing with fellow researcher Sam Sternberg, Doudna--who has since won the Nobel Prize for her CRISPR research--shares the thrilling story of her discovery and describes the enormous responsibility that comes with the power to rewrite the code of life.

"The future is in our hands as never before, and this book explains the stakes like no other." -- George Lucas

"An invaluable account . . . We owe Doudna several times over." -- Guardian

DARWINS DANGEROUS IDEA

DARWINS DANGEROUS IDEA

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In this groundbreaking and very accessible book, Daniel C. Dennett, the acclaimed author of Consciousness Explained, demonstrates the power of the theory of natural selection and shows how Darwin's great idea transforms and illuminates our traditional view of our place in the universe. Following Darwinian thinking to its logical conclusions is a risky business, with pitfalls for everybody. Creationists and others who reject evolution are not the only ones to fall into the traps. Many who accept the validity of Darwin's conclusions hesitate before their implications and distort his theory, fearful that it is politically incorrect or antireligious, or that it robs life of all spirituality. Dennett explains the scientific theory of natural selection in vivid terms, and shows how it extends far beyond biology.
DOUBLE HELIX

DOUBLE HELIX

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The classic personal account of Watson and Crick's groundbreaking discovery of the structure of DNA, now with an introduction by Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind.

By identifying the structure of DNA, the molecule of life, Francis Crick and James Watson revolutionized biochemistry and won themselves a Nobel Prize. At the time, Watson was only twenty-four, a young scientist hungry to make his mark. His uncompromisingly honest account of the heady days of their thrilling sprint against other world-class researchers to solve one of science's greatest mysteries gives a dazzlingly clear picture of a world of brilliant scientists with great gifts, very human ambitions, and bitter rivalries.

With humility unspoiled by false modesty, Watson relates his and Crick's desperate efforts to beat Linus Pauling to the Holy Grail of life sciences, the identification of the basic building block of life. Never has a scientist been so truthful in capturing in words the flavor of his work.

Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding

Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do Is Healthy and Rewarding

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If exercise is healthy (so good for you!), why do many people dislike or avoid it? These engaging stories and explanations will revolutionize the way you think about exercising--not to mention sitting, sleeping, sprinting, weight lifting, playing, fighting, walking, jogging, and even dancing.

"Strikes a perfect balance of scholarship, wit, and enthusiasm." --Bill Bryson, New York Times best-selling author of The Body

*If we are born to walk and run, why do most of us take it easy whenever possible?
*Does running ruin your knees?
*Should we do weights, cardio, or high-intensity training?
*Is sitting really the new smoking?
*Can you lose weight by walking?
*And how do we make sense of the conflicting, anxiety-inducing information about rest, physical activity, and exercise with which we are bombarded?

In this myth-busting book, Daniel Lieberman, professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and a pioneering researcher on the evolution of human physical activity, tells the story of how we never evolved to exercise--to do voluntary physical activity for the sake of health. Using his own research and experiences throughout the world, Lieberman recounts without jargon how and why humans evolved to walk, run, dig, and do other necessary and rewarding physical activities while avoiding needless exertion.

Exercised is entertaining and enlightening but also constructive. As our increasingly sedentary lifestyles have contributed to skyrocketing rates of obesity and diseases such as diabetes, Lieberman audaciously argues that to become more active we need to do more than medicalize and commodify exercise.

Drawing on insights from evolutionary biology and anthropology, Lieberman suggests how we can make exercise more enjoyable, rather than shaming and blaming people for avoiding it. He also tackles the question of whether you can exercise too much, even as he explains why exercise can reduce our vulnerability to the diseases mostly likely to make us sick and kill us.

Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond

Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond

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In this revelatory investigation, science journalist Lydia Denworth takes us in search of friendship's biological, psychological, and evolutionary foundations. An "expert guide" (Kathryn Bowers, New York Times Book Review), Denworth weaves past and present, field biology and neuroscience, to show how our bodies and minds are designed for friendship across life stages, the processes by which healthy social bonds are developed and maintained, and how friendship is changing in the age of social media. Now including a Q&A between the author and her close friend to guide reflection and conversation, Friendship is a clarion call for putting positive relationships at the center of our lives.

