Road to Renewable

A physicist plots a plausible course for an all-renewable energy supply, encountering an occasional headwind along the way.

Energy Revolution: The Physics and the Promise of Efficient Technology. Mara Prentiss. 352 pages. Belknap/Harvard University Press.

Strange Voyage

A distinguished science historian offers a personal compendium of what he finds most interesting about early modern science, with little attention to strict chronology.

Voyaging in Strange Seas: The Great Revolution in Science. David Knight. 334 pages. Yale University Press.

Dodging the Shark

Marshaling stories and studies, an expert advises us to stop worrying—to free our minds and conquer problems by approaching them from opposing angles.

It’s Not About the Shark: How to Solve Unsolvable Problems. David Niven. 240 pages. St. Martin’s Press.

Collision Course

An insider offers a ‘clear and engaging’ account of the Large Hadron Collider.

Large Hadron Collider: The Extraordinary Story of the Higgs Boson and Other Stuff That Will Blow Your Mind. Don Lincoln. 240 pages. Johns Hopkins University Press.

Making Room for Daddy

A writer surveys the research to find the deeper scientific meanings of fatherhood.

Do Fathers Matter? What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked. Paul Raeburn. 257 pages. Scientific American/Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Muscular Prose

Even if you’re not training to win the Boston Marathon, a running (and writing) biologist says that we all rely on the same fundamental mechanics and molecules to move.

The Hidden Mechanics of Exercise: Molecules That Move Us. Christopher M. Gillen. 352 pages. Belknap/Harvard University Press.

Reaching the Nearest Star, and Lighting Hogwarts Castle

Equations aside, a physicist presents an approachable and informal survey of science and technology according to contemporary science fiction and fantasy.

Wizards, Aliens, and Starships: Physics and Math in Fantasy and Science Fiction. Charles L. Adler. 378 pages. Princeton University Press.

Other-Worldly Dreams

A selective and copiously documented tour through the science, engineering and history of unmanned space flight.

Dreams of Other Worlds: The Amazing Story of Unmanned Space Exploration. Chris Impey and Holly Henry. 472 pages. Princeton University Press.

Hope for Things with Feathers

One state’s efforts to save birds of prey provides case studies for conservationists everywhere, in a small but richly illustrated package.

The Raptors of Iowa. Paintings by James F. Landenberger. Essays by Dean M. Roosa, Jon W. Stravers, Bruce Ehresman and Rich Patterson. 103 pages. University of Iowa Press.

Cogito Ergo and Then Some

Though reluctant to declare mind-body dualism defunct, professional mind-watchers’ views have come a long way since Descartes’—sort of, two new books suggest.

Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain. Patricia Churchland. 304 pages. W. W. Norton.

A Very Short Tour of the Mind: 21 Short Walks Around the Human Brain. Michael Corballis. 106 pages. Overlook Press.