"All The Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr

This book is not about chemistry, and it probably is the most "literary" book that I have written about in these pages.  It is a beautiful story about the lives of a blind French girl, Marie-Laure, who escapes during the Nazi occupation of France with her father, the master locksmith of the Paris Museum of Natural History, to St.

Making Thinking Visible

Making Thinking Visible

This book has helped me to uncover student misconceptions and look into their thought processes regularly. A supervisor gave me the book in August, and it sat on my nightstand for several weeks.  In my mind, it was going to be another book about visual learners and strategies for using images to increase engagement. I WAS WRONG. This book is different. It is not about visual learning; it focuses on making student thinking visible to the teacher. While still learning to use the visible thinking routines, I really feel more conscious of students’ understandings than ever. 

"What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions" by Randall Munroe

xkcd is a nerdy Internet daily cartoon that is written and drawn by a former NASA "roboticist". The subject matter is all over the map [yesterday's (11/4/14) is about TypographicChemistry], but tends to favor physics and computing. He encourages readers of the cartoon strip to send him outrageous questions, and he supplies outrageous but scientifically accurate responses. Some of the best of these have be come a surprising NYT Best Seller.

The Particle at the End of the Universe by Sean Carroll

The Higgs boson is one of our era’s most fascinating scientific frontiers and the key to understanding why mass exists. The most recent book on the subject, The God Particle, was a bestseller.

"The Unpersuadables" by Will Storr

The Unpersuadables, by Will Storr

Journalist Will Storr provides sixteen vignettes about people who hold decidedly minority views about scientific and historical topics. Rather than just saying, "This is what these people believe, and here is why they are wrong", Storr allows each of them to tell their own story, and lets their words speak largely for themselves.

The Simpsons and Their Mathematical Secrets by Simon Singh

Simon Singh uses mathematical tidbits planted by the nerds and geeks who write The Simpsons to lead the reader on an excursion through some amazing mathematics. The book will appeal to the kind of person who might read JCE, and others with some mathematical background and interest.

Soccernomics: Why Transfers Fail, Why Spain Rule the World and Other Curious Football Phenomena Explained, by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski

Lots of us learned about percentages and statistics by studying batting averages, and many of our students are passionately choosing players for fantasy leagues in various sports. Is it possible to find methods for the evaluation of players in soccer using methods similar to those in "Moneyball"? This question and many others are addressed in "Soccernomics"

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

One of the pioneers in digital media and networks is disquieted by the dominance of the digital landscape by a few Siren Servers, who capitalized not on their superior products or expertise, but solely on their ability to extract a profit from each of the bits that make up Big Data. He thinks we all should be paid for our contributions, or at least the system be changed so as to provide incentives real contributions.

Life's Ratchet: How Molecular Machines Extract Order From Chaos

Peter Hoffman is a physicist and materials scientist, and he brings those perspectives and sensibilities to the description of how life converts chemical energy into order and motion.  The "Ratchet" in the title is Feynman's Ratchet, a gedanken experiment described in Feynman's "Lectures on Physics" and reminiscent of Maxwell's Demon.