One of Bookpage's Most Anticipated Nonfiction Books of 2021

Join "America’s funniest science writer" (Peter Carlson, Washington Post), Mary Roach, on an irresistible investigation into the unpredictable world where wildlife and humans meet.

What’s to be done about a jaywalking moose? A bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? Three hundred years ago, animals that broke the law would be assigned legal representation and put on trial. These days, as New York Times best-selling author Mary Roach discovers, the answers are best found not in jurisprudence but in science: the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology.

Roach tags along with animal-attack forensics investigators, human-elephant conflict specialists, bear managers, and "danger tree" faller blasters. Intrepid as ever, she travels from leopard-terrorized hamlets in the Indian Himalaya to St. Peter’s Square in the early hours before the pope arrives for Easter Mass, when vandal gulls swoop in to destroy the elaborate floral display. She taste-tests rat bait, learns how to install a vulture effigy, and gets mugged by a macaque.

Combining little-known forensic science and conservation genetics with a motley cast of laser scarecrows, langur impersonators, and trespassing squirrels, Roach reveals as much about humanity as about nature’s lawbreakers. When it comes to "problem" wildlife, she finds, humans are more often the problem—and the solution. Fascinating, witty, and humane, Fuzz offers hope for compassionate coexistence in our ever-expanding human habitat.

A "entertaining and enlightening" deep dive into the alcohol-soaked origins of civilization—and the evolutionary roots of humanity’s appetite for intoxication. (Daniel E. Lieberman, author of Exercised

While plenty of entertaining books have been written about the history of alcohol and other intoxicants, none have offered a comprehensive, convincing answer to the basic question of why humans want to get high in the first place. 

Drunk elegantly cuts through the tangle of urban legends and anecdotal impressions that surround our notions of intoxication to provide the first rigorous, scientifically-grounded explanation for our love of alcohol. Drawing on evidence from archaeology, history, cognitive neuroscience, psychopharmacology, social psychology, literature, and genetics, Slingerland shows that our taste for chemical intoxicants is not an evolutionary mistake, as we are so often told. In fact, intoxication helps solve a number of distinctively human challenges: enhancing creativity, alleviating stress, building trust, and pulling off the miracle of getting fiercely tribal primates to cooperate with strangers. Our desire to get drunk, along with the individual and social benefits provided by drunkenness, played a crucial role in sparking the rise of the first large-scale societies. We would not have civilization without intoxication. 

From marauding Vikings and bacchanalian orgies to sex-starved fruit flies, blind cave fish, and problem-solving crows, Drunk is packed with fascinating case studies and engaging science, as well as practical takeaways for individuals and communities. The result is a captivating and long overdue investigation into humanity's oldest indulgence—one that explains not only why we want to get drunk, but also how it might actually be good for us to tie one on now and then. 
AN INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
“How To will make you laugh as you learn…With How To, you can't help but appreciate the glorious complexity of our universe and the amazing breadth of humanity's effort to comprehend it. If you want some lightweight edification, you won't go wrong with How To.”CNET
 
“[How To] has science and jokes in it, so 10/10 can recommend.” —Simone Giertz

The world's most entertaining and useless self-help guide from the brilliant mind behind the wildly popular webcomic xkcd and the bestsellers What If? and Thing Explainer


For any task you might want to do, there's a right way, a wrong way, and a way so monumentally complex, excessive, and inadvisable that no one would ever try it. How To is a guide to the third kind of approach. It's full of highly impractical advice for everything from landing a plane to digging a hole.

Bestselling author and cartoonist Randall Munroe explains how to predict the weather by analyzing the pixels of your Facebook photos. He teaches you how to tell if you're a baby boomer or a 90's kid by measuring the radioactivity of your teeth. He offers tips for taking a selfie with a telescope, crossing a river by boiling it, and powering your house by destroying the fabric of space-time. And if you want to get rid of the book once you're done with it, he walks you through your options for proper disposal, including dissolving it in the ocean, converting it to a vapor, using tectonic plates to subduct it into the Earth's mantle, or launching it into the Sun.

