History of Science Reading Group

Upcoming Books

December - ANNOTATED DOUBLE HELIX by James Watson

January - LATITUDE & THE MAGNETIC EARTH, THE TRUE STORY OF QUEEN ELIZABETH'S MOST DISTINGUISHED MAN OF SCIENCE (William Gilbert) by Stephen Pumfrey

February - INCOMPLETENESS : THE PROOF AND PARADOX OF KURT GÖDEL by Rebecca Goldstein

March - THE KNIFE MAN : BLOOD, BODY SNATCHING, AND THE BIRTH OF MODERN SURGERY by Wendy Moore

April - BEFORE GALILEO : THE BORTH OF MIDERN SCIENCE IN MEDIEVAL EUROPE by John Feely
Books We Have Read

THE SPECKLED MONSTER: A HISTORICAL TALE OF BATTLING SMALLPOX by Jennifer Lee Carrell

TYCHO & KEPLER : THE UNLIKELY PARTNERSHIP THAT FOREVER CHANGED OUR UNDERSTANDING OF THE HEAVENS by Kitty Ferguson

A RUM AFFAIR: A TRUE STORY OF BOTANICAL FRAUD by Karl Sabbagh

DRY STOREROOM NO. 1: THE SECRET LIFE OF THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM by Richard Fortey

SERVANTS OF NATURE : A HISTORY OF SCIENTIFIC INSTITUTIONS, ENTERPRISES AND SENSIBILITIES by Lewis Pyenson

THE EMPEROR OF NATURE: CHARLES-LUCIEN BONAPARTE AND HIS WORLD by Patricia Tyson Stroud

ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE: A LIFE by Peter Raby

ECOLOGICAL IMPERIALISM: THE BIOLOGICAL EXPANSION OF EUROPE, 900-1900 by Alfred W. Crosby

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN'S SCIENCE by I. Bernard Cohen

MICROCOSM:  E COLI AND THE NEW SCIENCE OF LIFE by Carl Zimmer

EDMOND HALLEY: CHARTING THE HEAVENS AND THE SEAS by Alan H. Cook.

THE MAP THAT CHANGED THE WORLD by Simon Winchester.ECOLOGICAL IMPERIALISM. THE BIOLOGICAL EXPANSION OF EUROPE, 900-1900 by AW Crosby

THE JEWEL HOUSE: ELIZABETHAN LONDON AND THE SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION
by Debroah Harkness

THE MEASURE OF ALL THINGS: THE SEVEN-YEAR ODYSSEY AND HIDDEN ERROR THAT TRANSFORMED THE WORLD by Ken Alder

MONTURIOL'S DREAM by Matthew Stewart

THE DEVIL'S DOCTOR : PARACELSUS AND THE WORLD OF RENAISSANCE MAGIC AND SCIENCE
by Philip Ball

THE FORGOTTEN GENIUS: BIOGRAPHY OF ROBERT HOOKE 1635-1703 by Stephen Inwood

SPACE AND THE AMERICAN IMAGINATION by Howard E. McCurdy

WONDERS AND THE ORDER OF NATURE 1150-1750 by Lorraine Daston

FERMATS ENIGMA : THE EPIC QUEST TO SOLVE THE WORLDS GREATEST MATHEMATICAL PROBLEM by Simon Singh

THE SOUL MADE FLESH, THE DISCOVERY OF THE BRAIN--AND HOW IT CHANGED THE WORLD by Carl Zimmer

THE ELECTRIC LIFE OF MICHAEL FARADAY by Alan W. Hirshfeld

THE SILENT LANDSCAPE: THE SCIENTIFIC VOYAGE OF HMS CHALLENGER by R. M. Corfield

EARTH: AN INTIMATE HISTORY by Richard Fortey

THE LUNAR MEN : FIVE FRIENDS WHOSE CURIOSITY CHANGED THE WORLD by Jenny Uglow

ASA GRAY: AMERICAN BOTANIST, FRIEND OF DARWIN by AH Dupree

THE PLANT HUNTERS: BEING A HISTORY OF THE HORTICULTURAL PIONEERS, THEIR QUESTS AND THEIR DISCOVERIES FROM THE RENAISSANCE TO THE TWENTIETH CENTURY by AM Coats

