Science Books – 2006 Aventis Prize

Not only am I a big fan of travel
books, I also read as many science books as I can get my eyes on. And this year was a particularly bountiful one for
science books. The 13 books list of popular science books
vying for the prestigious 2006 Aventis Prize has been announced, and it would behoove anyone who wants to know more
about the natural world, and perhaps the future of mankind, to give them a read.

I’m of the opinion that
travelers are very curious people, and that science can substantially inform travelers as they embark on trips around
the globe. You gain insights through books into cultures and anthropology as well as human nature.

great book this year for travelers was Collapse, by Jared
. What a better book to take with you as you head out to Mexico and the former kingdom of the Maya,
described in great detail in the book. Or to Easter Island, that distant speck of land where a great culture once
reigned, and then nearly vanished, leaving behind a silent army of massive stone heads.

For your reading
and curious pleasure, I post the list of nominees here:

Electric Universe – How
Electricity Switched on the Modern World
, by David Bodanis (Little Brown)

Collapse – How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive, by Jared Diamond (Penguin Allen

The Elements of Murder – A History of Poison, John Emsley
(Oxford University Press)

The Gecko’s Foot – Bio-inspiration –
Engineering New Materials from Nature
, by Peter Forbes (Fourth Estate)

The Silicon Eye – How a Silicon Valley Company Aims to Make All Current Computers, Cameras, and Cell
Phones Obsolete
, by George Gilder (WW Norton)

Parallel Worlds
– The Science of Alternative Universes and our Future in the Cosmos
, by Michio Kaku (Penguin)

Power, Sex, Suicide – Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life, by Nick
Lane (Oxford University Press)

Venomous Earth – How Arsenic Caused the
World’s Worst Mass Poisoning
, by Andrew Meharg (Macmillan)

Empire of the Stars – Friendship, Obsession and Betrayal in the Quest for Black Holes, by
Arthur I. Miller (Little Brown)

Seven Deadly Colours – The Genius of
Nature’s Palette and how it Eluded Darwin
, by Andrew Parker (Simon & Schuster)

The Truth About Hormones – What’s Going on when we’re Tetchy, Spotty, Fearful, Tearful or Just
Plain Awful
, by Vivienne Parry (Atlantic Books)

Stalking the
Riemann Hypothesis – The Quest to Find the Hidden Law of Prime Numbers
, by Dan Rockmore (Jonathan

The Fruits of War – How War and Conflict have Driven Science, by
Michael White (Simon & Schuster)