By exploring the most complicated ways to do simple tasks, Munroe doesn't just make things difficult for himself and his readers. As he did so brilliantly in What If?, Munroe invites us to explore the most absurd reaches of the possible. Full of clever infographics and fun illustrations, How To is a delightfully mind-bending way to better understand the science and technology underlying the things we do every day.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The story of modern medicine and bioethics—and, indeed, race relations—is refracted beautifully, and movingly.”—Entertainment Weekly

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE FROM HBO® STARRING OPRAH WINFREY AND ROSE BYRNE • ONE OF THE “MOST INFLUENTIAL” (CNN), “DEFINING” (LITHUB), AND “BEST” (THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER) BOOKS OF THE DECADE • ONE OF ESSENCE’S 50 MOST IMPACTFUL BLACK BOOKS OF THE PAST 50 YEARS • WINNER OF THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE HEARTLAND PRIZE FOR NONFICTION

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • Entertainment Weekly • O: The Oprah Magazine • NPR • Financial Times • New York • Independent (U.K.) • Times (U.K.) • Publishers Weekly • Library Journal • Kirkus Reviews • Booklist • Globe and Mail

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine: The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, which are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. 

Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.

Henrietta’s family did not learn of her “immortality” until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family—past and present—is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of. 

Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family—especially Henrietta’s daughter Deborah. Deborah was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Had they killed her to harvest her cells? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn’t her children afford health insurance? 

Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.
"Eagleman renders the secrets of the brain’s adaptability into a truly compelling page-turner.” Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner

Livewired reads wonderfully like what a book would be if it were written by Oliver Sacks and William Gibson, sitting on Carl Sagan’s front lawn.” The Wall Street Journal

What does drug withdrawal have in common with a broken heart? Why is the enemy of memory not time but other memories? How can a blind person learn to see with her tongue, or a deaf person learn to hear with his skin? Why did many people in the 1980s mistakenly perceive book pages to be slightly red in color? Why is the world’s best archer armless? Might we someday control a robot with our thoughts, just as we do our fingers and toes? Why do we dream at night, and what does that have to do with the rotation of the Earth?
 
The answers to these questions are right behind our eyes. The greatest technology we have ever discovered on our planet is the three-pound organ carried in the vault of the skull. This book is not simply about what the brain is; it is about what it does. The magic of the brain is not found in the parts it’s made of but in the way those parts unceasingly reweave themselves in an electric, living fabric.

In Livewired, you will surf the leading edge of neuroscience atop the anecdotes and metaphors that have made David Eagleman one of the best scientific translators of our generation. Covering decades of research to the present day, Livewired also presents new discoveries from Eagleman’s own laboratory, from synesthesia to dreaming to wearable neurotech devices that revolutionize how we think about the senses.
This document consists of six chapters from the eBook Understanding Physical Geography: Chapter 5: Atmospheric Structure and Radiation Transfer; Chapter 6: Energy, Temperature and Heat; Chapter 7: Atmospheric Pressure and Wind; Chapter 8: Thunderstorms, Mid-Latitude Cyclones and Hurricanes; Chapter 9: Climatic Regions and Climate Change; and Chapter 10: Human Alteration of the Atmosphere. This eBook was written for students taking introductory Physical Geography taught at a college or university.


For the chapters currently available on Google Play presentation slides (Powerpoint and Keynote format) and multiple choice test banks are available for Professors using my eBook in the classroom. Please contact me via email at Michael.Pidwirny@ubc.ca if you would like to have access to these resources.


The various chapters of the Google Play version of Understanding Physical Geography are FREE for individual use in a non-classroom environment. This has been done to support life long learning. However, the content of Understanding Physical Geography is NOT FREE for use in college and university courses in countries that have a per capita GDP over $25,000 (US dollars) per year where more than three chapters are being used in the teaching of a course. More specifically, for university and college instructors using this work in such wealthier countries, in a credit-based course where a tuition fee is accessed, students should be instructed to purchase the paid version of this content on Google Play which is organized as one of six Parts (organized chapters). One exception to this request is a situation where a student is experiencing financial hardship. In this case, the student should use the individual chapters which are available from Google Play for free. The cost of these Parts works out to only $0.99 per chapter in USA dollars, a very small fee for my work. When the entire textbook (30 chapters) is finished its cost will be only $29.70 in USA dollars. This is far less expensive than similar textbooks from major academic publishing companies whose eBook are around $50.00 to $90.00. Further, revenue generated from the sale of this academic textbook will provide “the carrot” to entice me to continue working hard creating new and updated content. Thanks in advance to instructors and students who abide by these conditions.


