Meet the authors of the latest popular science books, and join Chemistry World for a review and discussion of the topics the book raises. Join in on twitter by using #bookclubCW
Book club – Vampirology by Kathryn Harkup
Get your garlic and crucifix ready as we tackle Kathryn Harkup’s Vampirology: The Science of Horror’s Most Famous Fiend.
An expert on looking at the science behind cultural phenomena, she finds tales of folklore and fiction, searches for scientific explanations to historic accounts of vampirism and asks whether, technically, vampires could exist. We talk to Harkup about watching Buffy reruns and Hong Kong’s hopping vampires, and find out what it’s like to investigate a myth with science.
Book club – Handmade by Anna Ploszajski
How do you make a chemical-resistant beaker out of a material as fragile as glass? And how do you tell the temperature of a piece of steel without a thermometer?
These are questions Anna Ploszajski tackles in her book 'Handmade: A Scientist’s Search for Meaning through Making' as she explores the domain of makers and craftspeople. With knowledge accumulated over generations of trial and error, these experimenters understand popular materials like glass, steel and wood far better than any scientist.
Book club – The Disordered Cosmos by Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
In this episode, we read Chanda Prescod-Weinstein’s debut The Disordered Cosmos, a book exposing how racism and sexism persist across all scientific disciplines. Part introduction to particle physics, part biography, part cultural and social analysis, The Disordered Cosmos examines the colonialist thread running through science’s history and presents a vision of the cosmos as vibrant, inclusive and non-traditional.
Book club – Never Mind the B#ll*cks, Here’s the Science by Luke O’Neill
In this episode, we’re looking for answers to the important questions in life like ‘Why do you believe in diets?’ or ‘Why are you working in a b******t job?’ Biochemist and immunologist Luke O’Neill certainly doesn’t mince words in his new book 'Never Mind the B#ll*cks, Here’s the Science: A Scientist’s Guide to the Biggest Challenges Facing our Species Today'. Despite its provocative title, the book covers some serious topics that range from vaccination and mental health, to racism and
Book club – The Poison Trials by Alisha Rankin
This month we find out drug testing has come a long way, as we read The Poison Trials: Wonder Drugs, Experiment and the Battle for Authority in Renaissance Science, the latest book from historian of science and medicine Alisha Rankin. The book tells little-known stories of medicine in 16th century Europe, such as Pope Clement VII’s personal physician testing a new antidote by feeding poison-laced cake to two condemned criminals. Only one received the cure.
Book club – Uncle Tungsten by Oliver Sacks
This month we’re celebrating 20 years of a popular science classic: Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood by Oliver Sacks. In his memoir, Sacks – who later became a famous neurologist – recounts how he discovered his love for science growing up in the 1930 and 40s. We’ll try to find out whether this book is worth reading (or re-reading), chat to the chemist whose own childhood was influenced by Sacks’ work and talk to Laura Snyder, the historian of science writing Sacks’ biography.