Mathematics, Technology & Society Past Readings

2024

    • James Vincent, Beyond Measure: The Hidden History of Measurement from Cubits to Quantum Constants
    • David Hone, How Fast Did T.Rex Run?: Unsolved Questions from the Frontiers of Dinosaur Science
    • Matthew Shindell, For the Love of Mars: A Human History of the of the Red Planet
    • Ed Yong, An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realm Around Us
    • Jennifer A. Doudna and Samuel H. Sternberg, A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution
    • Erica Thompson, Escape from Model Land: How Mathematical Models Can Lead Us Astray and What We Can Do About It
    • Helen Czerski, The Blue Machine: How the Ocean Works
    • MAdam Frank, The Little Book of Aliens

2023

    • Lulu Miller, Why Fish Don’t Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life

    • Marcelo Gleiser, The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning

    • Jackie Higgins, Sentient: How Animals Illuminate the Wonder of Our Human Senses

    • Robert Hazen, Symphony in C: Carbon and the Evolution of (Almost) Everything

    • Erik Asphaug, When the Earth Had Two Moons: Cannibal Planets, Icy Giants, Dirty Comets, Dreadful Orbits, and the Origins of the Night Sky

    • Henry Petroski, Force: What It Means to Push and Pull, Slip and Grip, Start and Stop

    • Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Song of the Cell

    • Seirian Sumner, Endless Forms: The Secret World of Wasps

    • James Vincent, Beyond Measure: The Hidden History of Measurement from Cubits to Quantum Constants

    • David Hone, How Fast Did T.Rex Run?: Unsolved Questions from the Frontiers of Dinosaur Science

    • Matthew Shindell, For the Love of Mars: A Human History of the of the Red Planet

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