IMPORTANT - This Google Play version is best viewed with a computer using Google Chrome, Firefox or Apple Safari browsers.

This document consists of five chapters from the eBook Understanding Physical Geography: Chapter 26: Introduction to Life; Chapter 27: Spatial Distribution of Species and Ecosystems; Chapter 28: Biogeochemical Cycling and Ecosystem Productivity; Chapter 29: Soils and Soil Classification; and Chapter 30: Human Alteration of the Biosphere. This eBook was written for students taking introductory Physical Geography taught at a college or university.


For the chapters currently available on Google Play presentation slides (Powerpoint and Keynote format) and multiple choice test banks are available for Professors using my eBook in the classroom. Please contact me via email at Michael.Pidwirny@ubc.ca if you would like to have access to these resources.


The various chapters of the Google Play version of Understanding Physical Geography are FREE for individual use in a non-classroom environment. This has been done to support life long learning. However, the content of Understanding Physical Geography is NOT FREE for use in college and university courses in countries that have a per capita GDP over $25,000 (US dollars) per year where more than three chapters are being used in the teaching of a course. More specifically, for university and college instructors using this work in such wealthier countries, in a credit-based course where a tuition fee is accessed, students should be instructed to purchase the paid version of this content on Google Play which is organized as one of six Parts (organized chapters). One exception to this request is a situation where a student is experiencing financial hardship. In this case, the student should use the individual chapters which are available from Google Play for free. The cost of these Parts works out to only $0.99 per chapter in USA dollars, a very small fee for my work. When the entire textbook (30 chapters) is finished its cost will be only $29.70 in USA dollars. This is far less expensive than similar textbooks from major academic publishing companies whose eBook are around $50.00 to $90.00. Further, revenue generated from the sale of this academic textbook will provide “the carrot” to entice me to continue working hard creating new and updated content. Thanks in advance to instructors and students who abide by these conditions.


IMPORTANT - This Google Play version is best viewed with a computer using Google Chrome, Firefox or Apple Safari browsers.

One of Bookpage's Most Anticipated Nonfiction Books of 2021

Join "America’s funniest science writer" (Peter Carlson, Washington Post), Mary Roach, on an irresistible investigation into the unpredictable world where wildlife and humans meet.

What’s to be done about a jaywalking moose? A bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? Three hundred years ago, animals that broke the law would be assigned legal representation and put on trial. These days, as New York Times best-selling author Mary Roach discovers, the answers are best found not in jurisprudence but in science: the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology.

Roach tags along with animal-attack forensics investigators, human-elephant conflict specialists, bear managers, and "danger tree" faller blasters. Intrepid as ever, she travels from leopard-terrorized hamlets in the Indian Himalaya to St. Peter’s Square in the early hours before the pope arrives for Easter Mass, when vandal gulls swoop in to destroy the elaborate floral display. She taste-tests rat bait, learns how to install a vulture effigy, and gets mugged by a macaque.

Combining little-known forensic science and conservation genetics with a motley cast of laser scarecrows, langur impersonators, and trespassing squirrels, Roach reveals as much about humanity as about nature’s lawbreakers. When it comes to "problem" wildlife, she finds, humans are more often the problem—and the solution. Fascinating, witty, and humane, Fuzz offers hope for compassionate coexistence in our ever-expanding human habitat.

"An engrossing exposé of scientific practice in America.”
KIRKUS REVIEWS

From the authors of the New York Times bestselling Plague of Corruption comes the prescription on how to end the plague infecting our medical community.

Ending Plague
continues the New York Times bestselling team of Dr. Judy A. Mikovits and Kent Heckenlively with legendary scientist, Dr. Francis W. Ruscetti joining the conversation. Dr. Ruscetti is credited as one of the founding fathers of human retrovirology. In 1980, Dr. Ruscetti’s team isolated the first pathogenic human retrovirus, HTLV-1. Ruscetti would eventually go on to work for thirty-eight years at the National Cancer Institute.

