The Book Report by Rebecca Traver - Our Online Bookshop Curator

Let’s talk about Science! Does that invitation intrigue or intimidate you? If you’re anything like me, then maybe it’s a little of both. With that in mind, I’ve put together a sampling of some of my favorite contemporary science books, including some great choices for kids.

“Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.” 
~Carl Sagan
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Let’s talk about Science! Does that invitation intrigue or intimidate you? If you’re anything like me, then maybe it’s a little of both. With that in mind, I’ve put together a sampling of some of my favorite contemporary science books, including some great choices for kids. May they connect you with what we at Paradise Found are all about…exploring the great mysteries of life, bridging the physical and metaphysical realms, and cultivating curiosity about the nature and function of spirituality and consciousness. 

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, Reality is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity, and Helgoland: Making Sense of the Quantum Revolution by theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli invite us to imagine a vast universe still largely undiscovered where space breaks up into tiny grains, time disappears at the smallest scales, and the origins and workings of the cosmos feel tantalizingly close.

Mom Genes: Inside the New Science of Our Ancient Maternal Instinct by correspondent for Smithsonian magazine Abigail Tucker is part scientific odyssey and part memoir, weaving together the latest research with the author’s personal experiences to create a delightful, surprising, and poignant portrayal of motherhood.

The God Equation: The Quest for a Theory of Everything and The Future of Humanity: Our Destiny in the Universe by theoretical physicist Michio Kaku traverse the frontiers of astrophysics, artificial intelligence, and technology to offer a stunning vision of humanity’s future in space.

The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred by assistant professor of physics and astronomy Dr. Chandra Prescod-Weinstein is a fascinating journey into the world of particle physics and a call for a more socially just, diverse, and inclusive practice of science.

Bliss Brain: The Neuroscience of Remodeling Your Brain for Resilience, Creativity, and Joy by Dawson Church proposes that in just eight weeks of practice, 12 minutes a day, using the right techniques, we can produce measurable changes in our brains. These make us calmer, happier, and more resilient. Yes, please!

On the Mystery of Being: Contemporary Insights on the Convergence of Science and Spirituality is a collection of essays highlighting topics on the intersections of spirituality and science, weaving scientific theory and spiritual wisdom from some of the most influential thinkers of our time - including Deepak Chopra, Rupert Spira, Adyashanti, and many more. These pieces are thought provoking and inspiring - taking the reader straight to the heart of the matter.

Life's Edge: The Search for What It Means to Be Alive by Carl Zimmer investigates one of the biggest questions of all: What is life? The answer seems obvious until you try to seriously answer it.

The Smallest Lights in the Universe: A Memoir from astrophysicist Sara Seager relates how as she navigates the unexpected death of her husband, she feels for the first time, at forty, alone in the universe. As she struggles to make sense of her life after such enormous loss, she finds solace in the alien beauty of exoplanets and the technical challenges of space exploration.

The Power of Eight: Harnessing the Miraculous Energies of a Small Group to Heal Others, Your Life, and the World by Lynne McTaggart explores how when individuals in a group focus their intention together on a single target, a powerful collective dynamic emerges that can heal longstanding conditions, mend fractured relationships, lower violence, and even rekindle life purpose. But the most interesting finding of all is that group intention has a mirror effect, not only affecting the recipient but also reflecting back on the senders.

Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine by physicist Alan Lightman examines the tension between our yearning for certainty and permanence versus the modern scientific view that all things in the physical world are uncertain and impermanent. It’s a lively topic, as you can well imagine.

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan is an engaging investigation into the medical and scientific revolution taking place around psychedelic drugs, including his own life-changing experiences. He offers insights into the eternal puzzle of human consciousness and how, in a world that offers us both suffering and joy, it’s possible cultivate presence and find meaning in our lives.

Is your mind feeling a bit on the overworked side at this point and you sense that maybe a cookie and a nap is in order? I get that and have a suggestion…when I am trying to understand complex concepts and systems, I am often well-served by how these things are explored and described for younger readers. 

With that in mind, here are some options to consider:

Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson introduces the beloved man who brought the mystery of the cosmos into homes across America to a new generation of dreamers and star gazers.

Startalk: Young Readers Edition by astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson is a beautifully illustrated and accessible introduction into the complexities of our universe.

moon! earth's best friend by stacy mcnulty | paradise found santa barbaras

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky celebrates the achievements of women who have paved the way for the next generation of female engineers, biologists, mathematicians, physicists, and more!

Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years, Sun! One in a Billion, and Moon! Earth's Best Friend by Stacy McNulty offer insights into our place in the solar system and are filled with lots of kid-friendly facts and beautiful illustrations.

quantum physics for babies by chris ferrie | paradise found santa barbara

The Mysteries of the Universe by Will Gater takes young readers on a journey to the outer reaches of the universe, encountering bizarre planets, distant stars, and intricate galaxies. Another cool feature of this title is that it is also available in Spanish.

If you’re still overwhelmed, I offer Quantum Physics for Babies by award-winning physicist and mathematician Chris Ferrie - a gem for kids and adults alike. 

“We are made up of the same atoms and the same light signals as are exchanged between pine trees in the mountains and stars in the galaxies.”
~Carlo Rovelli

And remember, you can visit the entire Paradise Found online Bookshop anytime right here. We’d love to see you!

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