The Scientist’s Guide to Writing: How to Write More Easily and Effectively Throughout Your Scientific Career, Stephen B. Heard, Princeton U. Press, 2022 (2nd ed.). $110.00

Although scientific knowledge is primarily communicated through the written word, students rarely focus on building writing skills. The Scientist’s Guide to Writing, now in its second edition, aims to address that gap. Authored by the biologist Stephen Heard, the roughly 300-page book covers the ins and outs of writing, including strategies for overcoming procrastination, constructing a scientific paper, and dealing with peer reviewers. Each chapter comes with a concise, bullet-pointed summary and helpful writing exercises for students. Although he emphasizes that clarity should always be the primary goal in scientific writing, Heard encourages young scientists to include “touches of whimsy, humor, and beauty” in their writing, even if curmudgeonly reviewers eventually insist on their removal. —rd

Elusive: How Peter Higgs Solved the Mystery of Mass, Frank Close, Basic Books, 2022, $30.00

What’s it like to be the namesake of the legendary Higgs boson? As Frank Close demonstrates in his new book, Elusive, scientific fame was a disorienting experience for the theoretical physicist Peter Higgs, who was unaccustomed to the spotlight. Making matters even more bizarre was the fact that, as Higgs himself admits, he has had almost no involvement in the development of particle physics since the mid 1960s. Nevertheless, as the public became increasingly interested in the quest for the so-called God particle in the 1990s and 2000s, the reclusive physicist became the poster child for the search for the boson. Elusive demonstrates that in the scientific world, too, fame is both a blessing and a curse. —rd

Weirdness! What Fake Science and the Paranormal Tell Us About the Nature of Science, Taner Edis, Pitchstone, 2021, $16.95 (paper)

Paranormal claims, fringe science beliefs, and conspiracy theories are the focus of Weirdness! by Taner Edis, a professor of physics. Fascinated by the odd and the controversial, Edis puts such notions to use as teaching tools for exploring the nature of science and the scientific method. Touching on topics like spiritualism, superstition, and psychic phenomena, Edis discusses the checklists and diagnostic criteria that can help people distinguish fake science from real science. Moreover, he points out that even proposals based on science can be wrong. In a time when anti-vaxxers, climate change deniers, and creationists appear to be running rampant, Weirdness! serves as a timely reminder to carefully weigh all arguments and exercise caution when deciding what to believe and whom to trust. —cc

A Little Book About the Big Bang, Tony Rothman, Belknap Press, 2022, $24.95

Aimed at readers with minimal knowledge of science or math, A Little Book About the Big Bang discusses the structure and evolution of the universe with as few equations and graphs as possible. Tony Rothman, a physicist who specializes in general relativity and cosmology, has written several science books and articles for the general public. Using analogies rather than equations, he addresses fundamental questions asked by laypeople who are curious about science: How does relativity describe the entire universe? What has been left out of special relativity? What is so important about the cosmic microwave background radiation? True to its title, the book packs a lot of information into a small package. —cc