These great publications not only inspired awe and wonder—they allowed us to better understand the machinations of the world in which we live

At its heart, science is about curiosity. So it stands to reason that a book about science should make you examine your world more closely, and in doing so, give you a sense of childhood wonder and whimsy. It should make you say, “Oh, wow.”

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But the best science and tech writing goes one step further. With delight and mystery—and sans unnecessary jargon and technical details—this genre can help us better understand some of the world’s most complex and abstract concepts, from gravitational waves (Gravity’s Kiss) to Darwinian evolution (The Evolution of Beauty) to antibiotic resistance (Big Chicken). Each of these remarkable tomes from 2017 does just that, shining a light on the hidden connections and invisible forces that shape the world around us. In doing so, they make our experience of that world that much richer.

Henry Sapiecha