Dr. Ruscetti was deeply involved in performing some of the most critical HIV-AIDS research in the 1980s, pioneered discoveries in understanding the workings of the human immune system in the 1990s, isolating a new family of mouse leukemia viruses linked to chronic diseases in 2009, and offers his insights into the recent COVID-19 pandemic. In 1991, Ruscetti received the Distinguished Service Award from the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Ruscetti offers a true insider’s portrait of nearly four decades at the center of public health. His insights into the successes and failures of government science will be eye-opening to the general public. You will read never-before-revealed information about the personalities and arguments which have been kept from view behind the iron curtain of public health. Can we say our scientists are protecting us, or is another agenda at work? For most of his decades at the National Cancer Institute, Dr. Ruscetti has been in almost daily contact with his long-time collaborator, Dr. Mikovits, and their rich intellectual discussions will greatly add to our national discussion. Science involves a rigorous search for truth, and you will come to understand how science scholars are relentless in their quest for answers.
In the tradition of Richard Dawkins's The Selfish Gene, Nichola Raihani's The Social Instinct is a profound and engaging look at the hidden relationships underpinning human evolution, and why cooperation is key to our future survival.

Cooperation is the means by which life arose in the first place. It’s how we progressed through scale and complexity, from free-floating strands of genetic material, to nation states. But given what we know about the mechanisms of evolution, cooperation is also something of a puzzle. How does cooperation begin, when on a Darwinian level, all that the genes in your body care about is being passed on to the next generation? Why do meerkat colonies care for one another’s children? Why do babbler birds in the Kalahari form colonies in which only a single pair breeds? And how come some coral wrasse fish actually punish each other for harming fish from another species?

A biologist by training, Raihani looks at where and how collaborative behavior emerges throughout the animal kingdom, and what problems it solves. She reveals that the species that exhibit cooperative behavior–teaching, helping, grooming, and self-sacrifice–most similar to our own tend not to be other apes; they are birds, insects, and fish, occupying far more distant branches of the evolutionary tree. By understanding the problems they face, and how they cooperate to solve them, we can glimpse how human cooperation first evolved. And we can also understand what it is about the way we cooperate that has made humans so distinctive–and so successful.
The authoritative story of the headline-making discovery of gravitational waves—by an eminent theoretical astrophysicist and award-winning writer.


From the author of How the Universe Got Its Spots and A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines, the epic story of the scientific campaign to record the soundtrack of our universe.
 
Black holes are dark. That is their essence. When black holes collide, they will do so unilluminated. Yet the black hole collision is an event more powerful than any since the origin of the universe. The profusion of energy will emanate as waves in the shape of spacetime: gravitational waves. No telescope will ever record the event; instead, the only evidence would be the sound of spacetime ringing. In 1916, Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves, his top priority after he proposed his theory of curved spacetime. One century later, we are recording the first sounds from space, the soundtrack to accompany astronomy’s silent movie.

In Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space, Janna Levin recounts the fascinating story of the obsessions, the aspirations, and the trials of the scientists who embarked on an arduous, fifty-year endeavor to capture these elusive waves. An experimental ambition that began as an amusing thought experiment, a mad idea, became the object of fixation for the original architects—Rai Weiss, Kip Thorne, and Ron Drever. Striving to make the ambition a reality, the original three gradually accumulated an international team of hundreds. As this book was written, two massive instruments of remarkably delicate sensitivity were brought to advanced capability. As the book draws to a close, five decades after the experimental ambition began, the team races to intercept a wisp of a sound with two colossal machines, hoping to succeed in time for the centenary of Einstein’s most radical idea. Janna Levin’s absorbing account of the surprises, disappointments, achievements, and risks in this unfolding story offers a portrait of modern science that is unlike anything we’ve seen before.
To see video demonstrations of key concepts from the book, please visit this website: http://www.press.uchicago.edu/sites/timewarp/

Sci-fi makes it look so easy. Receive a distress call from Alpha Centauri? No problem: punch the warp drive and you're there in minutes. Facing a catastrophe that can't be averted? Just pop back in the timestream and stop it before it starts. But for those of us not lucky enough to live in a science-fictional universe, are these ideas merely flights of fancy—or could it really be possible to travel through time or take shortcuts between stars?

