Books by Sam Kean
NPR stories about Sam Kean
By some counts of human history, the number of humans on Earth may have skidded so sharply that we were down to just 1,000 reproductive adults. And a supervolcano might have been to blame.
When William Buckland was a kid, an undergraduate at Oxford in the late 1790s, he pulled a prank that was so rude, so smart, and so biologically sophisticated for his day, he deserves a crown for The Best Use of Grass Ever.
In The Violinist's Thumb, writer Sam Kean goes inside our genetic code, looking at the stories written by the fundamental building blocks within us. The book explains things like why some people can't handle drinking coffee and why some human babies are born with tails.
Tsutomu Yamaguchi was late for work in August 1945, in Hiroshima, Japan, when he saw an airplane drop a silvery speck into the air. He survived the bombing only to make his way to Nagasaki three days later...just as that city was bombed, too.
Sam Kean's The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code delves into the history of genetics, in the anecdotal and engaging mode of his previous exploration of the periodic table, The Disappearing Spoon.
Critic Michael Schaub offers a sneak peek at some of the most hotly anticipated books of the summer: An Obama bio. A sparkling debut. Thrillers of both the fictional and body-science kind. Even Lincoln is reborn in this season of sun, sand, renewal — and reading.
Most people wouldn't describe the periodic table of elements as gripping, but Sam Kean makes it just that in his new book, The Disappearing Spoon.