Best Science & Technology Books of 2020

Birds and whales and eels, oh my! The best science & technology books published in 2020.

See all of our 2020 Best Books lists


Ackerman, Jennifer. The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think. Penguin Pr. ISBN 9780735223011.

Ackerman writes a serious yet fun account for fans of popular science and anyone wishing to learn more about how birds communicate, work, parent, and play. She brings scientific research alive with a combination of personal field observations and compelling accounts of her encounters with these colorful and fascinating animals.


Dolin, Eric Jay. A Furious Sky: The Five-Hundred-Year History of America’s Hurricanes. Liveright. ISBN 9781631495274.

Weather watchers and science buffs will enjoy Dolin’s history of hurricanes, both as a chronology and as a collection of survivor tales. He deftly weaves together accounts of tragedy and heroism from Colonial times to the present day to show how hurricane storm systems form, grow, and travel.


Giggs, Rebecca. Fathoms: The World in the Whale. S. & S. ISBN 9781982120696.

With lyrical language, Giggs embarks on an underwater journey to uncover the place of whales in the chain of life. Her immersive exploration of varied species of whales illustrates the interconnectedness of all life and the ways human depredations reverberate from the smallest creatures to this largest of Earth’s animals.


Johnson, Sarah Stewart. The Sirens of Mars: Searching for Life on Another World. Crown. ISBN 9781101904817.

Part natural history of Mars, part personal story, this eloquent narrative is essential for armchair explorers and Mars enthusiasts. Johnson paints a colorful history of the Red Planet and the people who have attempted to uncover its secrets. Her journey is also inspiring to women interested in STEM careers.


Kolker, Robert. Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family. Doubleday. ISBN 9780385543767.

This exciting story of scientific intrigue follows the Galvin family as researchers examine their genes in the quest to better understand schizophrenia. Delving into the mysterious roots of this misunderstood condition, Kolker is clear and compelling as he details family history and scientific discovery.


Lieberman, Daniel. Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved To Do Is Healthy and Rewarding. Pantheon. ISBN 9781524746988.

Lieberman explores the paradox of exercise as a source of pleasure and health, but also a cause of discomfort and guilt—and explains why humans are still confused about how to do it safely, enjoyably, and beneficially. An engaging scientific history of whether we were born to walk or run.


Marchant, Jo. The Human Cosmos: Civilization and the Stars. Dutton. ISBN 9780593183014.

Marchant sets out to offer a better understanding of the night sky, along with the contributions and discoveries of astronomers such as Galileo. Our present moment is also considered, as light pollution interrupts our biological rhythm. This mix of past and present results in a thought-provoking and grand meditation on our stars and skies.


Shah, Sonia. The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move. Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781635571974.

Shah shows how migration and movement are more important and central to the lives of all living beings on Earth than previously known. Meticulously researched, yet highly readable, this enriching account presents a nuanced counterargument to the idea of a static world in which each being belongs only to a certain place.


Slaght, Jonathan C. Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest To Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl. Farrar. ISBN 9780374228484.

This engaging work is not only a solid choice for bird lovers, but also for armchair travelers looking for adventure. Slaght excels in writing accessible and intriguing popular science and here recounts his study of Blakiston’s fish owls, raptors notable for their large size and rarity whose habitat ranges across southeastern Russia.


Svensson, Patrik. The Book of Eels: Our Enduring Fascination with the Most Mysterious Creature in the Natural World. Ecco. ISBN 9780062968814.

While exploring the historical roots of the mysterious eel, Svensson quietly weaves in his own experience with these animals, recollections of his father, and ruminations on how we interpret our own histories, collectively and individually. This beautifully crafted book challenges readers not only to understand eels but themselves.


See all of our 2020 Best Books lists

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Arlene Stoker

I love Eric Jay Dolin's books, he puts his heart and soul in them!!

Posted : Nov 30, 2020 04:38



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