The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013


Pulitzer Prize–winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee, a leading cancer physician and researcher, selects the year’s top science and nature writing from journalists who dive into their fields with curiosity and passion, delivering must-read articles from a wide array of fields.

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The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2013

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Pulitzer Prize–winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee, a leading cancer physician and researcher, selects the year’s top science and nature writing from journalists who dive into their fields with curiosity and passion, delivering must-read articles from a wide array of fields.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

With this trade paperback and NOOK Book original, The Best American Science and Nature Writing anthology series continues a successful run that began in 2000. Presiding over this year's gathering is Siddhartha Mukherjee, whose science writing includes the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Emperor of Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. Quite possibly the best one volume introduction to contemporary science writing in the language.

Library Journal
Pulitzer Prize winner Mukherjee (The Emperor of Maladies: A Biography of Cancer) has chosen the pieces for this year's collection of recommended science and nature writing. The volume contains essays from traditional science magazines such as Popular Science and Scientific American, but most pieces come from general periodicals including The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, and Playboy. The offerings cover a wide range of topics (e.g., autism, cancer and immunology, cross-species communication, environmentalism, global warming, language, larch trees, mathematics, quantum computing, the nature of the universe, and viruses). Many readers will consider the highlights to include the pieces on beginning efforts to communicate with wild dolphins, secrets of immortality from jellyfish, species triage (deciding what species will survive extinction), the reclusive Russian mathematician who solved the Poincaré conjecture, and a computer scientist who literally measures everything going in and out of his body, as well as an Oliver Sacks essay about his experiences taking narcotics. VERDICT This selection demonstrates the vast diversity of the questions science explores but also the importance that personalities, economics, opportunities, and politics play in that exploration. Recommended to readers of creative nonfiction with interests in nature, science, and technology.—Scott Vieira, Sam Houston State Univ. Lib., Huntsville, TX
Kirkus Reviews
An anthology of some of the finest writing (if not the best) on science, nature and mathematics from American publications in 2012, selected and edited by Pulitzer Prize–winning author Mukherjee (The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, 2010). Are these essays really "the best?" The evident narrowness of the criteria for selection would seem to argue against it. Nearly all of the entries are from a limited circle of print magazines, with Scientific American and the New Yorker leading the pack. Four pieces are by previous guest editors of the series. In a sense, then, this book celebrates the already celebrated and might, therefore, seem to present nothing new or all that different on first view. But the proof of this pudding is in the reading. Mukherjee's introduction ("On Tenderness") provides a hint of the diverse excellence to come. Some subjects--interspecies communication, the (possibly digital) nature of physical reality, the use of immunology to battle cancer, the deadliest viruses--warrant two or more essays. Other singular highlights include J.B. MacKinnon's critique of naïve views of nature as a peaceable kingdom; Oliver Sacks' account of his personal experimentation with psychotropic substances; Elizabeth Kolbert's visit to a "rewilding" project aimed at populating a reclaimed wilderness in the Netherlands with species resembling its original Pleistocene denizens; Keith Gessen's adventure on an iron-ore freighter plying the newly de-iced (thanks to climate change) Northeast Passage between Murmansk, Russia, and the Bering Sea; and Mark Bowden's profile of computer scientist Larry Smarr and his visionary program to attain total information awareness of his body and its bacterial ecosystem, a program Smarr believes is the prototype of the health care system of the future. Other contributors include Rick Bass, Alan Lightman and Nathaniel Rich. A stimulating compendium.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

SIDDHARTHA MUKHERJEE, cancer physician and researcher, is the author of The Emperor of Maladies: A Biography of Cancer , the 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner for general nonfiction.

TIM FOLGER is a contributing editor at Discover and writes about science for several magazines.

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