GENE: AN INTIMATE HISTORY

GENE: AN INTIMATE HISTORY

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The #1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller
The basis for the PBS Ken Burns Documentary The Gene: An Intimate History

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies--a fascinating history of the gene and "a magisterial account of how human minds have laboriously, ingeniously picked apart what makes us tick" (Elle).

Sid Mukherjee has the uncanny ability to bring together science, history, and the future in a way that is understandable and riveting, guiding us through both time and the mystery of life itself. -Ken Burns

"Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee dazzled readers with his Pulitzer Prize-winning The Emperor of All Maladies in 2010. That achievement was evidently just a warm-up for his virtuoso performance in The Gene: An Intimate History, in which he braids science, history, and memoir into an epic with all the range and biblical thunder of Paradise Lost" (The New York Times). In this biography Mukherjee brings to life the quest to understand human heredity and its surprising influence on our lives, personalities, identities, fates, and choices.

"Mukherjee expresses abstract intellectual ideas through emotional stories...[and] swaddles his medical rigor with rhapsodic tenderness, surprising vulnerability, and occasional flashes of pure poetry" (The Washington Post). Throughout, the story of Mukherjee's own family--with its tragic and bewildering history of mental illness--reminds us of the questions that hang over our ability to translate the science of genetics from the laboratory to the real world. In riveting and dramatic prose, he describes the centuries of research and experimentation--from Aristotle and Pythagoras to Mendel and Darwin, from Boveri and Morgan to Crick, Watson and Franklin, all the way through the revolutionary twenty-first century innovators who mapped the human genome.

"A fascinating and often sobering history of how humans came to understand the roles of genes in making us who we are--and what our manipulation of those genes might mean for our future" (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel), The Gene is the revelatory and magisterial history of a scientific idea coming to life, the most crucial science of our time, intimately explained by a master. "The Gene is a book we all should read" (USA TODAY).

HACKING DARWIN: GENETIC ENGINE

HACKING DARWIN: GENETIC ENGINE

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"A gifted and thoughtful writer, Metzl brings us to the frontiers of biology and technology, and reveals a world full of promise and peril." --Siddhartha Mukherjee MD, New York Times bestselling author of The Emperor of All Maladies and The Gene

Passionate, provocative, and highly illuminating, Hacking Darwin is the must read book about the future of our species for fans of Homo Deus and The Gene.

After 3.8 billion years humankind is about to start evolving by new rules...

From leading geopolitical expert and technology futurist Jamie Metzl comes a groundbreaking exploration of the many ways genetic-engineering is shaking the core foundations of our lives--sex, war, love, and death.

At the dawn of the genetics revolution, our DNA is becoming as readable, writable, and hackable as our information technology. But as humanity starts retooling our own genetic code, the choices we make today will be the difference between realizing breathtaking advances in human well-being and descending into a dangerous and potentially deadly genetic arms race.

Enter the laboratories where scientists are turning science fiction into reality. Look towards a future where our deepest beliefs, morals, religions, and politics are challenged like never before and the very essence of what it means to be human is at play. When we can engineer our future children, massively extend our lifespans, build life from scratch, and recreate the plant and animal world, should we?

I CONTAIN MULTITUDES

I CONTAIN MULTITUDES

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Joining the ranks of popular science classics like The Botany of Desire and The Selfish Gene, a groundbreaking, wondrously informative, and vastly entertaining examination of the most significant revolution in biology since Darwin--a "microbe's-eye view" of the world that reveals a marvelous, radically reconceived picture of life on earth.

Every animal, whether human, squid, or wasp, is home to millions of bacteria and other microbes. Ed Yong, whose humor is as evident as his erudition, prompts us to look at ourselves and our animal companions in a new light--less as individuals and more as the interconnected, interdependent multitudes we assuredly are.

The microbes in our bodies are part of our immune systems and protect us from disease. In the deep oceans, mysterious creatures without mouths or guts depend on microbes for all their energy. Bacteria provide squid with invisibility cloaks, help beetles to bring down forests, and allow worms to cause diseases that afflict millions of people.

