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7 Books for the Texas Science Reader in Your Life

7 Books for the Texas Science Reader in Your Life

Whether you're looking for a gift for a science enthusiast or proud Longhorn in your life, or you're just seeking your next relaxing read, this roundup of recent books by or featuring members of the Texas Science community will come in handy.

The first entry on the list is timely, written by alumnus, Dr. Alan Stern, the mission leader for NASA's New Horizons mission. After having traveled 4 billion miles, New Horizons is set to fly by Ultima Thule, an object in the Kuiper Belt, on Jan. 1 in what's billed as the "farthest exploration of worlds in history." And a special note to seniors graduating from UT Austin this academic year and their families: Dr. Stern also is the 2019 commencement speaker for graduation ceremonies in the College of Natural Sciences.

Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto
by Alan Stern (BASc, '78, BA '81, MS '80, MS ' 81)

This insider's perspective into a triumphant feat in the history of space exploration tells the story of New Horizons, a small NASA spacecraft that, on July 14, 2015, accomplished the first part of a mission more than 3 billion miles from Earth. It screamed past Pluto traveling 32,000 miles per hour, giving people a first-time glimpse into the long-mysterious, icy world of the Pluto system.

Listen to our podcast conversation with Dr. Stern about the New Horizons mission.

AIQ: How People and Machines are Smarter Together 
by James Scott, Department of Statistics and Data Sciences

From leading data scientists Nick Polson and UT Austin Professor and alumnus James Scott (BS '04), this book covers what everyone needs to know to understand how artificial intelligence is changing the world and how we humans can use this knowledge to make better decisions ourselves. Scott and Polson lay out an optimistic vision for how AI could help people to overcome cognitive weaknesses and live happier, healthier lives.

Check out our Point of Discovery podcast interview with Scott.

The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer
by Charles Graeber

For decades, scientists have puzzled over one of medicine's most confounding mysteries: Why doesn't our immune system recognize and fight cancer the way it does other diseases, like the common cold? UT Austin alumnus and this year's winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine James Allison (BA '69, PhD '73), plays a central role in the story of one of the most significant cancer research discoveries to date, immunotherapy.

Check out our Point of Discovery podcast interview with Allison

Ticker: The Quest to Create an Artificial Heart
by Mimi Swartz

Another UT Austin alumnus, the late Denton Cooley (BA, '41) takes center stage in another tale of medical breakthroughs that changed the world. Until post WWII, heart surgery did not exist. Ticker provides a riveting history of the pioneers, including Cooley, who gave their all to the courageous process of cutting into the only organ humans cannot live without.

Read reflections from another UT Alum, Cooley's son-in-law heart surgeon Charles Fraser (BS '80), on the senior heart surgeon's legacy.

A Taste for the Beautiful: The Evolution of Attraction   
by Mike Ryan, Department of Integrative Biology

From one of the world's leading authorities on animal behavior, this popular science book covers the astonishing story of how the female brain drives the evolution of beauty in animals and humans. Award-winning professor Mike Ryan describes how sexual selection works in nature and answers questions about why animals perceive certain traits as beautiful in the other species.

Watch our video with Ryan explaining takeaways from his research.

Auroras, Petroglyphs and Pagans
by Jeff Ransom (BS '62, MA '65, PhD '67)

Plasma physicist Jeff Ransom presents his research on petroglyphs, or ancient rock art, from every habitable continent. The art is similar enough that Ransom believes artists around the world were capturing long-gone auroras that they witnessed and believed to be gods.

Roberta and Rogene: The Intrepid Faulkner Twins from Texas
by Rogene Henderson (PhD, '60) and Roberta Sund (MA, '58)

This lighthearted memoir follows a pair of identical twins who studied chemistry at UT Austin and went on to successes as Fulbright Scholars, world travelers and leaders. The book covers their adventures abroad, their impacts on the fields of teaching and science and a few interesting cases of mistaken identity. 

Chemistry Graduate Student Awarded Prestigious Spa...
UT Scientists, Mathematicians and High Schoolers P...


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Tuesday, 06 December 2022

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