DEGREES KELVIN (about William Thomson, Lord Kelvin) by David Lindley

BOYLE: BETWEEN GOD AND SCIENCE by Michael Cyril and William Hunter

A WORLD ON FIRE: A HERETIC, AN ARISTOCRAT, AND THE RACE TO DISCOVER OXYGEN by Joe Jackson

THE GOLDEN RATIO : THE STORY OF PHI, THE WORLD'S MOST ASTONISHING NUMBER by Mario Livio

BONE WARS: THE EXCAVATION OF ANDREW CARNEGIE'S DINOSAUR by Tom Rea

VENUS IN TRANSIT by Eli Maor

THE GERMAN GENIUS: EUROPE'S THIRD RENAISSANCE, THE SECOND SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION, AND THE TWENTIETH CENTURY by Erich Fromm and Peter Watson (chapters on Science)

THE WHALE: IN SEARCH OF THE GIANTS OF THE SEA by Philip Hoare

FAUST IN COPENHAGEN: A STRUGGLE FOR THE SOUL OF PHYSICS by Gino Segrč

RAIL, STEAM, AND SPEED: THE "ROCKET" AND THE BIRTH OF STEAM LOCOMOTION by Chris McGowan

THE DAWN OF ZOOLOGY by Willy Ley

AN ACRE OF GLASS: A HISTORY AND FORECAST OF THE TELESCOPE by Jack B. Zirker

TIME, LOVE, MEMORY: A GREAT BIOLOGIST AND HIS QUEST FOR THE ORIGINS OF BEHAVIOR by Jonathan Weiner

DARWIN'S ORIGIN OF SPECIES: BOOKS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD by Janet Browne

THE NAMING OF NAMES: THE SEARCH FOR ORDER IN THE WORLD OF PLANTS by Anna Pavord
The History of Science Reading group began in March 2010. The focus is to read history of science works that are informative, well-written, and neither too basic nor overly scholarly. We welcome suggestions, and those can be emailed to Motte & Bailey at motte [at] mottebooks [dot] com
Books We Are Considering

THE FIRE OF HIS GENIUS : ROBERT FULTON AND THE AMERICAN DREAM
by Kirkpatrick Sale

THE POISONER'S HANDBOOK: MURDER AND THE BIRTH OF FORENSIC MEDICINE IN JAZZ AGE NEW YORK by Deborah Blum

INGENIOUS PURSUITS : BUILDING THE SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION
by Lisa Jardine

DISTILLING KNOWLEDGE; ALCHEMY, CHEMISTRY AND THE SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION by Bruce Moran

TERRORS OF THE TABLE: THE CURIOUS HISTORY OF NUTRITION by W. B. Gratzer

THE MAKING OF MR. GRAY'S ANATOMY by Ruth Richardson

EMPIRE OF THE STARS: OBSESSION, FRIENDSHIP, AND BETRAYAL IN THE QUEST FOR BLACK HOLES by Arthur I. Miller 

SEEING AND BELIEVING: HOW THE TELESCOPE OPENED OUR EYES AND MINDS TO THE HEAVENS by Richard Panek

The POINCARE CONJECTURE : IN SEARCH OF THE SHAPE OF THE UNIVERSE by Donal O'Shea

EULER'S GEM : THE POLYHEDRON FORMULA AND THE BIRTH OF TOPOLOGY by David S. Ricahrdson

e : THE STORY OF A NUMBER by Eli Moor

THE HISTORY OF %u220F (PI) by Peter Beckmann

WHAT MAD PURSUIT: A PERSONAL VIEW OF SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY by Francis Crick

THE CODE BOOK  by Simon Singh

FLU : THE STORY OF THE GREAT INFLUENZA PANDEMIC OF 1918 AND THE SEARCH FOR THE VIRUS THAT CAUSED IT by Gina Kolata

SEEING FURTHER: THE STORY OF SCIENCE, DISCOVERY, AND THE GENIUS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY by Bill Bryson