Many people think of microbes as germs to be eradicated, but those that live with us--the microbiome--build our bodies, protect our health, shape our identities, and grant us incredible abilities. In this astonishing book, Ed Yong takes us on a grand tour through our microbial partners, and introduces us to the scientists on the front lines of discovery. It will change both our view of nature and our sense of where we belong in it.

INVISIBLE HIST OF THE HUMAN RA

INVISIBLE HISTORY OF THE HUMAN RA

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- A New York Times Notable Book -

"The richest, freshest, most fun book on genetics in some time." --The New York Times Book Review

We are doomed to repeat history if we fail to learn from it, but how are we affected by the forces that are invisible to us? In The Invisible History of the Human Race Christine Kenneally draws on cutting-edge research to reveal how both historical artifacts and DNA tell us where we come from and where we may be going. While some books explore our genetic inheritance and popular television shows celebrate ancestry, this is the first book to explore how everything from DNA to emotions to names and the stories that form our lives are all part of our human legacy. Kenneally shows how trust is inherited in Africa, silence is passed down in Tasmania, and how the history of nations is written in our DNA. From fateful, ancient encounters to modern mass migrations and medical diagnoses, Kenneally explains how the forces that shaped the history of the world ultimately shape each human who inhabits it.

The Invisible History of the Human Race is a deeply researched, carefully crafted and provocative perspective on how our stories, psychology, and genetics affect our
past and our future.

LIFE

LIFE

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A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice

"Extraordinary. . . . Anyone with the slightest interest in biology should read this book."--The New York Times Book Review

"A marvelous museum of the past four billion years on earth--capacious, jammed with treasures, full of learning and wide-eyed wonder."--The Boston Globe

From its origins on the still-forming planet to the recent emergence of Homo sapiens--one of the world's leading paleontologists offers an absorbing account of how and why life on earth developed as it did. Interlacing the tale of his own adventures in the field with vivid descriptions of creatures who emerged and disappeared in the long march of geologic time, Richard Fortey sheds light upon a fascinating array of evolutionary wonders, mysteries, and debates. Brimming with wit, literary style, and the joy of discovery, this is an indispensable book that will delight the general reader and the scientist alike.

"A drama bolder and more sweeping than Gone with the Wind . . . a pleasure to read."--Science

"A beautifully written and structured work . . . packed with lucid expositions of science."--Natural History

Life's Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive

Life's Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive

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"Carl Zimmer is one of the best science writers we have today."
--Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

We all assume we know what life is, but the more scientists learn about the living world--from protocells to brains, from zygotes to pandemic viruses--the harder they find it is to locate life's edge.

Carl Zimmer investigates one of the biggest questions of all: What is life? The answer seems obvious until you try to seriously answer it. Is the apple sitting on your kitchen counter alive, or is only the apple tree it came from deserving of the word? If we can't answer that question here on earth, how will we know when and if we discover alien life on other worlds? The question hangs over some of society's most charged conflicts--whether a fertilized egg is a living person, for example, and when we ought to declare a person legally dead.

Life's Edge is an utterly fascinating investigation that no one but one of the most celebrated science writers of our generation could craft. Zimmer journeys through the strange experiments that have attempted to re-create life. Literally hundreds of definitions of what that should look like now exist, but none has yet emerged as an obvious winner. Lists of what living things have in common do not add up to a theory of life. It's never clear why some items on the list are essential and others not. Coronaviruses have altered the course of history, and yet many scientists maintain they are not alive. Chemists are creating droplets that can swarm, sense their environment, and multiply. Have they made life in the lab?

Whether he is handling pythons in Alabama or searching for hibernating bats in the Adirondacks, Zimmer revels in astounding examples of life at its most bizarre. He tries his own hand at evolving life in a test tube with unnerving results. Charting the obsession with Dr. Frankenstein's monster and how Coleridge came to believe the whole universe was alive, Zimmer leads us all the way into the labs and minds of researchers working on engineering life from the ground up.

Mom Genes: Inside the New Science of Our Ancient Maternal Instinct

Mom Genes: Inside the New Science of Our Ancient Maternal Instinct

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"For anyone who is a mother, or who has a mother, [Mom Genes] is an eye-opening tour through the biology and psychology of a role that is at once utterly ordinary and wondrously strange." --Annie Murphy Paul, author of Origins

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Lion in the Living Room comes a fascinating and provocative exploration of the biology of motherhood.

