Yesterday at BSA HQ, after decorating the office and turning it into Santa’s Grotto, Graeme, our new Director of Finance, sparked a lively conversation asking for science book recommendations for Christmas presents. We came up with so many fantastic books, we’ve decided to share our favourites!

Every day, a different member of staff will be recommending a science book they’ve enjoyed in 2015, so stay tuned for your daily recommendation of spectacular popular science novels!

The first entry comes from our brilliant Director of Programmes, Katherine Mathieson, who recommends two great books!


Christmas is all about celebrating traditions, and one of my traditions is that there are always books on my Christmas wish list. Some of theme are always science-y. Last year, a friend of mine mumbled ‘who else would read this stuff’ as she handed over ‘Scientific Babel: the Language of Science from the Fall of Latin to the Rise of English’. She has a point: it’s a bit dense. But it hasn’t deterred me from putting science books on my Christmas wish list.

This year, ‘Neurotribes: the Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity’ by Steve Silberman is on my wish list.  Oliver Sacks said “it will change how you think about autism”. I’ve been fascinated by autism since I was 18 and heard Simon Baron-Cohen give a talk about it. I don’t want to skip over the distress that severe autism symptoms cause, but it also seems that autism has had a positive role to play in many lives too, especially in the lives of some of our most renowned scientists. Yet researchers struggle to even agree a common definition. I’m looking forward to getting a better sense of how autism has been understood (or misunderstood) throughout history, what the current research says and how we can move away from thinking of autism as a disability and towards seeing it as a spectrum of ‘neurodiverse’ people.


What else should be on my Christmas wishlist? Join the conversation on twitter @BritSciAssoc #SciBookWishList