Join BookBrowse today and get access to free books, our twice monthly digital magazine, and more.

Index of articles by category

Beyond the Book Articles
Medicine, Science and Tech

Page 1 of 6

Order books by:
Note: The key icon indicates member-only content.Learn more about membership.
Queens of Rock: Women in Geology (05/24)
In Caoilinn Hughes' The Alternatives, Olwen is a geologist profoundly concerned with the effects of climate change. As in other sciences, women remain underrepresented in geology, even though they have been very much part of its development over the centuries.

St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) was a scholar of precious stones, to ...
The Importance of Doulas Today (05/24)
Despite its original ancient Greek definition of 'a woman who serves,' the word 'doula' has come to mean 'one who mothers the mother.' In caring for mothers and their newborns, doulas advocate, listen, advise and comfort. They are professionally trained to provide emotional and informational support during pregnancy and labor as well as ...
The Healing Properties of Tea (05/24)
Spice Road, the debut novel by Maiya Ibrahim, features the Shields, a group of warriors sworn to protect the desert city of Qalia from magical beings and monsters. These warriors are gifted with magical abilities to perform their duties, but these powers only manifest when they drink misra, an ancient tea gifted to the people of Qalia. ...
Star Trek & Space Exploration (04/24)
From the 17th century on, Johannes Kepler, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Jules Verne, HG Wells, and Edgar Rice Burroughs were just a few artists who contributed to a burgeoning awakening of the collective imagination, melding scientific and cosmic theories with myth and character, shaping something entirely new — science fiction.

...
The Life Cycle of a Star (04/24)
In Under Alien Skies, Dr. Philip Plait takes readers on a tour of the universe, including discussing what it might be like to live on planets in a variety of different star systems. A major factor to consider for this thought exercise is the mass of the star or stars involved, and what point they are at in their life cycles.

Stars are...
Auditory Hallucinations (04/24)
Neely, the main character in Mindy McGinnis's Under This Red Rock, experiences auditory hallucinations (AHs). Since an early age, Neely has heard people clapping for her, children laughing and playing, and the voice of a young girl asking for water. She's developed techniques for managing her symptoms, but she still suffers emotionally ...
What Is a Portacath? (04/24)
A portacath is a medical device used to assist with the treatment of ongoing conditions, most commonly cancer. It is composed of two key parts: the portal, which is a small chamber usually made of silicon that is placed just beneath the skin on a patient's chest; and the catheter, which is a flexible, hollow tube that is threaded into...
Acquired Savant Syndrome (04/24)
In Danielle Trussoni's The Puzzle Master, protagonist Mike Brink was once on his way to a promising football career until an injury fundamentally changed the way his brain worked, leading him away from the gridiron and into MIT. As Trussoni mentions in a brief author's note, Brink's diagnosis—acquired savant syndrome—is a real...
Sad Music is Blue, Literally (03/24)
In Only the Beautiful, the historical novel by Susan Meissner, readers are introduced to Rosanne 'Rosie' Maras, a teenage girl who has lost her family and is placed under the care of her parents' former employers. To most, Rosie seems like a normal girl, but she's hiding a secret: when she hears sounds, she sees colors. When her secret is...
New Advances in Treating Vision Loss (03/24)
After a mysterious event that blinded the entire world population, the characters in Blind Spots use devices called vidders to see. In real life, many people are experiencing vision improvement through technology that might sound like something out of a science fiction novel. From smart glasses to implantable contact lenses, vision ...
Rosalind Franklin and the Discovery of the Structure of DNA (03/24)
The discovery of DNA is one of the greatest scientific achievements in the modern era, and possibly one of the most significant in history. The credit has long gone to James Watson and Francis Crick, who publicized the famous double-helix structure of DNA and the rest, as PBS notes, 'is Nobel Prize history.'

The problem is this is an ...
How to Build an Emotional Safety Net (02/24)
Tessa Ensler wants her mother. The heroine of Suzie Miller's Prima Facie is in a panicky mess after a sexual assault, and, like many of us when things go sideways, she wants her mother's arms wrapped around her. She wants her mother's acceptance and kindness. When she confides that she 'had a bad experience' and has 'been to the police to...
Polycystic Kidney Disease (02/24)
In her collection of essays Transient and Strange, Nell Greenfieldboyce shares how her husband's diagnosis of polycystic kidney disease (PKD) affected their lives, especially as they decided to start a family. PKD is a genetic condition involving the growth of high numbers of cysts—fluid-filled sacs—in the kidneys and ...
Naloxone (Narcan) (02/24)
In Tracy Kidder's Rough Sleepers, the drug naloxone, commonly known by the brand name Narcan, saves the lives of multiple people in the throes of an overdose from opioids like fentanyl and oxycodone.

