Science-y Books for Non-Science-y People

Science-y Books for Non-Science-y People

In which I admit that although I own two copies of Cosmos, I haven’t read either, but have read other Carl Sagan books that I don’t own.

And I talk about other science-y books that are a good fit for my fairly un-science-y brain, and get a little over-excited by the fact that the universe is just generally pretty amazing.



Do you read science books (-y or otherwise)? Have you read any of these? Let me know your thoughts and recommendations in the comments!


12 Replies to “Science-y Books for Non-Science-y People”

  1. My BFF, who actually is a scientist, sneered horribly at A Short History of Everything … I rather liked it, but admittedly I have no idea of what he might have got wrong. I am very ignorant about science, and have no maths ability whatever; I am trying to rectify my ignorance about science, with limited success. (Maths is a lost cause … I got as far as take-aways and after that it made no sense to me at all). Have you read The Science of Discworld books? The first two or three are very informative and entertaining, although after that they are mainly just Ian and Jack mounting their high hobby horses. I also enjoyed The Ancestor’s Tale, in which Richard Dawkins sticks to evolutionary biology, which he is very good at, and not bashing religion which (and I say this as an atheist) he sucks at.

    1. Oh dear – no wonder I found A Short History of Everything easy to understand, then. It wasn’t science at all. Sigh… I’m in the middle of reading The Canon: The Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier at the moment, which I was hoping would be a good base to start building from. It’s very wordy, though.

      I think even just having an appreciation of science helps – the fact of seeing its value means you can see its application to life and the world, even if you don’t understand it. I’m pretty sure I’ll never get my head around it, but it’s still fun 🙂

      Thanks for the recommendation on the Dawkins book – I have been a bit hesitant to pick him up because of the religion bashing. I’m an atheist too, but I don’t see any need to go around beating people over the head with it, or telling them they’re wrong if they don’t agree with me. I’ll give that one a go!

  2. I heartily recommend Jerl Walker’s book, _The Flying Circus of Physics_ for approachable science in chunks small enough to enjoy (rather than be intimidated.) I particularly like (a) that the examples are mainly things one can see or repeat without lab equipment and
    (b) that there are *answers* (in all but the very first edition.)

    One of my favorites is a demonstration of non-Newtonian fluid behavior, done in the kitchen with tomato soup — approachable, fun and nourishing!


    1. Aw, that looks fun! I’ll definitely have to check that out. And anything that combines eating with learning about science seems like a fantastic idea to me.

      Thanks for the recommendation!

        1. That Space Child book looks AMAZING! I’m definitely a fan of whimsy with my science – anything that means it might stick in my head a little longer. I’m putting these on my wishlist!

  3. I love science-y books, but they don’t love me as much as they should. I should clarify that I love the ones I understand. I’m no moron, but there are certain things I have trouble wrapping my head around. I comfort myself by knowing I’m better at other things, haha.

    1. I’m just the same! I’ve accepted that some things just don’t seem to go into my head that well. I do love it when I find a science-y book that I can understand AND enjoy, though – I just wish I could make the facts stick a bit longer…!

  4. I recommend you to watch one chapter of the TV series here, Carl Sagan Cosmos HD (1980,1080p,5.1,Esp Lat AC3,Eng TrueHD,Multisubs spa,eng,fre,por,ger,ita,jap,chi) and then read the same chapter in the book. That´s because they compliment each other.

  5. _The Dot and the Line_ by Norton Juster is more math, geometry and visual puns, but I think it’s a kindred spirit (at least) of the books you seek.

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