2019 Summer Reading List: Popular Sciences Books

Here are 20 popular science books to inspire you this summer! Each book has a link to the UCLA Catalog or Melvyl (you can use Melvyl to locate books in your local public library). Happy reading!

Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World

by Bruce Schneider

An overview of digital surveillance and the disappearance of privacy.

Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World by Bruce Schneider

Fermat's Enigma: The Epic Quest to Solve the World's Greatest Mathematical Problem

by Simon Singh

The story of the quest to solve Fermat's Last Theorem.

Fermat's Enigma

Beyond Infinity: An Expedition to the Outer Limits of Mathematics

by Eugenia Cheng

An introduction to the concept of infinity and how it applies to our lives.

Beyond Infinity

How to Walk on Water and Climb up Walls: Animal Movement and the Robots of the Future

by David L. Hu

What can robotics designers learn from the animal world?

How to Walk on Water

Structures: Or Why Things Don't Fall Down

by J. E. Gordon

A classic and nontechnical guide to materials science.


The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History

by Elizabeth Kolbert

An investigation of the ongoing mass extinction.

The Sixth Extinction

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

by Robin Wall Kimmerer

An indigenous botanist writes about the importance of traditional relationships to land.

Braiding Sweetgrass

Silent Spring

by Rachel Carson

A classic work on the environmental damage caused by pesticides.

Silent Spring

The Gene: An Intimate History

by Siddhartha Mukherjee

A large-scale work on genetics, heredity, and humankind.

The Gene

Buzz: The Nature and Necessity of Bees

by Thor Hanson

Bees from their evolution to now.


A Crack in the Edge of the World

by Simon Winchester

The San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and the geology that caused it.

A Crack in the Edge of the World

Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space

by Janna Levin

LIGO and the monumental discovery of gravitational waves.

Black Hole Blues

Periodic Tales: The Curious Lives of the Elements

by Hugh Aldersey-Williams

A scientific and social history of the elements.

Periodic Tales

Mapping the Heavens: The Radical Scientific Ideas That Reveal the Cosmos

by Priyamvada Natarajan

A tour of the 'greatest hits' of cosmological discoveries.

Mapping the Heavens

Lost in Math: How Beauty Leads Physics Astray

by Sabine Hossenfelder

Is modern physics' preoccuptation with aesthetics preventing advancement in the field?

Lost in Math

Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present

by Harriet A. Washington

The history of American medicine's exploitation of African Americans.

Medical Apartheid

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End

by Atul Gawande

The medical field has mostly failed to support high quality of life for the old and dying, but it doesn't have to be that way.

Being Mortal

The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic – And How it Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World

by Steven Johnson

How the first epidemiologist solved the mystery of a cholera outbreak.

The Ghost Map

And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic

by Randy Shilts

A firsthand account of the political failures during the AIDS crisis.

And the Band Played On

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life

by Ed Yong

An introduction to the microbiome, the non-human parts of ourselves.

I Contain Multitudes