THE EVOLUTION OF BEAUTY: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World — and Us. By Richard O. Prum. (Doubleday, $30.) A mild-mannered ornithologist and expert on the evolution of feathers makes an impassioned case for the importance of Darwin’s second theory as his most radical and feminist.I haven't read these, so maybe they are great, but I doubt. Evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne trashes the first one. The second is obviously just a silly and desperate attempt to credit women for scientific work. I think that the third is mostly biographical, but it probably also describes Thinking, Fast and Slow, which is mainly a lot of examples of how decision making can be biased and how intuition can deviate from probabilistic models. Some of this work is interesting, but it is overrated. It seems as if you could read it to make better decisions, but it doesn't help at all.
THE GLASS UNIVERSE: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars. By Dava Sobel. (Viking, $30.) This book, about the women “computers” whose calculations helped shape observational astronomy, is a highly engaging group portrait.
THE UNDOING PROJECT: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds. By Michael Lewis. (Norton, $28.95.) Lewis profiles the enchanted collaboration between Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, whose groundbreaking work proved just how unreliable our intuition could be.
That's all for science in 2017. Didn't anyone write any good science books? Is science really that dead?