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The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004
edited by Steven Pinker
series edited by Tim Folger


"A smorgasbord of lively pieces . . . Recommended for intellectually omnivorous readers in this and all other universes." — Publishers Weekly

"Perhaps more than is usual in these collections, my choices are slanted toward human behavior, and their methods shade into the social sciences. In part this reflects my own focus on psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, and evolution. It may also show that human interest makes for the most compelling writing. But most of all, it reflects the fact that the study of the mind will be among the liveliest frontiers of science in the coming century." — Steven Pinker, from his Introduction


About the Book

Selected by the scientist and author Steven Pinker, The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2004 showcases the finest literary nonfiction writing on diverse scientific topics published in the past year.

Included in this fifth edition of the eclectic anthology:

  • Scott Atran on the psychology of suicide terrorism
  • Ron Rosenbaum on Sex Week at Yale
  • Peggy Orenstein on the trends of naming babies
  • Jeffrey M. Friedman on the war on obesity
  • Jonathan Rauch on being an introvert
  • Horace Freeland Judson on the discovery of DNA
  • Meredith F. Small on the pleasures of primatology
  • Atul Gawande and Austin Brunn on amazing medical pioneers
The collection contains many other thought-provoking pieces, originally published in a wide range of periodicals, from The New Yorker to the Cape Codder, from Wired to Natural History.

About the Editors

Steven Pinker is the author of The Blank Slate, The Language Instinct, and How the Mind Works.

Tim Folger has been an editor and reporter at Discover and Science Digest.

Panel Event

Tuesday, November 16
Cambridge, MA

Steven Pinker
Atul Gawande
Chet Raymo
Daniel Dennett
Mike O'Connor

Sponsored by the Harvard Bookstore

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