Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lane Anderson Prize

The Globe and Mail and Quill and Quire have articles announcing the first Lane Anderson Prize for Canadian science writing. Directors Hollister Doll and Sharon Fitzhenry say,

“We want to honour the very best science writing in Canada today, both in the adult and young reading categories,” they said in a joint statement. “Each award will be determined on the relevance of its content to the importance of science in today’s world, and the author’s ability to connect the topic to the interests of the general trade reader.”

There will be two prizes of $10,000 each for both adult and youth material.

We'll look forward to seeing what books make the shortlist in August.

In the meantime, some recently published science writing for your enjoyment.

Our Days Are Numbered: How Mathematics Orders Our Lives by Jason I. Brown - "A revealing and entertaining look at the world, as viewed through mathematical eyeglasses. From the moment our feet touch the floor in the morning until our head hits the pillow, numbers are everywhere. And yet most of us go through each day unaware of the mathematics that shapes our lives. In fact, many people go through life fearing and avoiding mathematics, making choices that keep it at arm’s length or further. Even basic math — like arithmetic — can seem baffling. In Our Days Are Numbered, Jason Brown leads the reader through a typical day, on a fascinating journey. He shows us the world through a mathematician's eyes and reveals the huge role that mathematics plays in our lives. It lies hidden within the electronics we use, the banking we do, and even the leisure activities we enjoy. Whether we’re putting a down payment on a new car, reading the financial pages, or listening to our favourite songs, math is behind it all. At once entertaining and informative,Our Days Are Numbered covers an array of mathematical concepts and explores the hidden links between mathematics and everyday life. Brown reveals that a basic understanding of math can make us more creative in the way we approach the world." - catalogue

You Are Here: A Portable History of the Universe by Christopher Potter - "You Are Here is a dazzling exploration of the universe and our relationship to it, as seen through the lens of today's most cutting-edge scientific thinking. Christopher Potter brilliantly parses the meaning of what we call the universe. He tells the story of how something evolved from nothing and how something became everything. What does a material description of everything and nothing look like? What is it that science does when it describes a reality that is made out of something? In between nothing and everything is where we live." - publisher

Nasty Brutish and Short: The Quirks and Quarks Guide to Animal Sex and Other Weird Behavior by Pat Senson - "Birds do it, and bees do it, so do all animals, some of them in weird and wonderful ways. Quirks & Quarks' latest book explores the more bizarre behaviours of more than 100 creatures, from barnacles to Panda bears. The tiny spider that has to tear off one of its two huge sex organs just to be able to get around; the sea slug that produces a powerful love drug and mates with both males and females; the bedbug that stabs its penis into the female's abdomen — the range of animal sexual practices is mind-boggling. And it's not only reproduction that has them doing very strange things. There's a beetle that shoots a stream of boiling hot, toxic liquid when it's threatened; a lizard that can run on water; a shrimp that explodes its prey. And who knew that Pandas engage in pissing contests? Quirks & Quarks' latest guide is much more than a catalogue of peculiar practices, it's an engrossing look at the astonishing behaviours different animals have evolved in order to survive and reproduce." - catalogue

Grizzlyville: Adventures in Bear Country by Jake MacDonald - "Jake MacDonald had his first experience with bears when, as a 20-year-old travelling through the wilderness of British Columbia, he lay awake in his tent at night, simultaneously eager and terrified at the prospect of encountering a grizzly. Although he saw no bears on that trip, he has seen plenty since. Part memoir, part natural history, Grizzlyville is MacDonald’s fascinating meditation on North America’s largest predators and on the people who deal with them, sometimes on a daily basis. " - publisher

The Incomparable Honeybee and the Economics of Pollination by Reese Halter - "From Dr Reese Halter comes a remarkable, concise account of the honeybees that have profoundly shaped our planet for the past 110 million years. They are the most important group of flower-visiting animals, pollinating more multi-billion-dollar crops and plants than any other living group. Since prehistoric times humans and honeybees have been inextricably linked. This book is rich with interesting and humbling facts: bees can count, they can vote, and honey has potent medicinal properties, able to work as an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antioxidant, even an antiseptic. The fate of the bees, whose numbers have been beleaguered most recently by colony collapse disorder, lies firmly in the hands of humankind. As such, it is our job to ensure their health, protect the habitats within which they live and communicate to others the vital link that human society shares with the remarkable honeybee." - publisher

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