Synopses & Reviews
Since its inception in 1915, the Best American series has become the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. For each volume, a series editor reads pieces from hundreds of periodicals, then selects between fifty and a hundred outstanding works. That selection is pared down to the twenty or so very best pieces by a guest editor who is widely recognized as a leading writer in his or her field. This unique system has helped make the Best American series the most respected -- and most popular -- of its kind. The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004, edited by Steven Pinker, is another provocative and thoroughly enjoyable collection from start to finish (Publishers Weekly). Here is the best and newest on science and nature: the psychology of suicide terrorism, desperate measures in surgery, the weird world of octopuses, Sex Week at Yale, the linguistics of click languages, the worst news about cloning, and much more.
Collects nature- and science-based essays by such authors as Anne Fadiman, Brian Hayes, Cullen Murphy, and Gary Taubes.
The latest anthology of the finest nature and science writing is edited by the author of The Elegant Universe and features an eclectic array of works by notable authors--including John Horgan, Daniel Dennett, Dennis Overbye, and others--on everything from the mysteries of genetics to the latest advances in human intelligence. Simultaneous.
The best-selling author Brian Greene—the first physicist to edit this prestigious series—offers a fresh take on the year's most brilliant and mind-bending science writing. Contributors include John Horgan, Daniel Dennett,Dennis Overbye, and others.
In his introduction to The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2006, Brian Greene writes that "science needs to be recognized for what it is: the ultimate in adventure stories."
The twenty-five pieces in this year's collection take you on just such an adventure. Natalie Angier probes the origins of language, Paul Raffaele describes a remote Amazonian tribe untouched by the modern world, and Frans B. M. de Waal explains what a new breed of economists is learning from monkeys. Drake Bennett profiles the creator of Ecstasy and more than two hundred other psychedelic compounds -- a man hailed by some as one of the twentieth century's most important scientists.
Some of the selections reflect the news of the past year. Daniel C. Dennett questions the debate over intelligent design -- is evolution just a theory? --while Chris Mooney reports on how this debate almost tore one small town apart. John Hockenberry examines how blogs are transforming the twenty-first-century battlefield, Larry Cahill probes the new science uncovering male and female brain differences, Daniel Roth explains why the programmer who made it easy to pirate movies over the Internet is now being courted by Hollywood, and Charles C. Mann looks at the dark side of increased human life expectancy.
Reaching out beyond our own planet, Juan Maldacena questions whether we actually live in a three-dimensional world and whether gravity truly exists. Dennis Overbye surveys the continuing scientific mystery of time travel, and Robert Kunzig describes new x-ray images of the heavens, including black holes, exploding stars, colliding galaxies, and other wonders the eye can't see.
Edited by Richard Preston, Jr., the bestselling author of "The Hot Zone" and "The Cobra Event," this new collection is a terrific sampling of science writing at its best" ("Booklist").
About the Author
Tim Folger has been an editor and reporter for Discover and Science Digest.Brian Greene, the author of The Elegant Universe and The Fabric of the Cosmos, received his undergraduate degree from Harvard and his doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He joined the physics faculty of Cornell University in 1990, and in 1996 moved to Columbia University, where he is a professor of physics and mathematics.
Table of Contents
Foreword xi Introduction by Brian Greene xv
Natalie Angier. Almost Before We Spoke, We Swore 1 from The New York Times
Drake Bennett. Dr. Ecstasy 8 from The New York Times Magazine
Larry Cahill. His Brain, Her Brain 19 from Scientific American
Michael Chorost. My Bionic Quest for Boléro 29 from Wired
Daniel C. Dennett. Show Me the Science 39 from The New York Times
Frans B. M. de Waal. How Animals Do Business 46 from Scientific American
David Dobbs. Buried Answers 55 from The New York Times Magazine
Mark Dowie. Conservation Refugees 67 from Orion
John Hockenberry. The Blogs of War 82 from Wired
John Horgan. The Forgotten Era of Brain Chips 93 from Scientific American
Gordon Kane. The Mysteries of Mass 102 from Scientific American
Kevin Krajick. Future Shocks 112 from Smithsonian
Kevin Krajick. The Mummy Doctor 124 from The New Yorker
Robert Kunzig. X-Ray Vision 143 from Discover
Juan Maldacena. The Illusion of Gravity 147 from Scientific American
Charles C. Mann. The Coming Death Shortage 157 from The Atlantic Monthly
Chris Mooney. The Dover Monkey Trial 172 from Seed
Dennis Overbye. Remembrance of Things Future 180 from The New York Times
Paul Raffaele. Out of Time 189 from Smithsonian
Daniel Roth. Torrential Reign 201 from Fortune
Jessica Snyder Sachs. Are Antibiotics Killing Us? 210 from Discover
Oliver Sacks. Remembering Francis Crick 219 from The New York Review of Books
David Samuels. Buried Suns 232 from Harpers Magazine
Josh Schollmeyer. Lights, Camera, Armageddon 259 from Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Moncef Zouali. Taming Lupus 270 from Scientific American
Contributors Notes 283 Other Notable Science and Nature Writing of 2005 288