508. Natural History
The natural history books are in the first section of the 500s or natural sciences in the Dewey Decimal Classification system.
Paula Findlen Possessing Nature: Museums, Collecting, and Scientific Culture in Early Modern Italy, 1994.
Italian history professor Paula Findlen shares the story of the earliest European natural history museums where powdered unicorn horn was sometimes on exhibit. She introduces individual collectors and the universities where science and politics were often inseparable. In discovering that the cross-pollination of ideas from ancient classical textbooks and new empirical scientific knowledge in which each helped the other develop, she covers the beginnings of serious natural history research as well.
Wayne Grady The Great Lakes: The Natural History of a Changing Region, 2007.
The Great Lakes contains twenty percent of the world’s freshwater making the region important, not just to North America, but to the entire world. Canadian science writer Wayne Grady provides a guide to the biology and ecology of the Great Lakes and shares how they have been shaped by human contact. More than a guide, The Great Lakes is also a tribute.
Bill Green Water, Ice, and Stone: Science and Memory on the Antarctic Lakes, 1995.
Geochemist Bill Green provides this peek into the life of a field scientist in the Antarctic where, despite finding only microscopic life in the lakes he studied, he manages to extrapolate a great deal of information. In the process of sharing what he finds, he also teaches about the philosophy of science. He shares both his own and his students’ stories of how they found themselves exploring the natural world with sometimes life-threatening consequences.
To learn more about Further Reading, please see Further Reading: Start Here.
Do you have a natural history book you’d like to share? Leave a comment!