Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

New books

Your guide to new books this month.

The Best Australian Science Writing 2013

Jane McCredie and Natasha Mitchell (Eds), New South, $39.99

The Best Australian Science Writing series this year combines entries in the Bragg New South Science Writing Prize and the work of prominent figures such as Peter Doherty and Tim Flannery. From Becky Crew’s mock diary of a deep sea angler fish to Clive Hamilton’s indictment of those who think we can fix the climate by reshaping the planet, the 2013 edition spans the breadth of science, from the humorous to the deeply serious.

What a Wonderful World

Marcus Chown, Allen & Unwin, $27.99

Subtitled One Man’s Attempt to Explain the Big Stuff, What a Wonderful World explores the underlying science behind daily life. Computers, evolution and quantum theory are among the fields of knowledge covered by Chown, following on from his success with We Need To Talk About Kelvin.

Walking With Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie (Series)

Various authors, Pan Macmillan, $5.99–$12.99

Few things have done as much to build interest in science as the current enthusiasm for dinosaurs. The Walking with Dinosaurs documentaries have branched out to become a big screen 3D film that ha been extended to several books, including Dinopedia, an encyclopaedia of dinosaurs, a book of reusable stickers and a handbook mixing fact and fiction. These books are designed as Christmas presents for the budding dinosaur fan, but make stars of the palaeontologists as well as the beasts themselves.

Toxin Toxout: Getting Harmful Chemicals out of Our Bodies and Our World

Bruce Lourie/Rick Smith, University of Queensland Press, $29.95

In a world worried by the increasing array of chemicals we encounter there are plenty of people happy to offer “detoxes” for a fee. The reliability of what is on offer is a different matter. Here the authors of Slow Death by Rubber Duck engage in a series of experiments on themselves to see what actually reduces the chemicals in our bodies

The Explainer

The Conversation, CSIRO, $19.95

While this book purports to be written by a website, it is actually a collection of 100 articles written on The Conversation where university academics and CSIRO researchers discuss their work. Issues tackled include common medical myths, basic scientific knowledge (eg “what is a gene?”) and the latest breakthroughs in areas such as the Higgs boson and the storage of electricity.