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Culture, history and society

Book of the Year 2017

13 Dec 2017

Well written, novel and scientifically interesting for physicists – these are the criteria we use to select the Physics World Book of the Year. We discuss seven of the books on our 10-strong shortlist and announce our pick for the year’s best popular-physics book.

Here at Physics World, we love talking about popular-science books. Indeed, we enjoy it so much that we braved the cold, not to mention a sore throat and cracked ribs (you’ll have to listen to find out more!), to share our thoughts on a few of the year’s best popular-physics books in a special edition of our podcast.

As is becoming a tradition, this chat was hosted by our regular podcast presenter and producer Andrew Glester, in his garden shed, where he can often be found musing about “science fiction, science fact and everything in-between” for his own podcast the Cosmic Shed. Despite the freezing December morning, we gathered in the shed with hot drinks, blankets and a pile of books, as we discussed some of the themes that link the year’s books, on what was a somewhat out-of-the-ordinary shortlist.

Congratulations to all of the shortlisted authors on their fantastic books – tune in to the podcast to hear some words from our winner. We hope that everyone will find something to appreciate on this list, and hopefully we have given you a few ideas for some excellent holiday presents.

Shortlist for Physics World Book of the Year 2017 (in no particular order)

Marconi: the Man Who Networked the World by Marc Raboy

Hidden Figures: the Untold Story of the African American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars by Dava Sobel

Scale: the Universal Laws of Life and Death in Organisms, Cities and Companies by Geoffrey West

Not A Scientist: How Politicians Mistake, Misrepresent and Utterly Mangle Science by Dave Levitan

Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong and the New Research That’s Rewriting the Story by Angela Saini

Mapping the Heavens: the Radical Scientific Ideas That Reveal the Cosmos by Priyamvada Natarajan

We Have No Idea by Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson

The Secret Science of Superheroes edited by Ed. Mark Lorch and Andy Miah

The Death of Expertise: the Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters by Tom Nichols

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