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Best books of 2023 — Science

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Book cover of 'The Balanced Brain: The Science of Mental Health’ by Camilla Nord

The Balanced Brain: The Science of Mental Health by Camilla Nord (Allen Lane/Princeton University Press)

Nord, a Cambridge university neuroscientist, describes the balancing act that the brain has to perform to maintain mental health. She weaves stories from her personal and professional life skilfully into a scientific analysis of the huge range of treatments available.

Book cover of ‘White Holes: Inside the Horizon’ by Carlo Rovelli

White Holes: Inside the Horizon by Carlo Rovelli, translated by Simon Carnell (Riverhead Books/Allen Lane)

This slim, speculative volume will enchant the many fans of the stellar cosmologist. In a work of poetry and imagination as much as physics, he seeks to convince us that black holes (from which nothing can escape) will eventually convert into white holes (which nothing can enter). Whether his hypothesis is correct remains to be seen.

Tell us what you think

What are your favourites from this list — and what books have we missed? Tell us in the comments below

Book cover of ‘Blue Machine: How the Ocean Shapes Our World’ by Helen Czerski

Blue Machine: How the Ocean Shapes Our World by Helen Czerski (Torva/WW Norton)

Czerski applies her skills as a physicist to explain what goes on in the waters that dominate the surface of our planet. She explains expertly what she calls the “ocean engine”, converting solar energy into a vast system of currents that sustain a magnificent multitude of marine creatures.

Book cover of ‘Under Alien Skies: A Sightseer’s Guide to the Universe’ by Philip Plait

Under Alien Skies: A Sightseer’s Guide to the Universe by Philip Plait (WW Norton)

Plait takes us on a cosmic journey — a vivid guidebook for space tourists in the distant future. We start on the Moon and move through the solar system and then on to inspect interesting objects in interstellar space. We approach a voracious black hole from as close as we can safely go and see stars being born inside the Orion Nebula.

Book cover of ‘Virtual You: How Building Your Digital Twin Will Revolutionise Medicine and Change Your Life’ by Peter Coveney and Roger Highfield

Virtual You: How Building Your Digital Twin Will Revolutionize Medicine and Change Your Life by Peter Coveney and Roger Highfield (Princeton University Press)

Computer simulations are coming to play a leading role in many fields of science. Science writer Highfield and computer scientist Coveney show in vivid examples how medical researchers are creating digital twins of individual patients and then using these virtual humans to guide treatments for a wide range of diseases.

Books of the Year 2023

All this week, FT writers and critics share their favourites. Some highlights are:

Monday: Business by Andrew Hill
Tuesday: Environment by Pilita Clark
Wednesday: Economics by Martin Wolf
Thursday: Fiction by Laura Battle and Andrew Dickson
Friday: Politics by Gideon Rachman
Saturday: Critics’ choice

Join our online book group on Facebook at FT Books Café

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