Book reviews

Although I spent several years working as a plant scientist, I also like to read more widely about science. Here I will post a mixture of short reviews and longer features about the latest books I have read.

Bloom front

The first things I think of when I hear the word “algae” are the microscopic green cells that were the ancestors of land plants. Reading Bloom by Ruth Kassinger was a powerful reminder that algae are so much more than this.  In the book, the author explores the origins of algae, their modern uses in food and other products, and the emerging algae-based technologies that may help us save the planet in future. Read more…


In The Quantum Realm: Philly the Photon, we meet a boy called Sebastian. After being scared by a thunderstorm, Sebastian’s father encourages Sebastian to ask questions about the nature of light. That night Sebastian has a vivid dream in which he enters the Quantum Realm, leading to an adventure in search of Grunk the Great Graviton (AKA  gravitational force). Along the way, Sebastian confronts some of his fears and learns more about quantum physics. Read more…

51miGrYIk-LIn Lab Girl, scientist Hope Jahren has cleverly weaves a memoir of her own life with passages about the lives of plants, her scientific passion. From her childhood in a small town in Minnesota to her current position as a Professor at the University of Hawai’i, she gives a candid account that includes some of the adventures, funny incidents, obstacles, and shifts in her scientific thinking that happened along the way. Read more…


Image by the author.

The Ash Tree by Oliver Rackham

In The Ash Tree, Oliver Rackham writes about the rich history and ecology of the European Ash (Fraxinus excelsior). One of the commonest trees in the UK, ash provides a home to many other species of wildlife and has long been used by humans for fuel, building, and for making wheel rims, ploughs and tools. Read more…

Wonders of the Plant Kingdom-2

Wonders of the Plant Kingdom: a microcosm revealed by Wolgang Stuppy, Rob Kesseler and Madeline Harley

The amazing variety of pollen, flowers and seeds is explored in the book Wonders of the Plant Kingdom: a Microcosm Revealed. The book is the result of a collaboration between two botanists and an artist. Read the feature


compatbility gene

The Compatibility Gene by Daniel M. Davis

In The Compatibility Gene, Daniel M. Davis takes us through some of the major discoveries that have helped us to understand how our immune system can target invaders while leaving our own cells alone. Read more…


simpsons and mathsThe Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets – Simon Singh

The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets is a light-hearted look at the mathematics hidden in the popular animated TV shows The Simpsons and Futurama. Read more…


cells to civilisationsCells to Civilisations – Enrico Coen

In Cells to Civilizations: The Principles of Change that Shape Life, Coen presents evolution, development, learning and culture as transformational processes that share seven fundamental principles. Read more…



The End of Plagues – John Rhodes

In The End of Plagues, John Rhodes guides the reader through the history of fighting infectious diseases. Much of the book focusses on story of Edward Jenner who developed the first vaccine to immunise people against smallpox in 1796. Read more…

2 thoughts on “Book reviews

  1. Pingback: Book review: The Simpsons and their Mathematical Secrets by Simon Singh | Plant Scientist

  2. Pingback: Book Review: The End of Plagues – John Rhodes | Plant Scientist

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s