Synopses & Reviews
Bringing together the best and brightest writers on science and nature, this year's collection includes essays on such wide-ranging subjects as astronomy's new stars, archaeology, the Bible, "terminal" ice, and memory faults.
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 hundred 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 2003, edited by Richard Dawkins, is another "eloquent, accessible, and even illuminating" collection (Publishers Weekly). Here are the best and brightest writers on science and nature, writing on such wide-ranging subjects as astronomy's new stars, archaeology, the Bible, "terminal" ice, and memory faults.
Natalie Angier Timothy Ferris Ian Frazier Elizabeth F. Loftus Steven Pinker Oliver Sacks Steven Weinberg Edward O. Wilson
Includes bibliographical references (p. -324).
About the Author
Richard Dawkins taught zoology at the University of California atBerkeley and at Oxford University and is now the Charles Simonyi Professorof the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, a position hehas held since 1995. The Wall Street Journal said his "passion is supportedby an awe-inspiring literary craftsmanship."The New YorkTimes Book Review has hailed him as a writer who "understands theissues so clearly that he forces his reader to understand them too."Among his previous books are The Ancestor's Tale, The Selfish Gene,The Blind Watchmaker, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweavingthe Rainbow, and A Devil's Chaplain. Dawkins lives in Oxford with hiswife, the actress and artist Lalla Ward.Tim Folger has been an editor and reporter for Discover and Science Digest.
Table of Contents
Contents Foreword ix Introduction by Richard Dawkins xiii
Natalie Angier. Weighing the Grandma Factor 1 from The New York Times
Tim Appenzeller. At Home in the Heavens 7 from U.S. News&World Report
Alan Burdick. Four Ears to the Ground 11 from Natural History
Clark R. Chapman and Alan W. Harris. A Skeptical Look at September 11th 15 from Skeptical Inquirer
David Ewing Duncan. DNA as Destiny 25 from Wired
Timothy Ferris. Astronomys New Stars 36 from Smithsonian
Ian Frazier. Terminal Ice 48 from Outside
James Gorman. Finding a Wild, Fearsome World Beneath Every Fallen Leaf 67 from The New York Times
Charles Hirshberg. My Mother, the Scientist 72 from Popular Science
Brendan I . Koerner. Embryo Police 79 from Wired
Elizabeth Kolbert. Ice Memory 91 from The New Yorker
Andrew Lawler. Treasure Under Saddams Feet 105 from Discover
Daniel Lazare. False Testament 112 from Harpers Magazine
Elizabeth F. Loftus. Memory Faults and Fixes 127 from Issues in Science and Technology
Charles C. Mann. Homeland Insecurity 145 from The Atlantic Monthly
Bill McKibben. Its Easy Being Green 170 from Mother Jones
Steve Olson. The Royal We 176 from The Atlantic Monthly
Dennis Overbye. A New View of Our Universe 181 from The New York Times
Steven Pinker. The Blank Slate 188 from Discover
Oliver Sacks. Anybody Out There? 200 from Natural History
Steve Silberman. The Fully Immersive Mind of Oliver Sacks 206 from Wired
Adam Summers. Fat Heads Sink Ships 225 from Natural History
Gary Taubes. What If Its All Been a Big Fat Lie? 228 from The New York Times Magazine
Bruce Watson. Sounding the Alarm 248 from Smithsonian
William Speed Weed. The Very Best Telescope 254 from Discover
Scott Weidensaul. Raising the Dead 262 from Audubon
Steven Weinberg. The Truth About Missile Defense 271 from The New York Review of Books
Ted Williams. Maines War on Coyotes 287 from Audubon
Edward O. Wilson. The Bottleneck 297 from Scienti.c American
Contributors Notes 315 Other Notable Science and Nature Writing of 2002 321