The Best American Series
The next edition in a series praised as “undeniably exquisite” (Maria Popova), The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2015 includes work from both award-winning writers and up-and-coming voices in the field. From Brooke Jarvis on deep-ocean mining to Elizabeth Kolbert on New Zealand’s unconventional conservation strategies, this is a group that celebrates the growing diversity in science and nature writing alike. Altogether, the writers honored in this year’s volume challenge us to consider the strains facing our planet and its many species, while never losing sight of the wonders we’re working to preserve for generations to come.
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2015 includes
Sheri Fink, Atul Gawande, Leslie Jamison, Sam Kean, Seth Mnookin, Matthew Power, Michael Specter
REBECCA SKLOOT's award-winning science writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and elsewhere. Her book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, was an instant New York Times bestseller. It was named a best book of 2010 by more than sixty media outlets, including Entertainment Weekly and NPR, and by the National Academies of Science and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, among others. Skloot is currently writing a book about humans, animals, science, and ethics.
TIM FOLGER, series editor, is a contributing editor at Discover and writes about science for several magazines.
Guest editor Skloot (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) gleans this year's stellar compendium of essays from established print publications, including Audubon, the New Yorker, and Orion, as well as newer online magazines such as Matter. In her introduction, Skloot invites readers to engage with moments that are "spurred by the novel, the complex, the ambiguous, the uncertain, and the surprising," such as those described in Kim Todd's exploration of curiosity, Amy Maxmen's story on how tool use by humans may be 800,000 years older than previously thought, Elizabeth Kolbert's profile of some New Zealand conservationists' drive to kill all of the island nation's mammals, and Lisa M. Hamilton's appraisal of a proposal that open-source programming protocols be applied to plants. These pieces also probe the humanity inextricably entwined with scientific research, including Leslie Jamison's inner dialogue about her own medical procedures as a mock patient, Eli Kintisch's examination of the relationship between politics and global warming research, Matthew Power's account of turtle conservation's deadly dance with poachers, and Seth Mnookin's profile of children suffering from a previously unknown disease who find hope through a combination of new tools and old-fashioned stubbornness. These essays are delightful to read in the moment, but what sticks is the way they evoke wonder and offer thoughtful challenges to the reader.