DARWIN'S ARMADA: FOUR VOYAGES AND THE BATTLE FOR THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION by Iain McCalman

THE TRAGIC SENSE OF LIFE: ERNST HAECKEL AND THE STRUGGLE OVER EVOLUTIONARY THOUGHT by RJ Richards

UNDER A WILD SKY. JOHN JAMES AUDUBON AND THE MAKING OF THE BIRDS OF AMERICA by W. Souder

AGE OF WONDER by Richard Holmes

HYDROGEN, THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENT by John S. Rigden

ZERO by Charles Seife

STRANGEST MAN, THE HIDDEN LIFE OF PAUL DIRAC, MYSTIC OF THE ATOM by Fraham Formelo

NAPOLEON'S BUTTONS by Le Couteur

JOHN DEE by William Sherman

SCIENCE AND COLONIAL EXPANSION: THE ROLE OF THE BRITISH ROYAL BOTANIC GARDENS by LH Brockway

INTO THE JUNGLE: GREAT ADVENTURES IN SEARCH FOR EVOLUTION by SB Carroll et. al.

LEONHARD RAUWOLF: SIXTEENTH-CENTURY PHYSICIAN, BOTANIST, AND TRAVELER by Dannenfeldt

MR. JEFFERSON AND THE GIANT MOOSE: NATURAL HISTORY IN EARLY AMERICA by LA Dugatkin

WONDERFUL LIFE: THE BURGESS SHALE AND THE NATURE OF HISTORY by Sj Gould

A SPECIES OF ETERNITY: THE WILDERNESS ADVENTURES AND DISCOVERIES OF AMERICA'S EARLY NATURALISTS by Kastner

JOSEPH BANKS: A LIFE by P. O'Brian

RETURN OF THE CRAZY BIRD: THE SAD, STRANGE TALE OF THE DODO by C. Pinto-Correa

LOST WORLD OF JAMES SMITHSON by Heather Ewing

CORAL by Steve Jones

IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORM: FINDING THE SECRETS OF LIFE IN A TINY HERMAPHRODITE by Andrew Brown

CHASING THE MOLECULE by Jim Buckingham

COUNT RUMFORD by G. I. Brown

IMPERIAL NATURE by Jim Endersby

THE TELESCOPE. A SHORT HISTORY by Richard Dunn

MATHEMATICS IN ANCIENT IRAQ: A SOCIAL HISTORY by Eleanor Robson

SEX, BOTANY, AND EMPIRE: THE STORY OF CARL LINNAEUS AND JOSEPH BANKS by Patricia Fara

LINNAEUS: THE COMPLEAT NATURALIST by Wilfrid Blunt

THE PHILOSOPHICAL BREAKFAST CLUB: FOUR REMARKABLE FRIENDS WHO TRANSFORMED SCIENCE AND CHANGED THE WORLD by Laura J. Snyder

THE VICTORIAN INTERNET: THE REMARKABLE STORY OF THE TELEGRAPH AND THE NINETEENTH CENTURY'S ON-LINE PIONEERS by Tom Standage

EINSTEIN: HIS LIFE AND UNIVERSE by Walter Isaacson

EMPIRES OF LIGHT: EDISON, TESLA, WESTINGHOUSE, AND THE RACE TO ELECTRIFY THE WORLD by Jill Jonnes

TRILOBITE by Richard Fortey

THOMAS BROWNE AND THE WRITING OF EARLY MODERN SCIENCE by Claire Preston

HEAL THYSELF : NICHOLAS CULPEPER AND THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY STRUGGLE TO BRING MEDICINE TO THE PEOPLE by Benjamin Woolley

UNCERTAINTY : EINSTEIN, HEISENBERG, BOHR, AND THE STRUGGLE FOR THE SOUL OF SCIENCE by David Lindley


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The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones. -- Joseph Joubert
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