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The Best American Science Writing 2009 (Best American Science Writing)

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  179 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Edited by Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist and bestselling author Natalie Angier, The Best American Science Writing 2009 collects into one volume the premier science writing of the year. Distinguished by new and impressive voices as well as some of the foremost names in science writing—Oliver Sacks and Atul Gawande among them—this anthology provides a compre ...more
Unknown Binding, 368 pages
Published September 15th 2009 by Ecco (first published September 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Mark Ferguson
I LOVE this series, and every year, about this time, I scour the shelves where I work to find a copy as soon as it comes off the presses. Last year's edition included a lot of articles about medicine and very few about engineering, robotics, physics, and all that other good stuff, and was a bit of a disappointment. This year's edition is probably my favorite since I started reading the series in '06. It has a really broad range of essays, and is COMPLETELY fascinating from start to finish. I rea ...more
Tomislav
The first half of this book is mostly tiresome reprints of "human-interest" articles on medicine, psychology, and sociology. This was not what I was expecting from the title at all.

By the second half, however, it began to interest me a little more. I felt inspired to do some quick research on a few follow-up questions of my own: Golden rice is fertile; impoverished farmers would not become dependent on annual purchase of new seed; at least not overtly. Microloans of Association to Safeguard the
...more
Andres
I've been reading the other "Best American" science anthology for a while now (different publisher) and am more than happy to have found a parallel series to dive into. An added feature is commentary from the authors about the article they wrote, included in the "About the Contributors" section. As with other collections I'll just list those articles that I especially liked.

The First Ache by Annie Murphy Paul
Explores the debate surrounding the question of when a fetus is first able to feel pain.
...more
Kate Mollohan
I'm behind in my reading of the "Best American" series of science writing (and of the other version, "Science and Nature Writing") but I put this one on the top of the stack because it is edited by Natalie Angier, who is one of my favorite science writers. It's a good thing, because it turns out her essay was the best in book.

One widely published author, whose work I genuinely and often admire, made a grave mistake in describing research; he actually used the phrase "just a theory"--and not in a
...more
Mandy
I really enjoyed this collection of articles on many different science topics. I buy about one of this type of book towards the end of every year with the hope of keeping up with what's going on in science. However, obviously, I'm quite a ways behind on my yearly reading. My only complaint is that some of the articles were dated and information has now changed. This is my fault however, not a criticism of the book itself.
Toby
A really excellent collection exploring science topics through accessible personal essays. Subjects are as diverse as tooth decay, light pollution, the torment of itching (someone actually scratched so uncontrollably and continuously in their sleep, that they scratched through their skull to their brain!), and contagious cancer, which has been identified in animals.
Ron
Excellent read! The mix of articles in this years book was way better that previous years. All the articles were entertaining, enlightening and fun to read. The articles on Dark Matter were very good and I hope I live long enough for science to "discover" or disprove it's existence. Ending the book with a fake article from The Onion was pure genius.
Lindee
what can i say....same old same old...i can only read about dark matter and sub-atomic particles so many times and while i find them fascinating, there are only so many ways to slice them to make them interesting...however, there was one very short piece that I liked a lot, about a nurse and her first code...kind of made me cry. Just a little.
Alex
I'd recommend getting this compilation for Atul Gawande's article "The Itch" alone, though there are several other excellent pieces in the book. Read the Intro last, as it spoils some of the stories. This series seems to be less consistently good than its Best American Science & Nature counterpart, but still worth checking out.
Veach Glines
Many of these articles seemed "retreads", in that I've read articles, similar ones, in other locations (which is not improbable) yet I had not already read each of these articles themselves. Dark Matter, Asteroid Impacts, Autism, etc, etc.
Jack
excellent brain candy. atul gawande's 'the itch', david quammen's 'contagious cancer', and gregg easterbrook's 'the sky is falling' are highlights. natalie angier is this year's editor and selected some incredible stories.
Kevin
Credit has to be given to the editor of this book as well as the writers themselves. A bountiful array of different topics all excellently documented, and every single essay was just as fascinating as the one that preceded it.
Jennifer
I love this series of books and think this is the best one yet. All the essays are thought provoking and who doesn't love a science book that ends with an article by The Onion?? Highly recommended.
Amy
This was great - like a big long Discover magazine.

Word of advice: don't read the first article while eating a sandwich with guacamole spread.
Phil
Some of the best science articles from last year's from of the best magazines. How could this be bad?

I like it!
Julie
Some very good writing and lots of stories about current science. Or at least recently current science.
Tim
this guest editor managed to find the least interesting articles written by the worst writers...
Steve
It's science writing. It's easy to read, but a few of the stories are very interesting.
Elise
Nov 23, 2009 Elise added it
Great stuff on various subjects, including a hilarious essay on evolution from The Onion.
Mike
Excellent, but I'd read many in theit original publications.
medi
i'm not one to judge, but the science herein is a bit "soft".
Brian
My first go at these "Best American...", I was pleasantly surprised.
John collins
So far a bit dark and medical. But grat.
Barry
I like Natalie Angier selection
Samra
Nice collection of science writing.
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Natalie Angier is a nonfiction writer and a science journalist for The New York Times.
More about Natalie Angier...

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