Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Title: The best American science and nature writing 2013
By: Siddartha Mukherjee (ed.)
I have a lot of trouble reading articles in magazines even though there are so many good ones. Fortunately, Best American Science and Nature Writing is annually, and 2013 is an especially good year. Editor Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee (author of Emperor of All Maladies) prefaces the selections with a beautifully written essay on tenderness, which he characterizes as "the nourishment that must happen before investigation can begin." His model is the father of genetic study, Mendel, the monk who in tending his garden propounded the basis of one of the foremost fields of scientific endeavor today
This year’s articles come from such journals as Scientific American, The New Yorker, Orion, and Playboy. The essays speak with relevance to our modern day curiosities, our anxieties, and our fears. Subjects include T-cell research; the longevity of jellyfish (a subject to which a Japanese scientist devotes his working life when not singing karaoke); the Artificial Leaf’s ability to bring power to the millions of dirt poor in third world countries; Rick Bass’ love affair with the larch tree; ice breakers leading mammoth freight carriers through the Bering Strait; the wisdom of psychopaths; the loneliness of Facebook users; and modern deadly viruses. These are our world. And tenderness indeed is there, in some more obviously than in others.
Robert Sapolsky, a professor of biology and neuroscience at Stanford, justifies continuing research into the world of science: "Far from rejecting science as dehumanizing, it is a force of creative regeneration. To tend the wounds of the human psyche—to restore what has been lost—we need more science, not less.”
View similarly tagged posts: non-fiction