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May 3, 1999

Science Library cosponsors the Science Matters Book Club

By Tim Stephens

Readers who enjoy good books on scientific topics have a new resource in Santa Cruz: the Science Matters Book Club. The book club meets each month at the Central Branch of the Santa Cruz Public Library to discuss a nontechnical science book, and each discussion is led by a member of the local scientific community with expertise in the subject of that month's book.

"This book club was created to provide a forum for readers of lay science books to be able to ask questions of professionals in the field," said Victoria Welborn, reference librarian at the UC Santa Cruz Science Library. "It also provides a forum for scientists to discuss their work with nonscientists."

The Science Matters Book Club is open to the general public and usually meets on the third Sunday of each month. At the group's first meeting in March, Robin McFarland of the Cabrillo College Biology Department led a discussion on Jonathan Weiner's book The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time. In April, Glenn Millhauser, professor of chemistry at UCSC, led a discussion on Deadly Feasts: Tracking the Secrets of a Terrifying New Plague, by Richard Rhodes.

The next meeting will be Sunday, May 16, from 2 to 4 p.m. This month's book selection is The Making of the Atomic Bomb, by Richard Rhodes. This epic story, which recounts how the scientific quest to understand the atom led to the development of the ultimate weapon, won a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. D. Joe Anderson, a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UCSC, will lead the discussion and answer questions.

The book club is sponsored by the Santa Cruz Public Libraries, the UCSC Science Library, the Cabrillo College Library, the Association for Women in Science-Monterey Bay, the Capitola Book Cafe, and the Santa Cruz City Museum of Natural History. The Capitola Book Cafe offers a 10 percent discount to members of the book club for the monthly selections.

For more information about the Science Matters Book Club, contact Victoria Welborn at (831) 459-2816 or welborn@cats.ucsc.edu.

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