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The Best American Science Writing 2007 (Best American Science Writing)

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3.94  ·  Rating details ·  288 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
Provocative and engaging, this collection brings together the premiere science writing of the year. Featuring the imprimatur of bestselling author and New York Times reporter Gina Kolata, one of the nation's foremost voices in science and medicine, and with contributions from Atul Gawande, Elizabeth Kolbert, and Oliver Sacks, among others, The Best American Science Writing ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 18th 2007 by Harper Perennial (first published September 1st 2007)
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Terri Ann
May 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, science, essays
Excellente. Fascinating science articles and essays on a wide variety of topics from a wide variety of publications. Loved it! I found, though, that I'm done reading global warming articles. I realized that I enjoy science reading because I like learning something new, or novel, or that shifts a paradigm. The global warming articles in this collection did none of that for me. I also skipped the article about functional MRI studies on how the human brain works when it thinks about money and inves ...more
Cynthia
Aug 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Cynthia by: Debra Crouch
Do not be put off by the title of this book. It is very readable and interesting to non-scientists. It includes the best science articles from not only science-related publications, but also general interest magazines such as "The New Yorker". The variety of information on the brain alone is worth the cost of the book. There are also several very informative articles about climate change and what we do and don't really know about it. All in all it is a great summer or anytime read. I would recom ...more
Megan
Jun 11, 2010 rated it liked it
This isn't my favorite edition of this anthology, but while I could have done with less medical articles (personal preference), there were quite a few unique and engaging pieces in this collection. My favorites and the ones I found most thought-provoking:

"Manifold Destiny," by Sylvia Nasar and David Gruber, originally published in THE NEW YORKER, about the unintended controversy surrounding the Russian mathematician Grigori Perelman's proof of the Poincaré conjecture, and the consequences of thi
...more
Mark
Oct 05, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
This is a strong collection. Perhaps reflecting editor Gina Kolata's preferences, it leans heavily towards brain science, medical and environmental topics, and has fewer pieces on the hard sciences or technology.

My only other small criticism is that I think she chose a couple of the pieces because they were written by her New York Times pals rather than because they merited it, particularly a rather dull story by Lawrence Altman about how doctors peformed an aortic aneurysm repair invented by fa
...more
David
Feb 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
I thought this year's volume was quite a bit better than usual - hence the fourth star. The selection is distinctly skewed in favor of various neurological topics, with relatively fewer environmental and ecological pieces, but the high quality of the results vindicates the chosen emphasis, in my view. Among the topics covered:

• neurological research pertaining to:
- lie detection
- face recognition
- stereoscopic vision
- Alzheimer's disease
- depression
- financial decision-making
• new surgical
...more
Alex Telander
Nov 02, 2007 rated it liked it
BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE WRITING 2007 EDITED BY GINA KOLATA: Since this is the “best American science writing” of the year, you know it’s going to be good. What’s amazing is the variety of subject matter that just the term “science” covers. The result is a collection of incredible articles covering the latest discoveries and breakthroughs in the many different fields of science.

While this collection may not be for the average person who has little-to-no knowledge of science – some background is nec
...more
Eleanor With Cats
"The Theory of Everything" - Tyler Cabot

"Manifold Destiny" - Sylvia Nasar & David Gruber

"Looking for the Lie" - Robin Marantz Henig

"Face Blind" - Joshua Davis

"Stereo Sue" - Oliver Sacks
A woman regains her depth perception.

"Probing a Mind for a Cure" - Stacey Burling
Dissecting donated brains for Alzheimer's research.

"A Depression Switch?" - David Dobbs
Can an operation turn off depression?

"With Lasers and Daring, Doctors Race to Save a Young Man's Brain" - Denise Grady

"Being There" - Jerome G
...more
Jenny
Mar 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
What makes for good science writing? This is a question that editors of the Best American Science Writing tackle every year. In 2006 Atul Gawande, surgeon and writer, asserted that the best science writing achieves the 'coolness' factor, that prose which makes technical and complex topics exciting and accessible to a broad audience. Writing styles that speak to the work-a-day person, word craft that seamlessly translates unfamiliar concepts to even the most casual reader. This year Gina Kolata, ...more
Modern Hermeneut
Feb 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
With the recent profusion of Best American collections, the series is at risk of becoming diluted. To make matters worse, there are now separate collections for "Science and Nature Writing" and "Science Writing" (even though the former includes essays that are NOT nature-related, and the latter includes essays that ARE). Is there enough quality American writing to go around?

Apparently, yes. But the New Yorker is definitely carrying the load -- no less than seven pieces in this collection come fr
...more
Sam
Dec 11, 2007 rated it liked it
You can't beat good science writing, and in case you fell behind on your Times, Times Magazine, and New Yorker reading--almost every piece in this volume originally appeared in one of those--this is a good way to catch up. It's a pretty good survey of the most important scientific and medical fronteirs: genomics, neuroscience, and particle physics; but it also, as was the editor's stated intention, humanizes science by focusing on the personalities involved. We get quirky mathematicians, loner p ...more
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Kolata graduated from the University of Maryland and studied molecular biology at the graduate level at MIT for a year and a half. Then she returned to the University of Maryland and obtained a master’s degree in applied mathematics. Kolata has taught writing as a visiting professor at Princeton University and frequently gives lectures across the country. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey, with h ...more
More about Gina Kolata...

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