Mathematics, Technology & Society Past Readings

2022

  • David Stipp, A Most Elegant Equation: Euler’s Formula and the Beauty of Mathematics
  • Carl Rovelli, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics; Paul Nurse, What Is Life? Five Great Ideas in Biology
  • Caleb Scharf, The Ascent of Information: Books, Bits, Genes, Machines, and Life’s Unending Algorithm
  • Virginia Postrel, The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World
  • Michael J. Benton and Bob Nicholls, Dinosaurs: New Visions of a Lost World
  • Lisa Jardine, The Curious Life of Robert Hooke: The Man Who Measured London Ananyo Bhattacharya, The Man from the Future: The Visionary Life of John von Neumann
  • Peter Atkins, Atkins’ Molecules
  • Jeremy Desilva, First Steps, How Upright Walking Made Us Human
  • Don Norman, The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition
  • Lisa Jardine, The Curious Life of Robert Hooke: The Man Who Measured London
  • Ananyo Bhattacharya, The Man from the Future: The Visionary Life of John von Neumann
  • Peter Atkins, Atkins’ Molecules
  • Jeremy Desilva, First Steps, How Upright Walking Made Us Human
  • Don Norman, The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition

2021

  • Eli Maor, Music by the Numbers: From Pythagoras to Schoenberg
  • A.S. Barwich, Smellosophy: What the Nose Tells the Mind
  • Michael Strevens, Knowledge Machine: How Irrationality Created Modern Science
  • Joseph Mazur, The Clock Mirage: Our Myth of Measured Time
  • Nick Lane, Oxygen: The Molecule That Made the World
  • Paul Hoffman, The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul Erdos
  • Steven Johnson, The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic—and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World
  • Jennifer Ackerman, The Bird Way: A New Look at How Birds Talk, Work, Play, Parent, and Think
  • Tim Gregory, Meteorite: How Stones From Outer Space Made Our World
  • Roland Ennos, The Age of Wood: Our Most Useful Material and the Construction of Civilization
  • Paul Sen, Einstein’s Fridge: How the Difference Between Hot and Cold Explains the Universe

2020

  • David Hockney and Martin Gayford, A History of Pictures: From the Cave to the Computer Screen
  • Ian Stewart, Do Dice Play God? The Mathematics of Uncertainty
  • Cathy Cobb and Harold Goldwhite, Creations Of Fire: Chemistry’s Lively History From Alchemy To The Atomic Age
  • Nathaniel Bradlee, History Introduction of Pure Water into the City of Boston 
  • Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind 
  • Jack Hartnell, Medieval Bodies: Life and Death in the Middle Ages
  • Merlin Sheldrake, Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our
  • Futures
  • John McPhee, Basin and Range
  • Naomi Oreskes, Stephen Macedo, et al. , Why Trust Science?
  • Sean Carroll, Something Deeply Hidden: Quantum Worlds and the Emergence of Spacetime

2019

  • Peter Godfrey-Smith, Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea and the Deep Origins of Consciousness
  • Simon Winchester, The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology
  • Penny Le Couteur  and Jay Burreson, Napoleon’s Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History
  • David Quammen and Jacques Roy, The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life
  • David Reich, Who Are We and How We Got Here: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past
  • Jim Holt, When Einstein Walked with Gödel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought
  • Sabine Hossenfelder, Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray
  • Christof Koch, The Feeling of Life Itself. Why Consciousness Is Widespread but Can’t Be Computed
  • Timothy C. Winegard, The Mosquito: A Human History of Our Deadliest Predator

2018

  • Fred Piper and Sean Murphy, Cryptography: A Very Short Introduction
  • Paul Halpern, The Quantum Labyrinth: How Richard Feynman and John Wheeler Revolutionized Time and Reality
  • Jenny Uglow, The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World
  • Nick Bostrom, Super Intelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies
  • Stephen Jay Gould, The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister’s Pox: Mending the Gap Between Science and the Humanities
  • Simon Winchester, The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World
  • Carlo Rovelli, The Order of Time
  • Steven Weinberg, Third Thoughts
  • Alan Jasanoff, The Biological Mind: How Brain, Body, and Environment Collaborate to Make Us Who We Are
  • Sean Carroll, The Big Picture: On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself

2017

  • Simon Singh, The Code Book: The Science of Secrecy from Ancient Egypt to Quantum Cryptography
  • Frans de Waal, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are
  • Eugene S. Ferguson, Engineering and the Mind’s Eye
  • Arlindo Oliveira, The Digital Mind: How Science is Redefining Humanity
  • Ian Stewart, Calculating the Cosmos: How Mathematics Unveils the Universe
  • Helen Czerski, Storm in a Teacup: The Physics of Everyday Life
  • Barry Mazur, Imagining Numbers
  • Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder: The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror of Science

2016

  • Eric Scerri, A Tale of Seven Elements
  • William Rosen, The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention
  • Nick Lane, The Vital Question, Why Is Life The Way It Is? 
  • Reviel Netz, The Archimedes Codex: How a Medieval Prayer Book Is Revealing the True Genius of Antiquity’s Greatest Scientist
  • Alan Hirshfeld, Starlight Detectives: How Astronomers, Inventors, and Eccentrics Discovered the Modern Universe
  • Arnold Pacey, Technology in World Civilization: A Thousand-Year History
  • Joseph Henrich, The Secret of Our Success: How Culture Is Driving Human Evolution, Domesticating Our Species, and Making Us Smarter
  • Caspar Henderson, The Book of Barely Imagined Beings
  • Dava Sobel​, Longitude
  • Braden R. Allenby and Daniel R. Sarewitz, The Techno-Human Condition
  • John L. Heilborn​, Galileo​
  • Charles Perrow​, Normal Accidents​

2015

  • Joseph Needham, Science & Civilization, Volume 6, Biology and Biological Technology
  • R. Buckminster Fuller, Critical Path
  • Jo Marchant, Decoding the Heavens: A 2,000-Year-Old Computer and the Century-Long Search to Discover its Secrets
  • Walter Isaacson, The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution
  • Nicholas Carr, The Glass Cage: Automation and Us
  • Marcus du Sautoy, The Music of the Primes: Searching to Solve the Greatest

2014

  • Margalit Fox, The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code
  • Noson S. Yanofsky, The Outer Limits of Reason: What Science, Mathematics, and Logic Cannot Tell Us
  • Jim al-Khalili, The House of Wisdom: How Arabic Science Saved Ancient Knowledge
  • Lawrence M. Principe, The Secrets of Alchemy
  • Philip Ball, Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything
  • Sam Kean, The Disappearing Spoon and other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements
  • Henry Petroski, To Forgive Design: Understanding Failure
  • Michael Blastland and David Spiegelhalter, The Norm Chronicles: Stories and Numbers About Danger
  • Richard P. Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out:  The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman
  • Amir Alexander, Infinitesimal: How a Dangerous Mathematical Theory Shaped the Modern World; optional reading G.H. Hardy, Orders of Infinity: The `Infinitärcalcül’ of Paul Du Bois-Reymond

2013

  • Owen Gingerich, The Book Nobody Read: Chasing the Revolutions of Nicolaus Copernicus.
  • Mario Livio, Brilliant Blunders
  • Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar, Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts