Best Science & Technology of 2022

Wasps, bees, and the Milky Way are personified and celebrated in the best science and technology titles of 2022.

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Black, Riley. The Last Days of the Dinosaurs: An Asteroid, Extinction, and the Beginning of Our World. St. Martin’s. ISBN 9781250271044.

Black engrossingly takes readers back to the days, years, and centuries after an asteroid slammed into Earth and made dinosaurs extinct. As riveting as a read-in-one-night novel, this book makes a fascinating adventure out of imagining what happened elsewhere on the planet on that fateful day.

Chittka, Lars. The Mind of a Bee. Princeton Univ. ISBN 9780691180472.

Much has been written about beehives, but Chittka’s book focuses on them in a refreshing way and shows readers just how intelligent the insects are as individuals. For example, bees can recognize human faces, and they have emotions, personalities, and perhaps even consciousness. This title delves deeply into their world and behaviors.

Darling, David & Agnijo Banerjee. The Biggest Number in the World: A Journey to the Edge of Mathematics. Oneworld. ISBN 9780861543052.

Readers needn’t be fans of numbers or mathematics to enjoy this delightful book. It dives deep into the world’s largest numbers—cells in our bodies and in the universe—and into places where the rules we know no longer apply. That makes this exploration an adventure full of enjoyable twists, turns, and revelations.

Gigerenzer, Gerd. How To Stay Smart in a Smart World: Why Human Intelligence Still Beats Algorithms. MIT. ISBN 9780262046954.

Gigerenzer’s book is comforting as it explicitly makes the case that the machines of the future will not be able to do everything better than humans. Don’t trust smart technology unconditionally, he warns readers, but he also counsels that there’s no need to fear it either.

Mapp, Rue. Nature Swagger: Stories and Visions of Black Joy in the Outdoors. Chronicle. ISBN 9781797214290.

This gorgeous book is for everyone to see how nature can connect, calm, and heal all those who venture out into it. Mapp’s explicit aim for the book was to inspire Black joy, and the moving stories and vibrant photographs certainly do that; in fact, it’s likely to evoke joy in all audiences—no one can resist going outside after perusing this volume.

McTier, Moiya. The Milky Way: An Autobiography of Our Galaxy. Grand Central. ISBN 9781538754153.

McTier’s compelling book gives the Milky Way its own voice to set the record straight about its origins, historical journey, and future, which have been lonely, misunderstood, and fraught with enemies and mourning periods. This ranks as one of the most captivating science books that general readers—especially those who aren’t scientifically inclined—can grasp and love.

Reynolds, Mary. We Are the ARK: Returning Our Gardens to Their True Nature Through Acts of Restorative Kindness. Timber. ISBN 9781643261782.

This illustrated book demonstrates that if people worldwide conduct acts of restorative kindness, the planet’s natural ecosystem could be restored. That will take enabling native plants and creatures to do what they do naturally as well. In short, this is an absorbing book of hope that indicates how collective action can preserve much.

Roberts, David. Into the Great Emptiness: Peril and Survival on the Greenland Ice Cap. Norton. ISBN 9780393868111.

Utilizing vast archival materials and firsthand accounts, this book details the daring feat of a 1930 expedition to the east coast of Greenland to set up a permanent meteorological base on an icecap 8,200 feet above sea level. It’s a riveting read with cinematic scenes.

Sumner, Seirian. Endless Forms: The Secret World of Wasps. Harper. ISBN 9780063029927.

Sumner provides a highly entertaining look at wasps, often portrayed as the gangsters of the insect world. This book, however, gives them their hero turn, arguing that wasps are widely misunderstood and have been wrongly given a bad rap. It’s an enchanting way to learn what wasps do that deserves respect and, finally, recognition.

Yong, Ed. An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us. Random. ISBN 9780593133231.

This book is a captivating way to view life from a distinct perspective. As the title indicates, it transports humans into the sensory world of animals. How interesting to learn that a crocodile’s face is as sensitive as that of a loved one, or that a turtle can track the planet’s magnetic fields. The facts that Yong sets out will resonate with readers.

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