Everyone knows how babies are made, but scientists are only just beginning to understand the making of a mother. Mom Genes reveals the hard science behind our tenderest maternal impulses, tackling questions such as whether a new mom's brain ever really bounces back, why mothers are destined to mimic their own moms (or not), and how maternal aggression makes females the world's most formidable creatures.

Part scientific odyssey, part memoir, Mom Genes weaves the latest research with Abigail Tucker's personal experiences to create a delightful, surprising, and poignant portrait of motherhood. It's vital reading for anyone who has ever wondered what rocks the hand that rocks the cradle.

NEUROPLASTICITY

NEUROPLASTICITY

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The real story of how our brains and nervous systems change throughout our lifetimes--with or without "brain training."

Fifty years ago, neuroscientists thought that a mature brain was fixed like a fly in amber, unable to change. Today, we know that our brains and nervous systems change throughout our lifetimes. This concept of neuroplasticity has captured the imagination of a public eager for self-improvement--and has inspired countless Internet entrepreneurs who peddle dubious "brain training" games and apps. In this book, Moheb Costandi offers a concise and engaging overview of neuroplasticity for the general reader, describing how our brains change continuously in response to our actions and experiences.

Costandi discusses key experimental findings, and describes how our thinking about the brain has evolved over time. He explains how the brain changes during development, and the "synaptic pruning" that takes place before brain maturity. He shows that adult brains can grow new cells (citing, among many other studies, research showing that sexually mature male canaries learn a new song every year). He describes the kind of brain training that can bring about improvement in brain function. It's not gadgets and games that promise to "rewire your brain" but such sustained cognitive tasks as learning a musical instrument or a new language. (Costandi also notes that London cabbies increase their gray matter after rigorous training in their city's complicated streets.) He tells how brains compensate after stroke or injury; describes addiction and pain as maladaptive forms of neuroplasticity; and considers brain changes that accompany childhood, adolescence, parenthood, and aging. Each of our brains is custom-built. Neuroplasticity is at the heart of what makes us human.

ORIGIN OF SPECIES: 150TH ANNIV

ORIGIN OF SPECIES: 150TH ANNIV

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Charles Darwin's classic that exploded into public controversy, revolutionized the course of science, and continues to transform our views of the world.

Few other books have created such a lasting storm of controversy as The Origin of Species. Darwin's theory that species derive from other species by a gradual evolutionary process and that the average level of each species is heightened by the "survival of the fittest" stirred up popular debate to fever pitch. Its acceptance revolutionized the course of science.

As Sir Julian Huxley, the noted biologist, points out in his illuminating introduction, the importance of Darwin's contribution to modern scientific knowledge is almost impossible to evaluate: "a truly great book, one which can still be read with profit by professional biologist."

Includes an Introduction by Sir Julian Huxley

ORIGINS OF VIRTUE

ORIGINS OF VIRTUE

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If evolution by natural selection relentlessly favors self-interest, why do human beings live in complex societies and show so much cooperative spirit? In The Origins of Virtue, Matt Ridley, a zoologist and former American editor of the Economist, shows that recent research in a number of fields has suggested a resolution of the apparent contradiction between self-interest and mutual aid. Brilliantly orchestrating the new findings of geneticists, psychologists, and anthropologists, The Origins of Virtue re-examines the everyday assumptions upon which we base our actions towards others, whether we are nurturing parents, siblings, or trade partners. The Origins of Virtue searches for the roots of that capacity for trust, contrasts it with the social instincts of ants, baboons, and naked mole rats, and draws provocative conclusions for our understanding of politics. Ridley not only traces the evolution of society but shows us how breakthroughs in computer programming, microbiology, and economics have all played their role in providing us with a unique perspective on how and why we relate to each other.
PLEASED TO MEET ME

PLEASED TO MEET ME

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Why are you attracted to a certain "type?" Why are you a morning person? Why do you vote the way you do? From a witty new voice in popular science comes a clever, life-changing look at what makes you you.

