What we’re about
This is a popular-science book club where we meet monthly to discuss a non-fiction science book. We normally meet at 7PM on the last Wednesday of the month, at the Bowie Branch Library, but meetings will also be accessible online for the foreseeable future. Members aren't obliged to attend every meeting; you can choose to read only those books that appeal to you.
Some books we've already read include:
- "Rabid: A Cultural History of the World's Most Diabolical Virus", by Bill Wasik and Monica Murphy.
Mary Roach's "Packing For Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void"
"A Universe From Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing", by Lawrence M. Krauss.
Deborah Blum's "The Poisoner's Handbook"
Sam Kean's "The Disappearing Spoon"
You can view a complete historical list of the books we've read in the club.
Upcoming events (4)See all
- Movie Discussion: Ancient Earth: FrozenLink visible for attendees
We'll discuss this movie about a period of time 700 years ago when Earth was a giant snowball cloaked in ice from pole to pole. There was a global deep freeze that held the planet in a stranglehold and threatened the survival of the earliest complex life. How did life manage to survive in this forbidding world? Leading scientists investigate how this catastrophe may have become a catalyst for life to evolve in creative new ways as it bounced back from the brink – setting the stage for the astonishing complexity we see today.
The full movie can be found at two alternative sites:
The film is one hour long. Please watch it before the meeting.
There's a second (optional) interesting movie for those of us eager to watch more about Earth's history. I plan to see this one also, and I hope others will too. If there's time, we'll discuss both. Here's what this second movie is about:
Title: 4.5 Billion Years in 1 Hour
Learn more about how complex life evolved with our new, elaborately detailed Timeline of Evolution Poster.
The full movie can be found at:
and is one hour long. We're assuming that those who are interested in the topic will watch it before the meeting.
- Online: Science Book Sampler discussionLink visible for attendees
Let's hold another book sampling session -- bring stuff you've read and can recommend!
Zoom meeting link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86192814968?pwd=NkRvd1FzWnY0eVVBZG5FMjNueG5sdz09
For our Book Sampling, think of 1-3 science-related books you've read that might be of interest to the group. We'll go around the group, and each person will present a book at a time: why would we enjoy it? Why did you like it? That will probably spark everyone else's memories of related titles, so we might chat about them for a while. Everyone will hopefully come away from the meeting with a bunch of new titles on our reading lists.
- Books should be at least science- or medicine-adjacent. You decide what that means to you.
- Books can be fiction or non-fiction, even though we've never read a fiction title in the club.
- Books can date from any year, even though the club usually sticks to books written in the last decade.
- You don't need to have read the book recently; it can be your favorite book from childhood, something you read in college, or a new book.
- Don't present your own writing; this is for books you've read!
- It's OK if you don't have any books to present and just want to sit in the audience.
Our 2024 Book Selection meeting will follow immediately afterwards. You don't have to attend both events; feel free to show up at 8pm Eastern for the selection discussion!
- Online: 2024 Book SelectionLink visible for attendees
In this meeting we'll look at our list of suggested books, discuss them and add new titles, and assemble our 2024 list of books. The link for the Zoom meeting is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86192814968?pwd=NkRvd1FzWnY0eVVBZG5FMjNueG5sdz09 .
A starting list for discussion will be in our book-selection Google Document at
You can add your suggestions to the Google Doc, but please point them out at the meeting. Or you can email suggestions to email@example.com, and I can add them and
- An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us, Ed YongPanera Bread , Bowie, MD
Publisher's summary: The Earth teems with sights and textures, sounds and vibrations, smells and tastes, electric and magnetic fields. But every kind of animal, including humans, is enclosed within its own unique sensory bubble, perceiving but a tiny sliver of our immense world.
In An Immense World, Ed Yong coaxes us beyond the confines of our own senses, allowing us to perceive the skeins of scent, waves of electromagnetism, and pulses of pressure that surround us. We encounter beetles that are drawn to fires, turtles that can track the Earth’s magnetic fields, fish that fill rivers with electrical messages, and even humans who wield sonar like bats. We discover that a crocodile’s scaly face is as sensitive as a lover’s fingertips, that the eyes of a giant squid evolved to see sparkling whales, that plants thrum with the inaudible songs of courting bugs, and that even simple scallops have complex vision. We learn what bees see in flowers, what songbirds hear in their tunes, and what dogs smell on the street. We listen to stories of pivotal discoveries in the field, while looking ahead at the many mysteries that remain unsolved.