Science is one of the topics that is ever evolving and infinitely interesting. It also can be a bit intimidating at times. So, what do you do if you want to learn more about science but don’t want to spend your time reading through a 700-page treatise on different moss? (I really do like moss; I just don’t know what a treatise is.) Try some of these more accessible science books. They are written in easily understandable terms while remaining extremely fascinating.
“The Chemistry Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained” walks through the history of chemistry and how we find ourselves in the scientific world we inhabit today. Interestingly, the book is organized not by subject but by time, starting off around 7,000 BCE and the brewing of fermented beverages. By organizing the book by time, the author is able to show how each new discovery is built off of what came before and adds insights into how those discoveries came to be. Walking through the discoveries of soap making, the nuclear age, and all the way until the vaccine for COVID-19, “The Chemistry Book” shows some of the missteps and some of the triumphs of chemistry.
Another book that uses a timeline with great success is “Weather: An Illustrated History” by Andrew Revkin with Lisa Mechaley. Beginning with the creation of the earth and the development of the atmosphere, Revkin and Mechaley show how our world’s weather came in to being and how our own development evolved with it. It, unfortunately, also shows how we have come to influence it. How a snowstorm helped to convince New York City leaders to build the subway system and just how far back scientists knew that the burning of coal changed the climate (they, at first, thought it was a benefit). “Weather” is an intelligent look at how much as a species weather has defined our world and how we as a species have defined the weather.
If ‘identifying’ is something that has piqued your interest, there are two new DK Smithsonian books. “Gemstones” by Cally Hall is an identification book that covers precious metals, gems, and different cut and uncut stones. Hall walks their reader through the different physical properties of stones as well as defining optical properties and facets. They even show where stones are found geographically. If you find fossils interesting, then check out “Fossils” by David J Ward. Cataloging over 500 different fossils, Ward’s book adds annotations such as epoch, region, and likelihood of each fossil. Both books are filled with highly detailed photos to aid in your exploration of the natural world.
Happy Sciencing! (Seriously, what is a treatise?)