"I can't believe I just said that." "What possessed me to do that?" "What's wrong with me?" We're constantly seeking answers to these fundamental human questions, and now, science has the answers. The foods we enjoy, the people we love, the emotions we feel, and the beliefs we hold can all be traced back to our DNA, germs, and environment. This witty, colloquial book is popular science at its best, describing in everyday language how genetics, epigenetics, microbiology, and psychology work together to influence our personality and actions. Mixing cutting-edge research and relatable humor, Pleased to Meet Me is filled with fascinating insights that shine a light on who we really are--and how we might become our best selves.

POCKET HISTORY OF HUMAN EVOLUT

POCKET HISTORY OF HUMAN EVOLUT

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Why aren't we more like other apes? How did we win the evolutionary race? Find out how "wise" Homo sapiens really are.

Prehistory has never been more exciting: New discoveries are overturning long-held theories left and right. Stone tools in Australia date back 65,000 years--a time when, we once thought, the first Sapiens had barely left Africa. DNA sequencing has unearthed a new hominid group--the Denisovans--and confirmed that crossbreeding with them (and Neanderthals) made Homo sapiens who we are today.

A Pocket History of Human Evolution brings us up-to-date on the exploits of all our ancient relatives. Paleoanthropologist Silvana Condemi and science journalist François Savatier consider what accelerated our evolution: Was it tools, our "large" brains, language, empathy, or something else entirely? And why are we the sole survivors among many early bipedal humans? Their conclusions reveal the various ways ancient humans live on today--from gossip as modern "grooming" to our gendered division of labor--and what the future might hold for our strange and unique species.

RED QUEEN 2/E

RED QUEEN 2/E

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Referring to Lewis Carroll's Red Queen from Through the Looking-Glass, a character who has to keep running to stay in the same place, Matt Ridley demonstrates why sex is humanity's best strategy for outwitting its constantly mutating internal predators. The Red Queen answers dozens of other riddles of human nature and culture -- including why men propose marriage, the method behind our maddening notions of beauty, and the disquieting fact that a woman is more likely to conceive a child by an adulterous lover than by her husband. Brilliantly written, The Red Queen offers an extraordinary new way of interpreting the human condition and how it has evolved.

SELFISH GENE 4/E

SELFISH GENE 4/E

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The million copy international bestseller, critically acclaimed and translated into over 25 languages.

As influential today as when it was first published, The Selfish Gene has become a classic exposition of evolutionary thought. Professor Dawkins articulates a gene's eye view of evolution - a view giving centre stage to these persistent units of information, and in which organisms can be seen as vehicles for their replication. This imaginative, powerful, and stylistically brilliant work not only brought the insights of Neo-Darwinism to a wide audience, but galvanized the biology community, generating much debate and stimulating whole new areas of research. Forty years later, its insights remain as relevant today as on the day it was published.

This 40th anniversary edition includes a new epilogue from the author discussing the continuing relevance of these ideas in evolutionary biology today, as well as the original prefaces and foreword, and extracts from early reviews.

Oxford Landmark Science books are 'must-read' classics of modern science writing which have crystallized big ideas, and shaped the way we think.

SERENGETI RULES REV/E

SERENGETI RULES REV/E

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Now the subject of an Emmy Award-winning film the New York Times calls spellbinding

How does life work? How does nature produce the right numbers of zebras and lions on the African savanna, or fish in the ocean? How do our bodies produce the right numbers of cells in our organs and bloodstream? In The Serengeti Rules, award-winning biologist and author Sean Carroll tells the stories of the pioneering scientists who sought the answers to such simple yet profoundly important questions, and shows how their discoveries matter for our health and the health of the planet we depend upon.

One of the most important revelations about the natural world is that everything is regulated--there are rules that regulate the amount of every molecule in our bodies and rules that govern the numbers of every animal and plant in the wild. And the most surprising revelation about the rules that regulate life at such different scales is that they are remarkably similar--there is a common underlying logic of life. Carroll recounts how our deep knowledge of the rules and logic of the human body has spurred the advent of revolutionary life-saving medicines, and makes the compelling case that it is now time to use the Serengeti Rules to heal our ailing planet.

A bold and inspiring synthesis by one of our most accomplished biologists and gifted storytellers, The Serengeti Rules is the first book to illuminate how life works at vastly different scales. Read it and you will never look at the world the same way again.

