All the Carl Sagan fans out there, this one is for you. And for those who aren’t, check out Cosmos on Netflix and you’ll know what I mean. Created by the same man who gave us the brilliant Family Guy, it recreates the classic Sagan series using the trippiest in technology, all presented by the awesome Neil Tyson.
It isn’t very often that one comes across science in an easily understandable format, least of all in literature. Yet, there have been pure gems like Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything and James Gleick’s Chaos that have gotten many of us interested in the mechanics of the world.
Such gems exist in India too, just that you might not come across those on the next nukkad shop alongside the brain-damaging Chetan Bhagats.
Read on to find super-interesting reads that give a deeper insight into the world of science without requiring you to wade through traumatising degrees in boring colleges.
1. Indica: A Deep Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent
By Pranay Lal
This is a gorgeous, most unusual book that contains an account of India’s natural history in the simplest terms. Amongst much else, here you will meet Rajasaurus (our own T-Rex!), discover lava floods that resulted in Ellora caves and find out, once and for all, why Bangalore has such cool weather besides a hundred other facts we couldn’t have imagined. Read an excerpt here, or buy here.
2. The Gene
By Siddhartha Mukherjee
A most intriguing man, Mukherjee has won many readers’ hearts with his amazing storytelling skills, even (and more importantly) for subjects as serious as cancer.
The Gene is a biography of the very genetic code that all life is based on, woven with a personal narrative that reveals more about the writer than any of his previous works. Buy here.
3. Fermat’s Last Theorem
By Simon Singh
The world of scientists is far more dramatic than what we as laymen might give them credit for. And this becomes clearest in UK-based Indian writer Simon Singh’s classic—tracing one mathematician’s quest to prove a theorem that had been troubling everyone for 350 years. We promise a page-turner. Buy a copy here.
4. Science and the Indian Tradition: When Einstein Met Tagore
By David L Gosling
This may sound a bit too academic, but is actually a fascinating read considering how much of the archaic Indian thought process still resists science as we know it. The book takes us to the time when the country first encountered Western science and, frankly, was a bit unsure of what to make of it. Buy here.
5. Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality
By Manjit Kumar
Here’s another one that tells us more about the world of scientists. Kumar’s book is considered one of the best works on the entire story of quantum physics and all the characters who were involved in supporting or refuting this theory that defines modern-day physics. Buy it here.
Mineli Goswami is a 24-year-old Assamese-East Indian, which usually translates into pretty good weekend feasts. When she’s not at her desk struggling with poetry – more often than she’d like – she’s seen wasting time on an assortment of things such as lugging an antique SLR, breaking nails climbing boulders, and chasing turtles. She’s graduated in history and has an unofficial PhD in Bandra-style jiving.