A relative of morphine, naloxone was first patented in 1961 by American scientists looking for a medication to treat constipation ...
What Is Moral Injury? (01/24)
Ian Fritz's memoir, What the Taliban Told Me, chronicles the author's difficulties processing his role in events that resulted in death and injury to others. Not officially diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Fritz discusses a category of non-physical harm that military experts denote as "moral injury,"...
A Crowd-Sourced Tool for Solving Crime (01/24)
In Kate Alice Marshall's murder mystery What Lies in the Woods, characters use a resource called the DoeNetwork to identify a corpse.

According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs), a database funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, about 600,000 people go missing in the United States each year. Most ...
Cult Psychology (11/23)
Cults are often difficult to identify from the outside, given that a common characteristic is members' denial that any dysfunctional elements are at play within their community. Many countries, including the U.S., do not have a legal definition, but prefer to use a series of criteria. However, a sort of colloquial understanding is more ...
Dementia: A Two-Person Illness (11/23)
After a dementia diagnosis, the rules that families depend on — who takes care of who — just don't exist anymore. The hierarchy of parent and child or grandparent and grandchild dissolves under lost memory. Dementia is an illness that affects two people: The patient, and the person caring for them. Anger or frustration often ...
A World Not Built for Women: Gender Bias in Medicine & Science (11/23)
In March 2019, NASA was due to launch the first all-women spacewalk from the International Space Station. It was to be a milestone in space exploration. Astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain were to walk outside the ISS to replace lithium-ion batteries; Mary Lawrence and Kristen Facciol were to be lead flight director and lead ...
Bringing Them Home: The Use of DNA to Identify Remains at the Dozier School for Boys (11/23)
The Reformatory, the newest novel by celebrated author Tananarive Due, tells the horrific story of the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys. Once the country's largest reform school, Dozier supposedly intended to rehabilitate its students into productive citizens, but instead the boys were terrorized and tortured, and some were even ...
ChatGPT (11/23)
Artificial intelligence grabbed the headlines in November 2022 when OpenAI introduced ChatGPT to the world (GPT stands for generative pre-trained transformer). A large language model (LLM) designed to interact informally with a human interlocutor, ChatGPT has since released three more generations on the foundation model, with GPT-4's ...
Homelessness and Traumatic Brain Injuries (10/23)
Ava Carson, the protagonist in Ayana Mathis's second novel The Unsettled, is homeless because of domestic violence. At the Glenn Avenue shelter, she can't sleep or eat. She is listless and emotionally paralyzed. Yet Ava never considers that she might have a traumatic brain injury.

Researchers who analyzed data from multiple countries, ...
The Fram: Polar Ship (10/23)
Helen Czerski's book The Blue Machine explains how Earth's oceanic system functions, including some discussion of the work that went into discovering that information. A few expeditions that contributed greatly were those of the Norwegian ship the Fram, which explored the Arctic and Antarctic oceans in the late 19th and early 20th ...
Charles Darwin's The Descent of Man (10/23)
In his seminal work, On the Origin of Species (1859), Charles Darwin elucidated the theory of evolution by natural selection, explaining how organisms better adapted to their environment are more likely to survive and pass on their genes. What he didn't explain, however, was human evolution — that was addressed in his second but ...
The Discovery of Plate Tectonics (10/23)
In Annalee Newitz's science fiction novel The Terraformers, characters threaten to trigger the development of plate tectonics on the planet Sask-E as a form of political leverage. The theory of plate tectonics has revolutionized our understanding of our planet and its geological processes. This theory states that the outer layer of Earth,...
The MANIAC Computer (10/23)
The title of Benjamin Labatut's novel The MANIAC refers to the computer—the fastest of its kind at the time—developed by the Hungarian American physicist John von Neumann. During the Second World War, von Neumann was a consultant on the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos, New Mexico, where he focused on the detailed mathematical ...
Sharks in the Water: German U-boats in World War I (09/23)
Douglas Brunt’s The Mysterious Case of Rudolf Diesel tells the story of Rudolf Diesel, the German inventor of the internal combustion engine. After the Industrial Revolution, industry had become king, and Diesel’s groundbreaking invention produced more power, used cheaper fuel and didn’t require a team of laborers to ...
The Hubble Telescope (09/23)
In The Milky Way: An Autobiography of Our Galaxy, Moiya McTier references the discoveries made by the Hubble telescope. NASA refers to the Hubble as 'the most famous telescope,' and the reasons are easy to see. For over 30 years, it has provided insights and never-before-seen imagery — and it's still evolving.

