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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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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Complexity
A Guided Tour
Melanie Mitchell
What enables individually simple insects like ants to act with such precision and purpose as a group? How do trillions of neurons produce something as extraordinarily complex as consciousness? In this remarkably clear and companionable book, leading...
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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 Disappearing Spoon
And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements
Sam Kean
Why did Gandhi hate iodine (I, 53)? How did radium (Ra, 88) nearly ruin Marie Curie's reputation? And why is gallium (Ga, 31) the go-to element for laboratory pranksters?* The Periodic Table is a crowning scientific achievement, but it's also a...
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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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Farm City
The Education of an Urban Farmer
Novella Carpenter
"By turns edgy, moving, and hilarious." -Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food An unforgettably charming memoir, Farm City is full of hilarious moments, fascinating farmer's tips, and a great deal of heart. When...
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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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The Omnivore's Dilemma
A Natural History of Four Meals
Michael Pollan
A New York Times bestseller that has changed the way readers view the ecology of eating, this revolutionary book by award winner Michael Pollan asks the seemingly simple question: What should we have for dinner? Tracing from source to table each of...
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QED
The Strange Theory of Light and Matter
Richard P. Feynman
Celebrated for his brilliantly quirky insights into the physical world, Nobel laureate Richard Feynman also possessed an extraordinary talent for explaining difficult concepts to the general public. Here Feynman provides a classic and definitive...
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The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
A Love Story . . . with Wings
Mark Bittner
Like a lot of young people in the 1970s, Mark Bittner took the path of the “dharma bum.” When the counterculture faded, Mark held on, seeking shelter in the nooks and crannies of San Francisco’s fabled bohemian neighborhood, North...
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Color
A Natural History of the Palette
Victoria Finlay
Discover the tantalizing true stories behind your favorite colors. For example: Cleopatra used saffron—a source of the color yellow—for seduction. Extracted from an Afghan mine, the blue “ultramarine” paint used by Michelangelo...
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The Anthropology of Turquoise
Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky
Ellen Meloy
Greater than Silko, equal to Solnit. What an immense pleasure to hear the voice of this smart and witty desert dweller, and how restorative to know that human beings can be like this. Yes, there is some turquoise involved. —Recommended by Gent
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Silent Spring
Rachel Carson
First published by Houghton Mifflin in 1962, Silent Spring alerted a large audience to the environmental and human dangers of indiscriminate use of pesticides, spurring revolutionary changes in the laws affecting our air, land, and water. "Silent...
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Godel, Escher, Bach
An Eternal Golden Braid
Douglas R. Hofstadter
This groundbreaking Pulitzer Prize-winning book sets the standard for interdisciplinary writing, exploring the patterns and symbols in the thinking of mathematician Kurt Godel, artist M.C. Escher, and composer Johann Sebastian Bach.

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