Biology

The NASW bookstore sells books, music, video, software, and other merchandise via Amazon.com. Every purchase you make on Amazon can support NASW programs and services: Just go to https://www.nasw.org/amazon when you start your shopping. Books featured below were written by NASW members or reviewed in ScienceWriters magazine. Appearance here does not indicate endorsement.

The Kitchen Pantry Scientist—Biology for Kids

Liz Heinecke

Kids can gain insight into neurons & neural networks by making pipe cleaner models. They can swab doorknobs & grow bacteria and fungi on agar plates. In The Kitchen Pantry Scientist: Biology for Kids, Liz Heinecke introduces young readers to 25 biologists & provides step-by-step photo-illustrated guides to home experiments based on each biologist’s work plus facts on the biology behind the fun.

How Genius Ignites, from Child Prodigies to Late Bloomers

Claudia Kalb Spark

Picasso’s fractured faces defined the cubist movement. His mismatched eyes, elevated ears, and sideways lips force us to see ourselves and our world anew, Claudia Kalb says. In Spark: How Genius Ignites, from Child Prodigies to Late Bloomers, Kalb profiles 13 high achievers, exploring the nature/nurture debate and role of intelligence, creativity, perseverance, and, yes, luck in their success.

Beloved Beasts—Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction

Michelle Nijhuis

Over the last 500 years, our planet has lost at least 755 animal species and 123 plant species, Michelle Nijhuis reports in Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction. Humans continue to kill species and destroy habitats, while climate change amplifies these threats. Growing worldwide conservation efforts, she says, have averted extinction of many species and aim to save more.

Life's Edge—The Search for What It Means to Be Alive

Carl Zimmer

The SARS-CoV-2 virus has used humans to make quadrillions of copies of itself. It also mutates. But is it alive? Many virologists say no: viruses get their sustenance only inside their host species’ cells. What is life anyway? In "Life’s Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive," Carl Zimmer explores efforts by physicians, scientists, philosophers, & historians to answer this timeless question.

Phallacy — Life Lessons from the Animal Penis

Emily Willingham

The notion that the penis is the throbbing obelisk of all masculinity is a fallacy, Emily Willingham asserts in Phallacy: Life Lessons from the Animal Penis. Willingham, a PhD in biological sciences who writes and teaches about how gonads and penises develop and work, provides an entertaining survey of flabby studies with a patriarchal perspective, supporting her conclusions with hard science.

The Cheating Cell

Athena Aktipis

Cancer cells act in the body like bad roommates, Athena Aktipis writes in The Cheating Cell: How Evolution Helps Us Understand and Treat Cancer. They stop cooperating, over-use resources, and invade every space in the house. Cancer is the literal embodiment of evolution, Aktipis says. We can’t win a war against a process of evolution, she says, but altering it may make cancer easier to tolerate.

The Wildlife Confessional

The Wildlife Society Western Section

In The Wildlife Confessional—Kick It in the Ice Hole and Other Stories, NASW member and wildlife biologist Matthew Bettelheim and the late writer/wildlife biologist Thomas Roberts offer a multi-authored collection of tales and reflections on encounters with birds, bears, and more in diverse locales. Funds from book sales will help support student scholarships, grants, and training opportunities.

Rethinking Evolution

Gene Levinson

The classical concept of Darwinian natural selection does not encompass the varieties of new structures and functions that arise when separate entities interact in useful ways, Gene Levinson asserts in Rethinking Evolution: The Revolution That’s Hiding in Plain Sight. His updated evolutionary theory, he says, reflects recent discoveries in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology.

Beth Skwarecki

DNA makes us who we are. But how? In Genetics 101, Beth Skwarecki starts at the beginning. She aims to build lay readers’ understanding step-by-step, and moves from describing basic building blocks of cellular information to how traits are inherited to topics in the news, including how DNA ancestry services work, ethical quandaries posed by embryonic gene editing, and babies of the future.