Knowledge, learning, understanding, new perspective. All of these are hallmarks of any scientist or scientific endeavor. One of the greatest ways to expand one’s knowledge is through books, the printed word has been one of mankind’s best and most enduring achievements throughout our history on this planet.
The first thing that Adam and I did when we decided to start moving forward with Science Knights was to expand our knowledge and the way we chose to do that was through the use of books. And we started with those science communicators that we respected most and the ones who seemed most entertaining to us. So….how about a list? Maybe you can find some new knowledge here too.
Carl Sagan: Pale Blue Dot, The Demon Haunted World, Billions and Billions and more.
Have you ever heard Dr. Sagan speak? It’s fantastic. Just for fun take a look at his Pale Blue Dot speech again.
Now…imagine that but in his writing. The book Pale Blue Dot is all about his vision of the future of science in the United States, and although it was published more than 20 years ago some of the stuff he wrote down in that book are poignant and true today.
Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark is another endeavor of Carl Sagan’s to bring science to the masses, this time in an attempt to make assuage the fears of Alien Abduction, Astrology, Creationism, Heaven, Hell, Demonkind, Possession. Explaining away our fears through the lens of science.
Lastly, Billions and Billions. When Carl Sagan knew he was going to die, he collected and wrote a series of essays about what he saw for the future of the country he lived in and loved so much. He gave his opinions on climate change, population explosion, abortion, morality, and extraterrestrial life. Anything and everything Carl Sagan wrote, taught, or discussed is worth a look if only for his vast knowledge of how the cosmos worked. And he’s got even more books! Check them out
Neil DeGrasse Tyson: Astrophysics for People in a Hurry
Not too long ago, 20th Century FOX produced a re-imagining of Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey, hosted by the one and only Dr. Tyson. His ability to contextualize and romanticize the world of science is unparalleled in the 21st Century. Do you have very little free time but what to increase your understanding of the universe? Check out Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Adam and I agree, it’s like a condensed Cosmos, and it’s brilliant!
Bill Nye: Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation
In the last three years, we’ve seen a resurgence of Bill Nye in popular culture. The Science Guy has a new Netflix show and works closely with Dr. Tyson on StarTalk Radio, he is also the CEO of The Planetary Society. But what has fascinated me was his recent (2014) debate with Ken Ham, a noted Creationist and Founder of Answers in Genesis. Haven’t seen the debate? Here you go.
Following that debate, Bill Nye thought it important to discuss the merits and importance of The Theory of Evolution to a further degree. Hence the publication of Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation. There are plenty of great quotes and moments from this book. But perhaps the most empowering is that instead of looking at the world of evolution from outside or above (as humans are inclined to do, being the arrogant things we are) we should look at it from within, as a part of the system. Humans are the project of billions of years of research and development on our planet. And that is an encouraging thought. We weren’t created. We evolved to be this way.
There are even more books. From even more scientists, communicators, great thinkers, just waiting to be opened and have that knowledge disseminated. Never stop looking forward and never think there’s something ultimately unknowable. All you have to do is look.