Cutting-edge physics may not be able to answer those questions yet, but it does offer up some tantalizing possibilities. In Time Travel and Warp Drives, Allen Everett and Thomas A. Roman take readers on a clear, concise tour of our current understanding of the nature of time and space—and whether or not we might be able to bend them to our will. Using no math beyond high school algebra, the authors lay out an approachable explanation of Einstein's special relativity, then move through the fundamental differences between traveling forward and backward in time and the surprising theoretical connection between going back in time and traveling faster than the speed of light. They survey a variety of possible time machines and warp drives, including wormholes and warp bubbles, and, in a dizzyingly creative chapter, imagine the paradoxes that could plague a world where time travel was possible—killing your own grandfather is only one of them!

Written with a light touch and an irrepressible love of the fun of sci-fi scenarios—but firmly rooted in the most up-to-date science, Time Travel and Warp Drives will be a delightful discovery for any science buff or armchair chrononaut.
Are there other dimensions beyond our own? Is time travel possible? Can we change the past? Are there gateways to parallel universes? All of us have pondered such questions, but there was a time when scientists dismissed these notions as outlandish speculations. Not any more. Today, they are the focus of the most intense scientific activity in recent memory. In Hyperspace, Michio Kaku, author of the widely acclaimed Beyond Einstein and a leading theoretical physicist, offers the first book-length tour of the most exciting (and perhaps most bizarre) work in modern physics, work which includes research on the tenth dimension, time warps, black holes, and multiple universes. The theory of hyperspace (or higher dimensional space)--and its newest wrinkle, superstring theory--stand at the center of this revolution, with adherents in every major research laboratory in the world, including several Nobel laureates. Beginning where Hawking's Brief History of Time left off, Kaku paints a vivid portrayal of the breakthroughs now rocking the physics establishment. Why all the excitement? As the author points out, for over half a century, scientists have puzzled over why the basic forces of the cosmos--gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces--require markedly different mathematical descriptions. But if we see these forces as vibrations in a higher dimensional space, their field equations suddenly fit together like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle, perfectly snug, in an elegant, astonishingly simple form. This may thus be our leading candidate for the Theory of Everything. If so, it would be the crowning achievement of 2,000 years of scientific investigation into matter and its forces. Already, the theory has inspired several thousand research papers, and has been the focus of over 200 international conferences. Michio Kaku is one of the leading pioneers in superstring theory and has been at the forefront of this revolution in modern physics. With Hyperspace, he has produced a book for general readers which conveys the vitality of the field and the excitement as scientists grapple with the meaning of space and time. It is an exhilarating look at physics today and an eye-opening glimpse into the ultimate nature of the universe.
“Thoughtful, informative, and darkly entertaining. It’s the best treatment of this important (and scary) topic you can find.” —Elizabeth Kolbert

Right now, a group of scientists is working on ways to minimize the catastrophic impact of global warming. But they’re not designing hybrids or fuel cells or wind turbines. They’re trying to lower the temperature of the entire planet. And they’re doing it with huge contraptions that suck CO2 from the air, machines that brighten clouds and deflect sunlight away from the earth, even artificial volcanoes that spray heat-reflecting particles into the atmosphere.
 
This is the radical and controversial world of geoengineering, which only five years ago was considered to be “fringe.” But as Jeff Goodell points out, the economic crisis, combined with global political realities, is making these ideas look sane, even inspired.
 
Goodell himself started out as a skeptic, concerned about tinkering with the planet’s thermostat. We can’t even predict next week’s weather, so how are we going to change the temperature of whole regions? What if a wealthy entrepreneur shoots particles into the stratosphere on his own? Who gets blamed if something goes terribly wrong? And perhaps most disturbing, what about wars waged with climate control as the primary weapon? There are certainly risks, but Goodell believes the alternatives could be worse. In the end, he persuades us that geoengineering may just be our last best hope—a Plan B for the environment. His compelling tale of scientific hubris and technical daring is sure to jump-start the next big debate about the future of life on earth.