TANGLED TREE

TANGLED TREE

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In this New York Times bestseller and longlist nominee for the National Book Award, "our greatest living chronicler of the natural world" (The New York Times), David Quammen explains how recent discoveries in molecular biology affect our understanding of evolution and life's history.

In the mid-1970s, scientists began using DNA sequences to reexamine the history of all life. Perhaps the most startling discovery to come out of this new field--the study of life's diversity and relatedness at the molecular level--is horizontal gene transfer (HGT), or the movement of genes across species lines. It turns out that HGT has been widespread and important; we now know that roughly eight percent of the human genome arrived sideways by viral infection--a type of HGT.

In The Tangled Tree, "the grandest tale in biology....David Quammen presents the science--and the scientists involved--with patience, candor, and flair" (Nature). We learn about the major players, such as Carl Woese, the most important little-known biologist of the twentieth century; Lynn Margulis, the notorious maverick whose wild ideas about "mosaic" creatures proved to be true; and Tsutomu Wantanabe, who discovered that the scourge of antibiotic-resistant bacteria is a direct result of horizontal gene transfer, bringing the deep study of genome histories to bear on a global crisis in public health.

"David Quammen proves to be an immensely well-informed guide to a complex story" (The Wall Street Journal). In The Tangled Tree, he explains how molecular studies of evolution have brought startling recognitions about the tangled tree of life--including where we humans fit upon it. Thanks to new technologies, we now have the ability to alter even our genetic composition--through sideways insertions, as nature has long been doing. "The Tangled Tree is a source of wonder....Quammen has written a deep and daring intellectual adventure" (The Boston Globe).

UNIQUE: THE NEW SCIENCE OF HUM

UNIQUE: THE NEW SCIENCE OF HUM

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Inspired by the abundance of unique personalities available on dating websites, a renowned neuroscientist examines the science of what makes you, you.
David J. Linden has devoted his career to understanding the biology common to all humans. But a few years ago he found himself on OkCupid. Looking through that vast catalog of human diversity, he got to wondering: What makes us all so different? Unique is the riveting answer. Exploring everything from the roots of sexuality, gender, and intelligence to whether we like bitter beer, Linden shows how our individuality results not from a competition of nature versus nurture, but rather from a mélange of genes continually responding to our experiences in the world, beginning in the womb. And he shows why individuality matters, as it is our differences that enable us to live together in groups.
Told with Linden's unusual combination of authority and openness, seriousness of purpose and wit, Unique is the story of how the factors that make us all human can change and interact to make each of us a singular person.
Voyage of the Beagle: Journal of Researches Into the Natural History and Geology of the Countriesvisited During the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle

Voyage of the Beagle: Journal of Researches Into the Natural History and Geology of the Countriesvisited During the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle

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In 1831, Charles Darwin embarked on an expedition that, in his own words, determined my whole career. The Voyage of the Beagle chronicles his five-year journey around the world and especially the coastal waters of South America as a naturalist on the H.M.S. Beagle. While traveling through these unexplored countries collecting specimens, Darwin began to formulate the theories of evolution and natural selection realized in his master work, The Origin of Species. Travel memoir and scientific primer alike, The Voyage of the Beagle is a lively and accessible introduction to the mind of one of history's most influential thinkers.
What Is Life?: Five Great Ideas in Biology

What Is Life?: Five Great Ideas in Biology

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The renowned biologist Paul Nurse has spent his career revealing how living cells work. In What Is Life?, he takes up the challenge of describing what it means to be alive in a way that every reader can understand.

It is a shared journey of discovery; step-by-step Nurse illuminates five great ideas that underpin biology--the Cell, the Gene, Evolution by Natural Selection, Life as Chemistry, and Life as Information. He introduces the scientists who made the most important advances, and, using his personal experiences in and out of the lab, he shares with us the challenges, the lucky breaks, and the thrilling eureka moments of discovery.

Nurse writes with delight at life's richness and with a sense of the urgent role of biology in our time. To survive the challenges that face us all today--climate change, pandemic, loss of biodiversity and food security--it is vital that we all understand what life is.