Book Recommendations After a Day at the World Science Festival

I attended the World Science Festival event Science & Story: Cutting-Edge Discovery for a Literary Public on Saturday, June 1. The program was moderated by journalist, author, and four-time Emmy award winner John Hockenberry. The three panelists were acclaimed science authors Lone Frank, James Gleick, and Brian Greene. The fascinating and entertaining discussion focused on their experiences writing about esoteric scientific subjects in a compelling way that appeals to a broad audience of readers.


At the end of the ninety-minute program, Hockenberry announced the 12 books on the Longlist for the 2013 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books. Six of these 2012 titles are new in the stacks at Brooklyn College Library. Click on the title links below for the online catalog record to check current availability. The quotes that follow each title below are from the The Royal Society judges.

Life_of_a_LeafThe Life of a Leaf  by Steven Vogel.
Exciting and visually engaging. Takes you back to what it is like to be a child looking at the world of plants.”


spark_of_lifeThe Spark of Life: Electricity in the Human Body  by Frances Ashcroft.
“Beautifully clear, engaging and accessible. A live wire account of the body electric.”


Bird_SenseBird Sense: What it’s Like to be a Bird  by Tim Birkhead.
“A wonderful glimpse into an alien world. Imagine how birds hear, taste and feel.”


Ocean_of_LifeThe Ocean of Life: The Fate of Man and the Sea  by Callum Roberts.
“A celebration and a wake-up call. The changing state of our oceans has never been made clearer.”


ParticleThe Particle at the End of the Universe: How the Hunt for the Higgs Boson Leads us to the Edge of the New World  by Sean Carroll.
“Fizzing with enthusiasm. Makes you realize what the fuss with the Higgs Boson is all about.”


story_of_earthThe Story of Earth: the First 4.5 Billion Years: from Stardust to Planet  by Robert Hazen.
“Brilliantly explains the origin of earth and life. Skilfully compressed into a punchy text.”


After the Science & Story event, I had a break for a few hours before attending another World Science Festival event.  My friend Yasser was participating in the nearby event Science Hack Day NYC, that was launched by his former graduate program, New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP).  He took a break to say hello.


A few days later, the World Science Festival announced the list of winners for the Science Hack Day NYC event. Congratulations to Yasser for winning the design category! “Citizen science data validation was the theme of a team-up led by Yasser Ansari, who combined his own citizen science initiative, Project Noah, with a platform for crowdsourced analysis of citizen science called Crowdcrafting, whose lead developer, Daniel Lombraña González, was also at the event.”

Citizen Science is public participation in organized scientific research. While this topic is worthy of much more attention, for now I will point interested readers to the blog CitizenSci from the Public Library of Science (PLOS), and to this recently published book:

Citizen Science: Public Participation in Environmental Research
 edited by Janis L. Dickinson and Rick Bonney.


The last World Science Festival event of the day was The Rap Guide to Evolution.  Fronted by Canadian rap artist Baba Brinkman, the performance was “an unusual exposition of Charles Darwin’s theories, navigating natural selection, sexual selection and the evolutionary roots of human behavior, all in the setting of the world’s first peer-reviewed hip-hop show.”

While many books have been published on Charles Darwin, evolution, and natural selection, the latest work by Rebecca Stott examines the mavericks, innovators, and heretics from the history of science in the centuries leading up to Darwin’s landmark publications.

Darwin’s Ghosts: The Secret History of Evolution
  by Rebecca Stott.


If you have any problems finding the books mentioned in this blog, or need help using or finding other resources at the Brooklyn College Library, please Ask a Librarian!

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APA Handbooks in Psychology


Brooklyn College researchers now have online access to a series of Handbooks from the American Psychology Association (APA).  These can be found in the Discipline Specific Databases section and the Books & Ebooks section of the Brooklyn College Library Psychology Subject Guide.  Handbook titles include:

  • APA Addiction Syndrome Handbook
  • APA Educational Psychology Handbook
  • APA Handbook of Behavior Analysis
  • APA Handbook of Counseling Psychology
  • APA Handbook of Ethics in Psychology
  • APA Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • APA Handbook of Psychology, Religion, and Personality
  • APA Handbook of Research Methods in Psychology
  • APA Handbook of Testing and Assessment in Psychology
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Routledge Behavioral Science Journals


Taylor & Francis is offering free online access to its line of Routledge Behavioral Science journal titles for the month of February.  Approximately 250 titles are available from a variety of subject areas, including Mental Health, Social Psychology, Psychotherapy and Counseling, Developmental Psychology, Work and Organizational Psychology, plus many more.

Click here to start browsing all Routledge Behavioral Science Journals!

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Brooklyn College Library has a 6 month trial of the American Psychological Association’s PsycEXTRA and PsycCRITIQUES databases.  These resources can be accessed under the Discipline-Specific Databases section of the Psychology Subject Guide.

PsycEXTRA is a unique database that combines bibliographic records with full-text professional and lay-audience literature such as legal testimony and amicus briefs, reports, conference materials, popular magazines, factsheets, grants, and web materials. It is the premier resource for information and data for cutting-edge research and practice in the behavioral and social sciences and an archive of gray literature documenting psychology’s development.

PsycCRITIQUES is a full-text database with tens of thousands of incisive book and film reviews from 1956 to present. It provides users with insight on publications from a psychological perspective allowing them to choose relevant reading material, to select appropriate course materials, and more.

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Since I started working at a library reference desk a number of years ago as a graduate assistant, I’ve heard students use the terms PubMed and MEDLINE interchangeably when looking for a starting point for biomedical and health related research. Online descriptions of these resources use many acronyms to further confound matters. When you type into a browser’s address bar, it redirects you to the site’s home at where you can see those same acronyms in the new URL address. Throw in searching using MeSH vocabulary and related sites like PubMed Central and MedlinePlus, and it is understandable how a new researcher could feel overwhelmed by all of these terms and acronyms.

PubMed is a free resource for health information that is developed and maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), at the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), located at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

PubMed provides access to:

  • MEDLINE- A bibliographic database of information on articles from academic journals covering the fields of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, dentistry, veterinary medicine, and health care. MEDLINE also covers other science areas that are important to biomedical practitioners, researchers, and educators, including some aspects of biology, environmental science, marine biology, plant and animal science as well as biophysics and chemistry. Coverage is roughly 1950 to present.
  • Older references from the print version of Index Medicus back from 1951 and earlier.
  • References for some journals like Science and Annals of Surgery from years prior to Index Medicus and MEDLINE’s coverage.
  • A collection of full-text books
  • Links to some full-text articles that are freely available, often in PubMed Central, a free full-text archive of biomedical and life sciences journal literature.

MedlinePlus is the NIH’s web site for patients and their families and friends. Produced by the NLM, it provides information about diseases, conditions, and wellness issues in language that is easy to understand. MedlinePlus offers reliable, up-to-date health information for free.

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