“Goodell explores with infectious curiosity and thoughtful narration this strange, promising, and untested suite of climate fixes.” —BusinessWeek
 
“A quick, enjoyable read through a complex, timely topic. And after you read it, you’ll never look at the sky or the ocean—or Earth, really—in quite the same way again.” —The Christian Science Monitor
The “charming and terrifying” story of IBM’s breakthrough in artificial intelligence, from the Business Week technology writer and author of The Numerati (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
 
For centuries, people have dreamed of creating a machine that thinks like a human. Scientists have made progress: computers can now beat chess grandmasters and help prevent terrorist attacks. Yet we still await a machine that exhibits the rich complexity of human thought—one that doesn’t just crunch numbers, or take us to a relevant web page, but understands and communicates with us. With the creation of Watson, IBM’s Jeopardy!-playing computer, we are one step closer to that goal.
 
In Final Jeopardy, Stephen Baker traces the arc of Watson’s “life,” from its birth in the IBM labs to its big night on the podium. We meet Hollywood moguls and Jeopardy! masters, genius computer programmers and ambitious scientists, including Watson’s eccentric creator, David Ferrucci. We see how Watson’s breakthroughs and the future of artificial intelligence could transform medicine, law, marketing, and even science itself, as machines process huge amounts of data at lightning speed, answer our questions, and possibly come up with new hypotheses. As fast and fun as the game itself, Final Jeopardy shows how smart machines will fit into our world—and how they’ll disrupt it.
 
“The place to go if you’re really interested in this version of the quest for creating Artificial Intelligence.” —The Seattle Times
 
“Like Tracy Kidder’s Soul of a New Machine, Baker’s book finds us at the dawn of a singularity. It’s an excellent case study, and does good double duty as a Philip K. Dick scenario, too.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
“Like a cross between Born Yesterday and 2001: A Space Odyssey, Baker’s narrative is both . . . an entertaining romp through the field of artificial intelligence—and a sobering glimpse of things to come.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
A Discover Best Science Book of the Year: “A fascinating, accurate and accessible account of some of [the] contemporary efforts to combat aging” (The New York Times).
 
Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist
 
Named a Best Book of the Year by the New York Times, San Jose Mercury News, and Library Journal
 
An award-winning writer explores science’s boldest frontier—extension of the human life span—interviewing dozens of people involved in the quest to allow us to live longer, better lives.
 
Delving into topics from cancer to stem cells to cloning, Merchants of Immortality looks at humankind’s quest for longevity and tackles profound questions about our hopes for defeating health problems like heart attacks, Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes. The story follows a close-knit but fractious band of scientists as well as entrepreneurs who work in the shadowy area between profit and the public good. The author tracks the science of aging back to the iconoclastic Leonard Hayflick—who was the first to show that cells age, and whose epic legal battles with the federal government cleared the path for today’s biotech visionaries.
 
Among those is the charismatic Michael West, a former creationist who founded the first biotech company devoted to aging research. West has won both ardent admirers and committed foes in his relentless quest to promote stem cells, therapeutic cloning, and other technologies of “practical immortality.” Merchants of Immortality breathes scintillating life into the most momentous science of our day, assesses the political and bioethical controversies it has spawned, and explores its potentially dramatic effect on the length and quality of our lives.
 
“Timely and engrossing . . . This is top-drawer journalism.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
 
“A carefully documented examination of how society deals with life-and-death matters.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
 
“An important survey of the entire landscape of the science aimed at extending human life.” —Newsday
 
“[This] highly readable and important book . . . provide[s] new insights into the intersection of science and politics.” —The Washington Post
A thoughtful look at our history of innovation, the problems with the patent system, and the prospects for America’s future.
 
America loves innovation and the can-do spirit that made this country what it is—a world leader in self-government, industry and technology, and pop culture. Everything about America has at one point or another been an experiment and a leap of faith. And one such experiment—upon which all others depend for success—is the US Patent System.
 
Why Has America Stopped Inventing? takes a close look at why this experiment appears to be failing, and why America has all but stopped inventing. Our belief that we are the most innovative people on earth is mistaken. Statistics show that today we invent less than half of what our counterparts did a hundred and fifty years ago.
 
