10 great novels that will make you more passionate about science

Many of the world’s greatest scientists were inspired to enter their fields by reading science fiction books. It’s easy to see why. Many of the best science fiction novels feature scientists who solve problems and make breakthroughs. Here are 10 great novels that will inspire a new love for science.

Above: Carl Sagan’s painting by Adolf Schaller universe.

notes: We’ve tried to keep this list for books that really feature heroic scientists making progress — not scientists who meddle in things people shouldn’t be doing. We look for books where scientists actually discover or invent something, which is seen as a good thing. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and we’d love to hear your options!

1. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

Stephenson Currently on a mission More positive science fiction that encourages people to use science to solve problems, including upcoming Hieroglyphs Anthology. His 1999 novel about a group of fictional World War II cryptographers, including Alan Turing, and a group of 1990s hackers trying to create a secret data network for people vulnerable to genocide—it showed how Progress from one generation to the next.

Image Source coyote girl

2. Carl Sagan contact details

Perhaps the most famous science fiction novel about a heroic scientist, Sagan’s novel follows Ellie Arroway, who has a strong passion for science that leads her to work in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. And spoiler alert: she found some. This is not a story of “aliens just appearing”, but a story of how we found them through scientific research.

3. Connie Willis’ bellwether

Willis often features explorers or discoverers, but this Nebula-nominated book is unusual because it’s so close to a “reality” novel. It follows a team of researchers in the lab as they discover how to create fashion and eventually become part of several fads. In the end, studying sheep did lead to a breakthrough that revealed something about human nature.

4. 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson

Robinson’s novels often focus on environmental problems — but he not only shows people struggling with environmental problems, but actually finding solutions.in his capital science series, with 40 Signs of Rain, he demonstrates the politics and science of climate change mitigation. In this futuristic novel, he shows how conservationists managed to pull Florida out of the ocean and reintroduce wolves into the wild.Robinson’s 2312 A complete superhero when it comes to treating scientists.

5. The Deprived, Ursula K. Le Guin

It’s one of the greatest novels ever written about a physicist who discovers a whole new kind of physics that eventually finds practical application. At one level, The Dispossessed is about a scientist caught between two worlds: an anarchist planet and a capitalist planet. But many of the most fascinating parts involved scientists discovering the principle of simultaneity, which in turn led to the invention of Ansible, Le Guin’s famous device for instant communication across time and space. There’s a lot of hero physics in this novel, which is wonderful.

art by Christian Pierce.

6. Life Cycle of Ted Chiang Software Objects

It’s a book that’s been talked about – this novella (You can read it online for free) follows a group of AI “trainers” who have been working on developing digital entities (or digients) from infancy. Because you can’t just develop AI, you have to grow it like a child, or raise it like an animal. Chiang’s characters aren’t the computer scientists who created the digients in the first place, but they’re still smart people who solve a lot of problems. And one of the great things about Jiang’s novel is that the more you explore the startling consequences of his big ideas, the more deeply the characters understand the situation – so the process of discovery is also the progression of the plot.

7. The Practical Effects of David Brin

In this 1984 novel, scientists succeeded in creating a device for manipulating space and time – they were able to use it to travel to another planet very similar to Earth. Except on another planet, the second law of thermodynamics works differently: objects don’t wear out, in fact, they get stronger the longer they’re used. Dennis Nuel needs to figure out why this exception is happening.

8. The Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

Yes, this is a fantasy novel.but it is A fantasy novel about a naturalist who studies dragon scienceThis is the first in a trilogy of novels about the heroic Lady Isabella Trent, who travels around studying the supernatural and mythical beasts. Not only did she make a major discovery about dragons, but she also used her scientific acumen to save herself and her team from a series of nasty scratches—the best coming-of-age story.

9. Mary Doria Russell’s Sparrow

It’s not as happy and upbeat as some of the other novels on this list – but it’s definitely about people discovering and doing science.A group of Jesuits spotted an alien signal, just like Ellie was in touch, they set off to meet alien intelligence. There’s a lot of ingenious problem-solving here – whether it’s in space missions or in “first touch” stuff, linguistics turns out to be just as important as physics.

10. Jonathan Latham as she climbed over the table

I want to give a shout out to Richard Powers, whose books on topics like creating artificial intelligence are often on great lists”laboratory kindleAbout the titles of scientists. But I’d also like to keep this list at 10 titles, and it’s definitely worth including the bizarre and intriguing story of a scientist at Lethem who created an artificial black hole — and a scientist who fell in love with it. Not just for the basics Premise, but because the arc of this book is about figuring out what the black hole known as “absence” is and why it only devours certain objects. There’s a lot of great scientific reasoning in this novel.

What’s your favorite novel about a scientist who made a great discovery or made a great invention?

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Thanks to Genevieve Valentine, Alasdair Wilkins, Alyc Helms, Annalee Newitz, Mary Robinette Kowal and everyone else who suggested this!


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