The telescope is ...
Larval Therapy (08/23)
For a novel that focuses on a physician during an incredibly bloody war, The Swift and the Harrier by Minette Walters is generally not too explicit in describing the treatment of wounds. The passage below is an exception; when main character Jayne's brother suffers a pike wound to the thigh that soon becomes infected, her mentor ...
Technology and Memory (08/23)
In her novel The Memory of Animals, author Claire Fuller features the use of a fictional device that allows people to revisit memories in vivid detail, as though physically embodying their past selves. Though this may sound like a radical concept existing firmly within the realms of science fiction, the use of technology to document ...
The Intelligent Octopus (06/23)
In Ray Nayler's The Mountain in the Sea, the characters Ha Nguyen and Evrim discuss at length the extraordinary neurological traits of octopuses and how they are likely the key to unlocking a model of consciousness completely alien to humans. Ha mentions, for one, that two-thirds of an octopus's neurons are not even in its brain but ...
Pioneering Women Botanists (06/23)
Throughout their careers, botanists Elzada Clover and Lois Jotter helped to break barriers for women in their field. Beyond this, they became the first people in all of Western science to officially catalogue the plant life growing within the Grand Canyon. Despite their obvious expertise, much of the press coverage of their work at the ...
Bonding Over Shared Trauma (05/23)
In Notes on Your Sudden Disappearance by Alison Espach, main characters Sally and Billy form an unbreakable bond after they both witness the death of Sally's older sister Kathy, who is Billy's girlfriend. Research on shared traumatic experiences shows a clear pattern in which people who have endured the same trauma often have a strong ...
Trauma and the Brain (04/23)
Rape survivor Erika Krouse rarely dreams. She has lost memories. She has trouble remembering what happened the prior week but knows in spectacular detail how it felt to be raped when she was a child by someone her mother loved. A heartbreaking passage in her memoir Tell Me Everything: The Story of a Private Investigation explains, 'It's ...
Dignitas and Death with Dignity (03/23)
In her book In Love, Amy Bloom's husband, Brian Ameche, decides to end his life prematurely, before his Alzheimer's disease becomes too debilitating.

Being Americans, they first explored taking advantage of laws in the US allowing physician-assisted suicide, also known as death with dignity. This option first became available in ...
Frontotemporal Dementia (02/23)
In Julie Osaka's novel, The Swimmers, one of the main characters suffers from memory loss due to dementia.

The Mayo Clinic defines 'dementia' as 'a group of symptoms affecting memory, thinking and social abilities severely enough to interfere with your daily life.' It's not one disease, as many different conditions can cause dementia. ...
BRCA Gene Mutations and Prophylactic Mastectomy Surgery (01/23)
In This Boy We Made, author Taylor Harris finds out that she has a BRCA2 genetic mutation that puts her at about a 50% higher than average risk of developing breast cancer, and decides to have a prophylactic double mastectomy.

A mutation in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene is associated with a higher risk of certain types of cancer. Dr. Mary-...
Susto (10/22)
In Manuel Muñoz's The Consequences, the story 'Susto' describes a man's disturbed psychological state after he discovers a dead body in a field. The Spanish word 'susto' can be translated into English as 'fright,' but it also refers to an illness associated with certain Hispanic and Indigenous populations in Latin America and the ...
The Evolution of the U.S. Spacesuit (10/22)
In Andy Weir's science fiction novel, Project Hail Mary, the main character periodically dons a spacesuit to perform maintenance outside his spacecraft or to keep himself safe when conditions inside it become life-threatening.

Spacesuits are critical to humanity's ability to explore the cosmos. The astronaut must be protected from (and...
The Camera Obscura (10/22)
A central theme in 2 A.M. in Little America is the difficulty of distinguishing between truth and illusion, and Pushcart Prize-winning writer and journalist Ken Kalfus uses recurrent imagery throughout the novel of mirrors, lenses and reflective surfaces to symbolize the way that our perception of reality is filtered through and refracted...
Aphasia (09/22)
In Lean Fall Stand, the main character suffers a massive and debilitating stroke during a whiteout storm in Antarctica. After being rescued, he returns home to England to begin the long, arduous task of learning to speak again. The medical term for the loss of the ability to understand or express speech is aphasia. It is usually caused by...
The Life Changing Reality of Bionic Limbs (08/22)
The protagonist of Nnedi Okorafor's novel Noor has undergone a number of procedures and augmentations to reduce her physical discomfort and improve her standard of living. Born with missing and deformed limbs, and injured years later in a car accident, being fitted with sophisticated bionic limbs grants her the strength — both ...
San Francisco's Zen Hospice (07/22)
In an essay from Serious Face titled 'A House at the End of the World,' Jon Mooallem writes about Zen Hospice, a palliative care facility opened in San Francisco in 1986 by members of the local Zen Buddhist community who were heartsick seeing unhoused people dying on the streets. They had the idea to open a hospice that would offer them ...
Lewy Body Dementia (07/22)
In Matt Godman's novel, Carolina Moonset, one of the main characters has Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), a degenerative condition similar to Alzheimer's disease.

According to the National Institute of Health, 'Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a disease associated with abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. These ...
The Science of Forgiveness (07/22)
Could you forgive the person who murdered your beloved son?

Weeks after Debra Trice was convicted of the first-degree murder of Raymond Jones she received a letter. It was from Margaret Jones, Raymond's mother. Mrs. Jones wrote, '[Y]ou have my forgiveness. So, when you feel you cannot make it, look up and talk to God, Jehovah is his ...
A Brief History of Cloning (06/22)
One of author Sarah Gailey's greatest skills on display in The Echo Wife is that of making the science depicted look and feel real. The cloning in the novel seems plausible. But how far have humans actually come in the field of cloning? Where did it begin and where are we now?

First, we should establish what cloning is. As Dr. Helen ...
Conflicts Over Credit: CRISPR and HIV (05/22)
When a scientific breakthrough is achieved, it can be a moment of major celebration. Depending on the implications of that advancement, previously unknown individuals can find themselves vaulted into the highest levels of celebrity. Yet, the challenge of deciding who is truly responsible for the scientific advancement can be contentious. ...
Deep Space Travel Technologies (05/22)
From the first description of its maiden launch in the year 2072, the fictional Lazarus is more than just a spaceship in Riley Redgate's Alone Out Here. It is a cryogenic ark filled with extensive samples of Earth's faunal DNA, and an integrated archive for preserving a cross-section of humanity's archaeological treasures. Moreover, the ...
Artificial Intelligence and the Future of the Human Race (04/22)
Science fiction tends to reflect deeper moral issues and fears confronting a society at the time it is written. Storytelling is a safe method to express anxieties about the state of the world. It allows authors and readers an opportunity to explore the murkiness of uncertainty in a non-threatening manner. Reading and discussing sci-fi is ...
Gene Editing (03/22)
One of the central mysteries in Kazuo Ishiguro's novel Klara and the Sun surrounds the question of how some children are 'lifted' and others are not. Seemingly benefiting from a class-based or other means-based differentiation, those who are lifted have access to higher-quality education and additional advantages. Precisely how some ...
Order books by:

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Swans of Harlem
    The Swans of Harlem
    by Karen Valby
    Journalist Karen Valby's first book, The Swans of Harlem, introduces readers to the little-known ...
  • Book Jacket: The Sicilian Inheritance
    The Sicilian Inheritance
    by Jo Piazza
    Sara Marsala is going through a rough patch, to say the least. In the process of divorcing from her ...
  • Book Jacket: The Light Eaters
    The Light Eaters
    by Zoë Schlanger
    The human race is completely dependent on plants. Many people, however, give little thought to ...
  • Book Jacket: Joy Is the Justice We Give Ourselves
    Joy Is the Justice We Give Ourselves
    by J Drew Lanham
    As a recipient of the MacArthur "Genius" Grant, and a Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Master ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
Romantic Comedy
by Curtis Sittenfeld
A comedy writer's stance on love shifts when a pop star challenges her assumptions in this witty and touching novel.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Daughters of Shandong
    by Eve J. Chung

    Eve J. Chung's debut novel recounts a family's flight to Taiwan during China's Communist revolution.

  • Book Jacket

    This Strange Eventful History
    by Claire Messud

    An immersive, masterful story of a family born on the wrong side of history.

Win This Book
Win Only the Brave

Only the Brave by Danielle Steel

A powerful, sweeping historical novel about a courageous woman in World War II Germany.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

F T a T

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.