Where are the groundbreaking inventions comparable to those from the Industrial Revolution? Why have we been using the same mode of transportation for over a century? Why are we giving trillions to hostile foreign nations for imported oil when we have the talent to solve the nation’s energy crisis? We don’t have these desperately needed technologies because regular Americans have given up on inventing.
 
This book explains why, comparing the experiences of America’s most successful nineteenth-century inventors with those of today and sharing fascinating historical anecdotes: Jefferson refusing to waste any more weekends examining patent applications; Whitney being robbed of his fortune while the South’s wealth exploded; the patent models that kept British soldiers from burning Washington’s last-standing federal building; the formation of Lincoln’s cabinet; and Selden crippling the entire US auto industry. It also tells the story of the Wright brothers’ airplane monopoly, the Colt revolver’s role in the Mexican American War, the Sewing Machine wars, the last six months of Daniel Webster’s life, and the fraudulently created Bell Empire.
One of Bookpage's Most Anticipated Nonfiction Books of 2021

Join "America’s funniest science writer" (Peter Carlson, Washington Post), Mary Roach, on an irresistible investigation into the unpredictable world where wildlife and humans meet.

What’s to be done about a jaywalking moose? A bear caught breaking and entering? A murderous tree? Three hundred years ago, animals that broke the law would be assigned legal representation and put on trial. These days, as New York Times best-selling author Mary Roach discovers, the answers are best found not in jurisprudence but in science: the curious science of human-wildlife conflict, a discipline at the crossroads of human behavior and wildlife biology.

Roach tags along with animal-attack forensics investigators, human-elephant conflict specialists, bear managers, and "danger tree" faller blasters. Intrepid as ever, she travels from leopard-terrorized hamlets in the Indian Himalaya to St. Peter’s Square in the early hours before the pope arrives for Easter Mass, when vandal gulls swoop in to destroy the elaborate floral display. She taste-tests rat bait, learns how to install a vulture effigy, and gets mugged by a macaque.

Combining little-known forensic science and conservation genetics with a motley cast of laser scarecrows, langur impersonators, and trespassing squirrels, Roach reveals as much about humanity as about nature’s lawbreakers. When it comes to "problem" wildlife, she finds, humans are more often the problem—and the solution. Fascinating, witty, and humane, Fuzz offers hope for compassionate coexistence in our ever-expanding human habitat.

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The story of modern medicine and bioethics—and, indeed, race relations—is refracted beautifully, and movingly.”—Entertainment Weekly

NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE FROM HBO® STARRING OPRAH WINFREY AND ROSE BYRNE • ONE OF THE “MOST INFLUENTIAL” (CNN), “DEFINING” (LITHUB), AND “BEST” (THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER) BOOKS OF THE DECADE • ONE OF ESSENCE’S 50 MOST IMPACTFUL BLACK BOOKS OF THE PAST 50 YEARS • WINNER OF THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE HEARTLAND PRIZE FOR NONFICTION

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review • Entertainment Weekly • O: The Oprah Magazine • NPR • Financial Times • New York • Independent (U.K.) • Times (U.K.) • Publishers Weekly • Library Journal • Kirkus Reviews • Booklist • Globe and Mail

Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine: The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, which are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. 

Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave.

Henrietta’s family did not learn of her “immortality” until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists investigating HeLa began using her husband and children in research without informed consent. And though the cells had launched a multimillion-dollar industry that sells human biological materials, her family never saw any of the profits. As Rebecca Skloot so brilliantly shows, the story of the Lacks family—past and present—is inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we are made of. 

Over the decade it took to uncover this story, Rebecca became enmeshed in the lives of the Lacks family—especially Henrietta’s daughter Deborah. Deborah was consumed with questions: Had scientists cloned her mother? Had they killed her to harvest her cells? And if her mother was so important to medicine, why couldn’t her children afford health insurance? 

Intimate in feeling, astonishing in scope, and impossible to put down, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks captures the beauty and drama of scientific discovery, as well as its human consequences.
Explore the laws and theories of physics in this accessible introduction to the forces that shape our universe, our planet, and our everyday lives.

Using a bold, graphics-led approach, The Physics Book sets out more than 80 of the key concepts and discoveries that have defined the subject and influenced our technology since the beginning of time. With the focus firmly on unpacking the thought behind each theory-as well as exploring when and how each idea and breakthrough came about-five themed chapters examine the history and developments in specific areas such as Light, Sound, and Electricity.

