These are our favorite science books of 2022

Books on the pandemic. Books about the ancient past. Space books. These are some of Scientific news staff favorite reads. If your favorite was not selected this year, let us know what we missed at [email protected]

Obscure Vagina
Rachel E. Gross
WW Norton & Co.

For centuries, scientists (mostly male) have ignored female biology and women’s health has suffered. But researchers are finally paying attention, as Gross explains in this fascinating tour of what we know little about female anatomy (SN: 09/04/22, p. 29).

cell song
Siddhartha Mukherjee

Patient stories and conversations with scientific luminaries enliven this history of the past, present and future of cell biologyand how advances in the field have reshaped medicine (SN: 11/5/22, p. 28).

David Quamman
Simon & Schuster

In this portrait of the coronavirus and the scientists who study it, Quammen investigates some of the the most pressing questions about the pandemicincluding whether or not the coronavirus could have accidentally escaped from a lab (SN: 9/24/22, p. 28).

Joseph Osmundson
WW Norton & Co.

This extensive collection of essays is a meditation on society’s complicated relationship with viruses. Reflecting on SARS-CoV-2, HIV and more, Osmundson calls for more equitable access to medical care (SN: 07/16/22 and 07/30/22, p. 36).

The Milky Way
Moiya Mc Tier
Grand Central Editions

This captivating “autobiography” written from the perspective of the Milky Way (a very sassy Milky Way), draws inspiration from mythology and astronomy to persuade readers that our galaxy deserves respect and admiration (SN: 9/10/22, p. 28).

Portrait of the scientist as a young woman
Lindy Elkins Tanton
William Morrow

In this moving memoir, Elkins-Tanton recounts his journey to becoming a planetary scientist and leader of a NASA asteroid mission. Her struggles with childhood trauma and sexism in her career have laid bare the barriers that many female scientists still face (SN: 8/13/22, p. 26).

A huge world
Ed Yong
random house

Much of the world escapes human perception, but this safari through animal senses helps readers imagine what we are missing (SN: 07/16/22 and 07/30/22, p. 36).

How far does the light go
Sabrina Imbler
Petit, Brown and Co.

Drawing parallels between their own lives and the stories of bobbit worms, octopuses, sperm whales and other deep-sea dwellers, Imbler reflects on such important themes as adaptation, survival and sexuality.

The last days of the dinosaurs
Riley Black
Saint Martin Press

The basic story of the fall of the non-bird dinosaurs is familiar: they were killed by an asteroid that slammed into Earth 66 million years ago. Using the latest science, Black fleshes out this narrative, painting a vivid portrait of life before and after this apocalypse (SN: 04/23/22, p. 28).

The Rise and Kingdom of Mammals
Steve Brusatte
sailor’s books

The perfect sequel to Black’s book about the end of the dinosaur age is this one full story of how the age of mammals began. Brusatte traces the origins of the evolutionary innovations that made mammals successful (SN: 6/18/22, p. 28).

Jennifer Raff

Exactly how and when humans first arrived in the Americas is still an unstable science. But Raff is gathering archaeological and genetic evidence to piece together a compelling storyline. She also points to past mistreatment of Indigenous communities by geneticists and calls on researchers to do better and foster more collaborations (SN: 02/12/22, p. 29).

Bethany Brookshire

The so-called parasites are a human invention, claims Brookshire, a former editor of Science News for Students (now Science News Explores). Coming face to face with rats, wildcats, pythons and even elephants, Brookshire unravels the various social factors that lead people to view certain animals as a nuisance (SN: 12/03/22, p. 26).

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