What’s a book that changed how you view the natural world?
I got a call from a sentient typewriter named Ishmael and we issued a challenge to all the book-lovers out there.
I’ve mentioned lots of awesome science books in episodes of my YouTube show (and several of them have inspired whole episodes). Now I’ve finally collected all those books in one place!
Click here for the list of books I’ve featured or mentioned, plus links to buy them or find them in your local library. You can even see which videos they were featured in, just in case you’ve got some catching up to do :)
I’ll be updating this list as new books are mentioned in future videos!
Science fans and book lovers! I’ve got a special challenge for you…
I’m teaming up with the amazing book project Call me Ishmael for the first of what we’re calling an “All Call Challenge"…
What does that mean? We want YOU to tell a story of a book that changed the way you look at the natural world. You can hear the full details on the challenge, plus hear a book-themed interview with me by clicking here, or by checking out the video below:
I’m betting you smart people are full of amazing stories about amazing stories. Remember, if you do submit your story to Call Me ishmael, make sure to say that you’re answering the It’s Okay To Be Smart “All Call” challenge! I predict a few more of your favorite YouTubers will be issuing “All Calls” in the near future, too.
A few of you figured it out already, but I answered my own challenge yesterday, in this “anonymous” Call Me Ishmael submission:
Help us spread the word, stay curious, and keep on reading!
"We need to protest against forgetting…"
Have you heard of Call Me Ishmael? And I’m not talking about the opening line to Moby Dick…
Call Me Ishmael is a new digital project that celebrates books and how they impact our lives. People are invited to call in and leave a message for Ishmael telling a story of a book they loved and a story they lived around it. Here’s what those voicemails become.
Why am I telling you about this? Well, I think you’re gonna like today’s Call Me Ishmael release. Anyway, I hope you do.
Stay curious. And keep reading.
Today, a look at the contributing compounds to ‘old book smell’, and the origins of the less well researched ‘new book smell’: http://wp.me/p4aPLT-hV
Books don’t get old. They get better.
Once upon a slide…the first microbiology book for 5 year olds!
At last! No more bed time fairy tales about damsels in distress, princesses in pink and knights in white shining armor.
Move over Disney. This is a world we should be opening our kids up to. Steeped in reality. A world 1000x more exciting than those lands too far far far away, and it is all playing out under our very noses, inside our refrigerators, outside our back doors and throughout our own bodies.
Thank you to Nicola Davies (author) and Emily Sutton (illustrator) for this beautiful non-fiction children’s book that introduces young readers to microscopy.
I can’t wait to buy this for my nieces.
Let me know if you need help with the histological sequel ;)
View more of Emily’s beautiful artwork at her website
Find out more about award winning author Nicola at her blog/website
We are SO down with this.
Where was this book when I was a kid?
(via Laughing Squid and the rest of the internet)
The universe at your fingertip!!
Visionary vintage children’s book celebrates gender equality, ethnic diversity, and space exploration with a black female astronaut two decades before that became a reality
Oh wow. This book, Blast Off, is just wonderful. The art is flawless and the message is timeless and powerful. Head on over to Brain Pickings to check out more about this inspiring read.
Despite the fact that Blast Off was written in 1973, its message is just as rare and necessary today. We need more of this.
Through the Looking Glass, Into the Brain
Book review! I just read Neurocomic (Amazon), a new graphic novel by Drs. Hana Ros & Matteo Farinella (who is on Tumblr). While not perfect, it presents the history and science of brain research in a way I’ve never before seen. I wish there was more of this art/science crossover in science books, don’t you?
Neurocomic is one man’s Lewis Carroll-esque journey through the human brain (his own?), where, after becoming trapped in a daydream, he encounters micro-avatars of the very neuroscientists who first unlocked the secrets of neuroscience. He also gets some rather psychedelic biology lessons along the way, falling through axons, parachuting out of synaptic vesicles, fighting the Kraken (who I assume has come for revenge on all that giant squid axon research that scientists have done over the years), discovering the power of hallucinogens (the hard way… no, make that the FUN way), and even breaking up some fisticuffs between Messrs. Golgi and Ramon y Cajal.
But like any book that attempts to hit every highlight of neuroscience, as well as the people who have studied it, in less than 150 pages, it was often superficial, and I was left wanting in parts. This book’s a bit like the cerebral cortex in that way: Interesting and full of action, but ultimately concealing a lot of cool stuff going on underneath. While the text was a bit academic in parts, the illustrations are superb, both fantastic and fantastical. I half expected the Cheshire Cat to pop up (instead I got a talking version of Pavlov’s dog).
Neurocomic won’t leave you ready to enter a neuroscience PhD program, but it does present some amazing science in a genre-busting, outlandish, imaginative way. All in all, journey through the looking glass into an imaginary world inside our own minds. And isn’t that what reading a story is all about?
Alice in Quantumland – an imaginative allegory of quantum physics, written and illustrated (!) by a CERN physicist, doubly brilliant for flying in the face of gender stereotypes with a female protagonist who makes sense of some of the most intense science of all time.
Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things about quantum mechanics before breakfast.
I'm Joe Hanson, a Ph.D. biologist and science writer based in Austin, TX. I'm the creator/host/writer of PBS Digital Studios' It's Okay To Be Smart. Subscribe on YouTube by clicking below:
"Everyone's favorite Feynman of the Tumblr era" - Maria Popova
Joe's science book recommendations, from brains to biology to space to art to physics.
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