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The news of Siddhartha Mukherjee’s winning the Pulitzer for general non-fiction was recieved with as much aplomb as the Nobel for chemistry to Venki Ramakrishnan in 2009 — both non-resident Indians doing the country proud with science as their tool.


Mukherjee’s book The Emperor of Maladies chronicles the history of cancer. Using his skills as a cell biologist and his passion for writing, the physician-author draws from his experiences as a keen researcher of the science and history of cancer. Nature Medicine carried a review of the book last month and Nature featured it last year. The cancer physician and researcher from Columbia University has co-authored a number of papers in Nature and The New England Journal of Medicine.

The fact that Mukherjee has spun a book around something as conventionally non-appealing as cancer (and won a Pulitzer for it) is terribly encouraging for science writers.

This brings us to the question of the quality of science and medicine books written in India. Which is the last science/medicine/technology book by an Indian author that you enjoyed reading?


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    Nithyanand Rao said:

    All of Simon Singh’s books, especially ’Fermat’s Last Theorem’. He’s not Indian, though. Just Indian-origin. But certainly V. S. Ramachandran’s ‘Phantoms in the Brain’. Right up there on top of the list of the best books I’ve ever read. More recently Anil Ananthaswamy’s ‘The Edge of Physics’.

    All of these are of course, by non-resident Indians and published by foreign publishers. There is a good book on ‘Chaos, Fractals and self-organization’ by National Book Trust. Author is Ashish Kumar, if I remember correctly.