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I'm putting together a history class that approaches history through the technological/scientific discoveries of the time. I'm looking at starting during the enlightenment through modern times, with an emphasis on the 20th century. My DS16 is highly computer and science interested, and I'm looking for readings that are accessible to a more reluctant reader (not a poor reader, but one that takes some wooing to really stay in the game). I'd like to find books that intersect where science affects history and vice versa. 


So far, I've chosen only Galileo's Daughter and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, but that might give you the flavor of what I'm looking for. Our science shelves run deep, but not in this department. I'm also open to video suggestions. 


Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

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Maybe look into some readings on Madame Curie.  I have only had a chance to read the biography written by her daughter, Madame Curie: A Biography.  It starts with how her childhood was changed by the Russian partitioning of Poland, then her struggles with radium and her contributions to x-rays during the war.  It was very eye opening to read about the struggles she faced as a woman scientist during this time period.  I'm not sure how much other books might touch on her childhood or if they concentrate on just certain aspects of her life.


I haven't had a chance to look through this book, but seems interesting: The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements. Maybe it could be used to find a few ideas of things that might interest to him.  [Description: The Periodic Table is a crowning scientific achievement, but it's also a treasure trove of adventure, betrayal, and obsession. These fascinating tales follow every element on the table as they play out their parts in human history, and in the lives of the (frequently) mad scientists who discovered them. THE DISAPPEARING SPOON masterfully fuses science with the classic lore of invention, investigation, and discovery--from the Big Bang through the end of time.]


This book covers multiple time periods: Kill or Cure: An Illustrated History of Medicine


The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II - different perspective  


Trying to think of others that might work.  Will post back if brain clicks.

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Thank you, nousername! I have The Curies, but it was in my biography section, not science. That is also a decent biography with plenty of history, as I recall. I can't recall if he's read The Disappearing Spoon. If not, I can add that. I have a Rosalind Franklin bio (again, I was looking at the wrong shelf) that also would be a good read. I'll check on the others you mentioned. That helps!

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Dbmamaz, we have that series, and while I might use it for occasional reference, it doesn't quite do it for either of us. Given this is an 11th grade class, I want the bulk of his readings to be adult-level material. I should go back and mine those books for ideas, however. Thanks for the reminder. 


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We found copies of The Best American Science Writing for 2001-2005 (there are other years) at a thrift store and I think they have pretty cool things about assorted new science discoveries and such. They're mainly articles/essays so usually not long reads. Present at the Creation: The Story of CERN and the Large Hadron Collider is also interesting and about something more recent.


For more technology type stuff we have:

dot.bomb- about the internet getting big around 1999

Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?- this is more about IBM/the computer industry than discovery, but I'd say it's history as IBM is so big in technology.

Bursts- I really don't know how to describe this one. It's about how digital everything is helping research and finding how human behavior follows predictable laws.

Go To- about the software revolution

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You might also browse through A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor to see if it sparks some starting points.


"From the renowned director of the British Museum, a kaleidoscopic history of humanity told through things we have made


When did people first start to wear jewelry or play music? When were cows domesticated and why do we feed their milk to our children? Where were the first cities and what made them succeed? Who invented math-or came up with money?


The history of humanity is a history of invention and innovation, as we have continually created new items to use, to admire, or to leave our mark on the world. In this original and thought-provoking book, Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, has selected one hundred man-made artifacts, each of which gives us an intimate glimpse of an unexpected turning point in human civilization. A History of the World in 100 Objects stretches back two million years and covers the globe. From the very first hand axe to the ubiquitous credit card, each item has a story to tell; together they relate the larger history of mankind-revealing who we are by looking at what we have made.


Handsomely designed, with more than 150 color photographs throughout the text, A History of the World in 100 Objects is a gorgeous reading book and makes a great gift for anyone interested in history."


I seem to recall hearing of some podcasts associated with the book.





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Kareni, that might be a fine starting place. I'd forgotten about that book. Thanks for the reminder.  Santi, thanks for the technology reading ideas. That's definitely where his interests lie. He's read the Bryson title in the past, and it is a very readable overview of the sciences. Farmgirl 70, Radioactive sounds like a title I'd enjoy as well. Thanks!

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