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 Laws of Medicine
Field Notes from an Uncertain Science
Siddhartha Mukherjee
Essential, required reading for doctors and patients alike: A Pulitzer Prize-winning author and one of the world's premiere cancer researchers reveals an urgent philosophy on the little-known principles that govern medicine—and how understanding these principles can empower us all.
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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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Big Science
Ernest Lawrence and the Invention That Launched the Military-Industrial Complex
Michael Hiltzik
The epic story of how science went "big" and the forgotten genius who started it all—“entertaining, thoroughly researched…partly a biography, partly an account of the influence of Ernest Lawrence's great idea, partly a short history of nuclear physics and the Bomb” (The Wall Street Journal).
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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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The Earth Wants YOU
Reverend Billy Talen
A motivational handbook for earth activists, filled with inspired visions of a wild, creative, Earth-led cultural revolution. Stop shopping and sign up now for the struggle of our lives! Earthalujah!
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Farm City
The Education of an Urban Farmer
Novella Carpenter
An hilarious and inspiring account of one woman's attempt to feed herself entirely off of what could be grown on an abandoned lot in West Oakland—including turkeys, rabbits, and one Chez Panisse gobbling pig. —Recommended by Ivy, City Lights Books
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The Grand Design
Stephen Hawking
When and how did the universe begin? Why are we here? What is the nature of reality? Is the apparent "grand design" of our universe evidence of a benevolent creator who set things in motion—or does science offer another explanation?
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H Is for Hawk
Helen Macdonald
The instant New York Times bestseller and award-winning sensation, Helen Macdonald's story of adopting and raising one of nature's most vicious predators has soared into the hearts of millions of readers worldwide. Fierce and feral, her goshawk Mabel's temperament mirrors Helen's own state of grief after her father's death, and together raptor...
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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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The Jazz of Physics
The Secret Link Between Music and the Structure of the Universe
Stephon Alexander
More than fifty years ago, John Coltrane drew the twelve musical notes in a circle and connected them by straight lines, forming a five-pointed star. Inspired by Einstein, Coltrane had put physics and geometry at the core of his music. Physicist and jazz musician Stephon Alexander returns the favor, using jazz to answer physics' most vexing...
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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.
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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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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 Selfish Gene
30th Anniversary Edition
Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins' brilliant reformulation of the theory of natural selection has the rare distinction of having provoked as much excitement and interest outside the scientific community as within it. His theories have helped change the whole nature of...

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