Blinding Us With Science (and Medicine)!

Posted on August 30, 2018

by Amy H

Science writing is hitting a new high bar in fascinating storytelling.

Take a look at these great options:

The Strange Case of Dr. Couney: How a Mysterious European Showman Saved Thousands of American Babies” by Dawn Raffle

Raffel artfully recounts the extraordinary tale of how a mysterious immigrant “doctor” became the revolutionary innovator of saving premature babies–by placing them in incubators in World’s Fair side shows and on Coney Island and Atlantic City. Dr. Couney figured out he could use incubators and careful nursing to keep previously doomed infants alive, and at the same time make good money displaying these babies alongside sword swallowers, bearded ladies, and burlesque shows.

How this turn-of-the-twentieth-century émigré became the savior to families with premature infants, known then as “weaklings”–while ignoring the scorn of the medical establishment and fighting the climate of eugenics–is one of the most astounding stories of modern medicine. And as readers will find, Dr. Couney, for all his opportunistic entrepreneurial gusto, is a surprisingly appealing character, someone who genuinely cared for the well-being of his tiny patients, but who nonetheless had something to hide.

Patient Care: Death and Life in the Emergency Room” by Paul Seward

Drawing on a career launched in the first days of the specialty of emergency medicine, Dr. Paul Seward takes the reader with him into the ER in his riveting memoir. Told in fast-paced, stand-alone chapters that recall unforgettable medical cases, Seward offers the fascination of medical mysteries, wrapped in the drama of living and dying.

The Disordered Mind: What Unusual Brains Tell Us About Ourselves” by Eric Kandel

Kandel, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his foundational research into memory storage in the brain, draws on a lifetime of research and the work of other leading neuroscientists to take us on an unusual tour of the brain. He confronts one of the most difficult questions we face: How does our mind, our individual sense of self, emerge from the physical matter of the brain?

The brain’s 86 billion neurons communicate with one another through very precise connections. But sometimes those connections can become disordered, resulting in conditions such as autism, depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder. While these disruptions bring great suffering, they can also reveal the mysteries of thought, feeling, behavior, memory, and creativity, and the big question of how billions of neurons generate consciousness itself.

The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life” by David Quammen

Award-winning science writer David Quammen explains how recent discoveries in molecular biology can change our understanding of evolution and life’s history, with powerful implications for human health and even our own human nature, masterfully weaving various strands of a complex story into an intricate, beautiful, and gripping whole.

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World” by Steve Brusatte

“The Ultimate Dinosaur Biography,” hails “Scientific American.”

A sweeping and revelatory new history of the age of dinosaurs, from one of our finest young scientists. Sixty-six million years ago, the Earth’s most fearsome creatures vanished. Today they remain one of our planet’s great mysteries. An American Paleontologist reveals their 200-million-year-long story as never before. Also available in eBook and eAudiobook.

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