Sam Kean is the best science teacher you never had. Following up his accessible history of the periodic table, he switches out chemistry’s fundamental building blocks for biology’s, tackling the genetic code in The Violinist’s Thumb. The titular digit belongs to Niccolò Paganini, whose musical virtuosity was likely due to a hereditary mutation, and in general the book focuses on people rather than formulas. Paganini’s story joins a slew of other intriguing tales, which Kean spins in light, witty prose while also placing them in a broader scientific context. Given the confused, headachy feeling we’ve had thanks to the recent Higgs boson discovery, we can only hope the next topic he decodes will be physics. A-
BIO 101 Kean employs intriguing anecdotes to explain biology, making the genetic code palatable for laypeople
Genre: Nonfiction; Publisher: Little Brown & Company
Posted July 25 2012 — 12:00 AM EDT
- Disney eyes live-action 'Prince Charming'
- Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend lands own Beats 1 Radio show
- 'Sesame Street': Sonia 'Maria' Manzano's 7 favorites
- 'Hannibal': No go at Netflix, Amazon
- Caitlyn Jenner gives empowering talk in new 'I Am Cait' trailer
- Michael Eisner clarifies comment that beautiful, funny women are 'impossible to find'
- Sluggish Fourth of July box office no picnic for Hollywood
- Channing Tatum in 'Magic Mike XXL' leads our quip picks
- Reel-to-real couples: 12 relationships on-screen and off
- 'Back to the Future' turns 30: See the cast, then and now
- 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice': 6 EW exclusive photos
- Comic-Con 2015 preview: 10 panels we can't wait to see
- Kendall Jenner, Liv Tyler, Jessie J & More!