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Evolution:

Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body by Neil Shubin

Shubin explains the connections among species on Earth as he writes that over billions of years, “stuff that has been recycled, recombined, repurposed, or otherwise modified for new uses. This is the story of every part of us, from our sense organs to our heads, indeed our entire body plan.”

Before the Dawn: Recovering the Lost History of Our Ancestors by Nicholas Wade

Wade, a writer for the science column of The New York Times, urges readers to consider several interesting questions such as, what were the first human languages like? He raises controversy in his field as he argues that despite misconception, humans have continued to evolve in the past few thousand years. (See below for other opinions…)

The 10,000 Year Explosion:  How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution by Gregory Cochran

Gregory Cochran revolutionizes the idea that “the great leap forward,” in human evolution, which has been long thought to have occurred between 40,000 and 50,000 years ago; and, resulted in adaptations such as resistance to disease and lactose tolerance, developed along with human civilization.


The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins

Dawkins supplies an explanation for the ways in which genes are circulated between and among populations; and, in this way, become embedded in societal gene pools.


The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge by Jeremy Narby

This text links the fields of biology, pharmacology, and anthropology to explore the possibilities of combining the practices of Shaman and modern medicine to discover connections between the two and  implications for use in the future.


Woman:  An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier

Angier’s Pulitzer Prize Finalist text, dissects the female anatomy to show ways biology influences behavior (evolutionary psychology).  This approach challenges Darwin’s ideas about the formulation of gender and develops alternate thought processes about the female mind and body.

What Makes Us Human:


The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

In this New York Times best-selling text , Dawkins makes arguments against the validity of religious beliefs based upon the philosophical and scientific investigations and observations of some of the world’s greatest minds including Charles Darwin and Galileo Galilei.


Math and the Mona Lisa the Art and Science of Leonardo da Vinci by Bulent Atalay

In this combination of art history and mathematical analysis, Atalay uses the artistic and scientific genius of da Vinci to assess components of the Mona Lisa by interweaving mathematical concepts such as the Fibonacci sequence with approaches to art criticism.


Survival of the Beautiful:  Art, Science and Evolution by David Rothenberg

This text introduces the topic of beauty in nature by pointing out that Darwin was challenged by the question of how beauty fit into his theory of natural selection. Rothenberg’s conclusion about how the two can work together is a scientific explanation involving examples of the ways that beauty and art assist the survival of species.

Physics:


The Elegant Universe:  Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate
Theory by Brian Greene

The text explains current empirical evidence that supports string theory, which introduces the reader to the concept of the fabric of the universe consisting in eleven dimensions.  Greene provides scientific  information about modern physics to help the average person better conceptualize how the universe operates.


A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking

Hawking’s journey through space time is a landmark of scientific writing.  In this book, he covers issues of relativity theory and cosmology, exploring the concept of entropy, in which the universe moves from highly order states to less ordered states, in a manner that makes the subject matter comprehensible for most interested individuals.

Language:


The Language Instinct: How the Mind Creates Language
by Steven Pinker

Cognitive Scientist, delves into the topic of human language from a scientific perspective, providing evidence that language is not acquired, but instinctual. He discusses how the brain processes it, how children learn, the fact that all cultures have similarly advanced language skills, and how it evolved.



Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain by Maryanne Wolf

Neuroscientist, Wolf, poses the argument that the human brain was not originally equipped for reading from an evolutionary standpoint.  She traces the development of the brain back 5,000 years to the time when humans began writing and analyzes difficulties and exceptionalities among human readers that explain her theory.


Seeing Voices: A Journey into the World of the Deaf by Oliver Sacks

Seeing Voices begins with a history of the battle for acceptance among the deaf community.  The text goes on to illuminate hearing readers about the social and moral implications of living life as a deaf individual, and seeing, visualizing, experiencing from alternate perspectives.

Animals:

Zoobiquity: What Animals Can Teach Us about Health and the Science of Healing by Barbara Natterson-Horowitz

Barbara Natterson-Horowitz writes about her career working with and treating animals in captivity.  She has learned the intricacies of the mind and body experiences of animals, and she asserts that her patients are not very different from humans.  In fact, humans have much to learn about their relatives in the animal kingdom.

Culture


Cleopatra: A Life
by Stacy Schiff

Pulitzer Prize winning author Schiff, composes a methodically researched biographical account of the life, times, politics, and relationships of Cleopatra.  In a non- fiction work that flows like prose,  Schiff proposes that a woman as well-educated, intelligent and influential as Cleopatra may have been recorded by the males writing history at the time as a mere seductress due to her gender.