We’ve put together a list of possible reading and listening if you want to keep yourself going during the COVID-19 lockdown, or if you just want to get a better view of biology and chemistry in the run up to starting your degree. These are books, podcasts, newspaper and magazine resources that we think are interesting and engaging and we would hope you would too. Please note that there is no obligation to read or to listen to any of these but if you have time and the inclination then please jump in.
A short list of interesting, relevant and engaging popular science books. There are many more excellent books out there but these are some which we think are especially good or important.
This is a fascinating book about how our growing understanding of mitochondria is helping us understand how complex life evolved, why sexual reproduction arose and why we age and die.
James Watson’s uncompromisingly honest account of the discovery on the DNA double helix. This is a great window into the real world of great scientists, with their very human faults and foibles, their petty rivalries and driving ambition.
This fascinating book covers the relationship between biochemistry and evolutionary biology. It explains how many aspects of evolution only make sense from a biochemical perspective and vice versa.
The memoir of a the most well-known (and possibly) controversial scientists in the world. John Rraig Venter went from teenage delinquent to battlefield medic to leading the first draft sequence of the human genome.
The fascinating (and sometimes frightening) book discusses the science potential and ethics of the emerging field of precision gene editing.
This book tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, known as ‘HeLa’ to scientists the world over. Born a poor tobacco farmer in the USA, her cancer cells were taken without her knowledge, which became one of most important tools in biochemical and biomedical research.
You’ve all heard of endorphins, the body’s own natural morphine: here Jeff Goldberg describes the riveting story of how they were discovered and how drug companies tried to cash in on them.
What are hormones, what do they do and how can we try to control them? A recommended read for anyone with an interest in endocrinology
This is a fascinating family history of the chemical elements. It discusses how they were discovered and how their discovery affected society.
In "Bad Science" Ben Goldacre skewers the alternative medicine trade and reveals its hollowness. In his other book, "Bad Pharma", he turns his eye on the pharmaceuticals industry and lambasts "Big Pharma" for its dishonesty and attempts to conceal the truth.
There are some excellent science podcasts available online. Here are some of the best.
A slightly different thing to think about but something that might be worth your time. Citizen science is a collective term for projects that engage professional scientists and non-specialists in the gathering and evaluating of data. The field of citizen science is exploding and offers not only a great way to engage the general public in science literacy through primary research, but also an avenue to engage you as future scientists in meaningful community research experiences. These projects can incorporate tracking animal and plant species, astronomy, climatology, genetics or analysing camera trap footage. Many of these projects are exclusively online and you can get involved during the current lockdown.
Two main websites to go to: