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14 Science Books That Changed People's Lives

We asked BuzzFeed readers for the science books that changed their lives. This is what they told us.

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1. Cosmos, Carl Sagan.


"All my life I’ve always admired the stars, but Cosmos by Carl Sagan made me actually start learning about it. It doesn’t really read like a text book either; his passion for the subject makes it riveting to read, much like a novel, especially if you share the same passion.

"It’s probably my favorite non-fiction book in general, not just a science one."

Submitted by BespectacledHeroine

2. A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bill Bryson.


"When I was in school I never had any interest in science and I never understood it! Then a few years ago a friend made me read A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson and that book ignited a passion for science I never thought I would have.

"This book is the perfect beginner's guide to science with easily digestible snippets of every science subject. It’s brilliant!"

Submitted by Pamdoublem

3. Stiff, Mary Roach.


"Oddly enough, it was Mary Roach's Stiff. As a scientific editor/writer, it was amazing to see another writer take all this scientific information and make it not just understandable, but relatable and even funny. It changed the way I approach my writing."

Submitted via Facebook by Barb Bittner


5. A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking.


"I read it in high school and I instantly fell in love. He managed to make complex ideas understandable to me in ways even my teachers sometimes couldn't. His passion and love of how the universe works inspired me at a time in my life when I felt lost. That book got me to see just how perfectly everything had to fall in place in order for me and the people I love to even exist.

"Strangely enough, Stephen Hawking was a big part of the reason I returned to church. Even though he says he does not belief in God (which I totally respect), by getting me into parts of science I had never seen before, such as the mechanics of time travel and anti particles, I found myself drawn closer to God in a more open-minded way then ever before."

Submitted via Facebook by Jackie Knight

6. The Hot Zone, Richard Preston.


"It was on the summer reading list before junior year of high school. I believe it was the first 'science' book I read and was completely captivated.

"I still own the book, it's all worn and yellow and I think I lent it out to like five people last year during the Ebola epidemic. In a strange twist of fate, I actually work at Fort Detrick now! (But not at USAMRIID. This book made me fall in love with science, but terrified of BSL4 pathogens!)"

Submitted via Facebook by Emilee Senkevitch

"The Hot Zone inspired my career. I'm currently getting a PhD in immunology and infectious disease and get some of my stuff from the CDC."

Submitted via Facebook by Taryn McLaughlin

7. Beyond the Body Farm, Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson.


"I started getting into anthropology after watching Bones in middle school, which meant I got into some pretty weird books. That soon spiralled into an interest in mortuary sciences and forensics. People were often weirded out seeing me, a chipper middle school girl with sassy graphic t-shirts, reading books about the decay rate of a dead body in a bathtub. But I loved it!

"Though I ended up studying English in college instead of science, there will always be a place in my heart for the fascinating world of corpses and decay. I recommend this book to anyone, young or old, who is interested in anthropology. Also check out Teasing Secrets from the Dead by Emily Craig."

Submitted via Facebook by Jackie Knight


8. Survival of the Sickest, Sharon Moalem.


"The book shows such an interesting and different perspective on how diseases came to be.

"When you think of diabetes today you hardly think of how it came to develop and how it used to have a benefit to our ancestors. It was well written and it definitely changed my perspective on disease sciences."

Submitted by Sierraf

9. The Mind of God, Paul Davies.


"Davies writes, essentially, about chaos theory. It's a reasonably easy book to comprehend that doesn't lose you with hundreds of complex equations.

"It presents some very convoluted ideas in an approachable and often amusing manner, while delivering some truly amazing lines. He also alludes to the sociology of chaos theory and its effect on the general populace, which makes for an interesting element."

Submitted via Facebook by Ari Bridge

10. The Demon-Haunted World, Carl Sagan.


"I was assigned a chapter of The Demon-Haunted World in a college course with a major focus on scientific literacy. At the time I was into science but I was also into a lot of New Age stuff.

"It was upsetting seeing Sagan point out that what some people consider scientific, like crystal healing, psychics, and UFOs, aren't scientific at all.

"I ended up reading the whole book and it changed how I viewed the world. It made me realise that I was clinging to faith in things that couldn't be proven, in order to feel like I was in control.

"I'm not a scientist now but I'll be working in a scientific field (embalming) and it helped spark an awe and interest in the true sciences."

Submitted via Facebook by Janice Lee

11. Between Pacific Tides, Edward Rickets and Jack Calvin.


"When I was young, I read Between Pacific Tides by Ed Ricketts (a marine biologist who contributed in the founding of the Monterey Bay Aquarium).

"Although I couldn’t pronounce the Latin names of marine life, I was fascinated by Ricketts’ writing. Since then I have worked to follow in Ricketts’ footsteps."

Submitted by Heyitsbrayden


12. The Greatest Show on Earth, Richard Dawkins.


"The Greatest Show on Earth really blew my mind about evolution. It really made me look at the world differently knowing that all animals are related, and how all living things evolve for survival. It even gave me a much better understanding of the history of this world."

Submitted by Everettm

13. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn.


"I’m not a science person at all (my BA is in English and History and I’m currently an English teacher), but The Structure of Scientific Revolutions had a huge influence in how I thought about knowledge and how it’s produced.

"Kuhn’s discussion of the ways in which scientific discoveries can change the entire way we see the world made me really think about the importance of seeing the prominent ideological paradigms that shape most intellectual fields.

"Every discipline – whether it’s biology, psychology, or literature – has its own ideas about how professionals in that field should do their work; it’s important to understand these structures, while knowing that the 'accepted' form of knowledge isn’t necessarily the only way. Kuhn’s book showed me that facts might be static, but knowledge (and knowledge production) are fluid."

Submitted by Breenwatral

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