The Best Biology Books, recommended by Sean B Carroll

What do molecules in a cell have in common with lions in the Serengeti? They all follow rules, says scientist and author Sean B Carroll. He chooses the best books on biology, from the death of the dodo to the discovery of DNA.

The best books on Immunology, recommended by John Rhodes

John Rhodes, immunologist and author of The End of Plagues and How to Make a Vaccine, selects five of the best books to help the layperson understand the human immune system in all its fiendish complexity—and explains why the discovery of a successful vaccine is only the initial breakthrough in the long and logistically challenging battle for disease eradication.

The best books on Evolution, recommended by Jerry Coyne

Evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne tells us why Darwin is still essential reading and sifts the vast amount of more recent writing on evolution for books that are both inspiring to scientists and accessible to general readers. He picks the best books on evolution.

The best books on Viruses, recommended by Dorothy H. Crawford

Many of us have developed a new fascination for viruses and virology during the global COVID-19 crisis. Here, Dorothy Crawford, professor of medical microbiology and the author of Viruses: A Very Short Introduction, selects five of the best books on viruses for the general reader.

The best books on Ocean Life, recommended by Helen Scales

We plunder the ocean for food, dump our waste in it, respect its wildlife less than land-based creatures. Why? Is it a case of “out of sight, out of mind”? Marine biologist Helen Scales tells us what’s down there and what we’re doing to it.

The best books on Cultural Evolution, recommended by Joe Henrich

What role did culture play in human evolution? Why did human brains get so big so quickly? When and why did inequality first emerge in human society? Harvard professor and author Joe Henrich picks some of the best books for understanding ‘cultural evolution.’

The best books on Honeybees, recommended by Helen Jukes

Humanity has a long history of keeping bees. But what do we really know about them? Beekeeping memoirist Helen Jukes selects five books that examine both the behaviour of bees as individuals and colonies as ‘superorganisms.’

The best books on Bugs, recommended by May Berenbaum

Insects outnumber us, outweigh us, and without them ecosystems would collapse. In short, we live on their planet. The entomologist explains why we should value bugs more – even, or especially, the carrion beetles and dung feeders

The best books on Eugenics, recommended by Philippa Levine

The term ‘eugenics’ elicits queasiness amongst those who associate it with the Nazis. But Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw and Margaret Sanger were among its many proponents in the interwar period. Why? Philippa Levine, professor of history at the University of Texas, explains.