Reading List: Summer 2022 readings to ignite your imagination

Consider adding these books to your summer reading list!

If you’ve already finished your summer reading list, need some inspiration to start one, or just want to add a few more books to the list, we have several inspiring reads for you to consider. Here are some books written by alumni of the Society for Science research competition and some alumni tips to help you think of useful additions during the summer.

The alignment problem

Brian Cristiano, WW Norton & Company

Non-fiction | Maggie Graseck, an STS 2022 alum recommends Brian Christian’s “The Alignment Problem”. “If you’re interested in artificial intelligence,” says Maggie, this book “is a beginner-friendly exploration of the bias behind machine learning.” The author explores the influence that algorithms and artificial intelligence have on human life and what it means for the future.

Weaving Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and Plant Teachings

By Robin Wall Kimmerer, Milkweed editions

Nonfiction, Chinmayi Balusu Philosophy, a 2019 ISEF alum, is reading Robin Wall Kimmerer’s “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants.” “It is an illuminating reflection on the influence of heritage on the identities of scientists and the redefinition of science from a cultural perspective,” says Chinmayi. In this New York Times Best Seller, Robin, a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, embraces the idea that “plants and animals are our oldest teachers” by offering us lessons and gifts.

Fundamentals: ten keys to reality

by Frank Wilczek, Penguins publishing group

Nonfiction, Physics | Frank Wilczek, an STS alum 1967, he is the author of “Fundamentals: Ten Keys to Reality”, published in January 2022. The Nobel Prize winner guides readers through essential concepts that help us understand the world and how it works, investigating the ideas of time , space, matter and energy. A review of The Washington Post states: “In this age of growing skepticism, he wants his readers – who he imagines to be lawyers, doctors, artists, parents or just curious people – to ‘be born again, in the way of science’.”


by Lewis Perdue, Published independently

thriller | Lewis Perdue, a 1966 ISEF alum, is the author of the recently released sci-fi thriller, “Hellhound”. Lewis explains: “The book delves into the theories on the quantum basis of consciousness, such as the one espoused by Nobel laureate Roger Penrose and the possible connection with the origins of good and evil.” Lewis explores government documents dealing with an alleged secret military drug designed to “deprive soldiers of empathy and fear, turning them into ruthless killers.”

The last question

Isaac Asimov, Columbia Publications

Science fiction | Freer flora, an alum of Broadcom MASTERS 2020 and 2021, recommends Isaac Asimov’s short story “The Last Question”. A favorite of science enthusiasts around the world, Flora says, “It was a really good tale involving the universe overwhelmed by entropy.” The author questions the fate of the universe and, ultimately, what will become of the human race.

Losing the Nobel Prize

Brian Keating, WW Norton & Company

Non-fiction | Maximilian Dorzweiler, an ISEF 2022 alum, recommends Brian Keating’s “Losing the Nobel Prize”. Massimiliano says it is “a book worth reading for scientists, especially for ambitious ones. After reading this book, you really feel like you grew up as a scientist, with a healthier outlook and the right guidance in the toolkit. “A review by Science news He says, “Losing the Nobel Prize analyzes the humanity of science prone to error, but cuts ugly details with beauty … Charming and intelligent, Losing the Nobel Prize it bounces between clear explanations of scientific notions, accounts of personal relationships and historical lessons.


by Maya Sharma, Olimpia Editori

Nonfiction, Biography | Maya Sharma, an STS 2022 alum, she is the author of “Paving”, published in 2021. She interviewed 25 female leaders around the world, including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Nobel laureate Ada Yonath. “Paving” discusses the difficulties women face in the modern world and draws valuable knowledge from their extraordinary minds.

To make fun of a Mockingbird

By Raymond Smullyan, the Oxford University Press

Logic puzzle | Jonathan Shafter, a 1993 STS alum, is reading Raymond Smullyan’s “To Mock a Mockingbird”. “A really fun book of logic puzzles where you end up building and exploring combinatorial logic,” shares Jonathan. Aiming to attract readers of all ages, the author combines a collection of puzzles with a “choose your own adventure” storyline, introducing readers to puzzles commonly presented in computing and artificial intelligence.

The words they made to us

By Akhil Reed Amar, Basic books

History | Ethan Chiu, an alum of STS 2022, is reading “The Words That Made Us” by Akhil Reed Amar. “It’s a fascinating dip into the US Constitution, into the people and ideas that built the United States,” shares Ethan. Published in 2021, the author evaluates the first constitutional questions Americans faced during the formation of the United States and the answers they offered in a vivid narrative that combines history and law.

Are you one of the Society’s alumni? Do you think you should be on a reading list? Contact us and let us know!

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