Eureka moments abound: from Archimedes' bathtub discoveries about displacement and density, and Galileo's experiments with spheres falling from the Tower of Pisa, to Isaac Newton's apple and his conclusions about gravity and the laws of motion. You'll also learn about Albert Einstein's revelations about relativity; how the accidental discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation confirmed the Big Bang theory; the search for the Higgs boson particle; and why most of the universe is missing. If you've ever wondered exactly how physicists formulated-and proved-their abstract concepts, The Physics Book is the book for you.

Series Overview: Big Ideas Simply Explained series uses creative design and innovative graphics along with straightforward and engaging writing to make complex subjects easier to understand. With over 7 million copies worldwide sold to date, these award-winning books provide just the information needed for students, families, or anyone interested in concise, thought-provoking refreshers on a single subject.
The bestselling author of Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs returns with a gripping account of how Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna and her colleagues launched a revolution that will allow us to cure diseases, fend off viruses, and have healthier babies.

When Jennifer Doudna was in sixth grade, she came home one day to find that her dad had left a paperback titled The Double Helix on her bed. She put it aside, thinking it was one of those detective tales she loved. When she read it on a rainy Saturday, she discovered she was right, in a way. As she sped through the pages, she became enthralled by the intense drama behind the competition to discover the code of life. Even though her high school counselor told her girls didn’t become scientists, she decided she would.

Driven by a passion to understand how nature works and to turn discoveries into inventions, she would help to make what the book’s author, James Watson, told her was the most important biological advance since his co-discovery of the structure of DNA. She and her collaborators turned a curiosity ​of nature into an invention that will transform the human race: an easy-to-use tool that can edit DNA. Known as CRISPR, it opened a brave new world of medical miracles and moral questions.

The development of CRISPR and the race to create vaccines for coronavirus will hasten our transition to the next great innovation revolution. The past half-century has been a digital age, based on the microchip, computer, and internet. Now we are entering a life-science revolution. Children who study digital coding will be joined by those who study genetic code.

Should we use our new evolution-hacking powers to make us less susceptible to viruses? What a wonderful boon that would be! And what about preventing depression? Hmmm…Should we allow parents, if they can afford it, to enhance the height or muscles or IQ of their kids?

After helping to discover CRISPR, Doudna became a leader in wrestling with these moral issues and, with her collaborator Emmanuelle Charpentier, won the Nobel Prize in 2020. Her story is a thrilling detective tale that involves the most profound wonders of nature, from the origins of life to the future of our species.
AN INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
“How To will make you laugh as you learn…With How To, you can't help but appreciate the glorious complexity of our universe and the amazing breadth of humanity's effort to comprehend it. If you want some lightweight edification, you won't go wrong with How To.”CNET
 
“[How To] has science and jokes in it, so 10/10 can recommend.” —Simone Giertz

The world's most entertaining and useless self-help guide from the brilliant mind behind the wildly popular webcomic xkcd and the bestsellers What If? and Thing Explainer


For any task you might want to do, there's a right way, a wrong way, and a way so monumentally complex, excessive, and inadvisable that no one would ever try it. How To is a guide to the third kind of approach. It's full of highly impractical advice for everything from landing a plane to digging a hole.

Bestselling author and cartoonist Randall Munroe explains how to predict the weather by analyzing the pixels of your Facebook photos. He teaches you how to tell if you're a baby boomer or a 90's kid by measuring the radioactivity of your teeth. He offers tips for taking a selfie with a telescope, crossing a river by boiling it, and powering your house by destroying the fabric of space-time. And if you want to get rid of the book once you're done with it, he walks you through your options for proper disposal, including dissolving it in the ocean, converting it to a vapor, using tectonic plates to subduct it into the Earth's mantle, or launching it into the Sun.

By exploring the most complicated ways to do simple tasks, Munroe doesn't just make things difficult for himself and his readers. As he did so brilliantly in What If?, Munroe invites us to explore the most absurd reaches of the possible. Full of clever infographics and fun illustrations, How To is a delightfully mind-bending way to better understand the science and technology underlying the things we do every day.