Natural & Physical Sciences

Books in this online selection represent only a sliver of what we offer in the store. If you've got a particular book in mind and want to check on its availability, call us at 415-362-8193.

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The Meaning of Human Existence
Edward O. Wilson
National Book Award Finalist. How did humanity originate and why does a species like ours exist on this planet? Do we have a special place, even a destiny in the universe? Where are we going, and perhaps, the most difficult question of all, "Why?"
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Voices from Chernobyl
The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster
Svetlana Alexievich
On April 26, 1986, the worst nuclear reactor accident in history occurred in Chernobyl and contaminated as much as three quarters of Europe. Voices from Chernobyl is the first book to present personal accounts of the tragedy. Journalist Svetlana Alexievich interviewed hundreds of people affected by the meltdown.
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Learning to Die in the Anthropocene
Reflections on the End of a Civilization
Roy Scranton
An Iraq War vet's bracing, visionary response to the challenge posed by global warming and his hope in the humanities. 19 city tour!
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H Is For Hawk
Helen Macdonald
When Helen Macdonald's father died suddenly on a London street, she was devastated. An experienced falconer—Helen had been captivated by hawks since childhood—she'd never before been tempted to train one of the most vicious predators, the goshawk. But in her grief, she saw that the goshawk's fierce and feral temperament mirrored her own.
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How the Hippies Saved Physics
Science, Counterculture, and the Quantum Revival
David Kaiser
A lively, entertaining story that illuminates the relationship between creativity and scientific progress, How the Hippies Saved Physics takes us to a time when only the unlikeliest heroes could break the science world out of its rut.
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The Natural Navigator
The Rediscovered Art of Letting Nature Be Your Guide
Tristan Gooley
Recommended by Paul, City Lights Books. Before GPS, before the compass, and even before cartography, humankind was navigating. A windswept tree, the depth of a puddle, or a trill of birdsong could point the way home—and, for the alert traveler...
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In the Sierra
Mountain Writings
Kenneth Rexroth, Kim Stanley Robinson
Nature writings by one of America's greatest poets, written out of a deep experience of the Sierras. Over the course of his life, Kenneth Rexroth wrote about the Sierra Nevada better than anyone. Progressive in terms of environmental ethics and...
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Sex at Dawn
How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships
Christopher Ryan, Cacilda Jetha
In this controversial, thought-provoking, and brilliant book, renegade thinkers Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha debunk almost everything we "know" about sex, weaving together convergent, frequently overlooked evidence from anthropology...
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The Poisoner's Handbook
Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York
Deborah Blum
Fascinating and entertaining, tinged with both humor and horror, this account of the early years of forensic medicine in New York City is near unputdownable. We follow the city's Medical Examiner and head toxicologist as they develop the techniques for...
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The Four Classical Liberal Arts of Number, Geometry, Music, & Cosmology
Anthony Ashton, Miranda Lundy, John Martineau,Dr. Jason Martineau, Daud Sutton
The quadrivium—the classical curriculum—comprises the four liberal arts of number, geometry, music, and cosmology. It was studied from antiquity to the Renaissance as a way of glimpsing the nature of reality. Geometry is number in space; music is...
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A Place of My Own
The Architecture of Daydreams
Michael Pollan
Michael Pollan’s unmatched ability to draw lines of connection between our everyday experiences— whether eating, gardening, or building—and the natural world has been the basis for the popular success of his many works of nonfiction, including the...
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I Am a Strange Loop
Douglas R. Hofstadter
Can thought arise out of matter? Can self, soul, consciousness, “I” arise out of mere matter? If it cannot, then how can you or I be here? I Am a Strange Loop argues that the key to understanding selves and consciousness is the “strange loop”—a...
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A Brief History of Time
Stephen Hawking
A Brief History of Time, published in 1988, was a landmark volume in science writing and in world-wide acclaim and popularity, with more than 9 million copies in print globally.
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Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!
Richard P. Feynman, Ralph Leighton
The outrageous exploits of one of this century's greatest scientific minds and a legendary American original. In this phenomenal national bestseller, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard P. Feynman recounts in his inimitable voice his adventures...