Books & Reports

Most of the resources below are available to read for free online and many are offered as free PDFs, so be sure to check out the links. Additional Resources are also available in our Research Papers section.

A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas

Science, engineering, and technology permeate nearly every facet of modern life and hold the key to solving many of humanity's most pressing current and future challenges. The United States' position in the global economy is declining, in part because U.S. workers lack fundamental knowledge in these fields. To address the critical issues of U.S. competitiveness and to better prepare the workforce, A Framework for K-12 Science Education proposes a new approach to K-12 science education that will capture students' interest and provide them with the necessary foundational knowledge in the field.

Thinking Evolutionarily: Evolution Education Across the Life Sciences: Summary of a Convocation

Evolution is the central unifying theme of biology. Yet today, more than a century and a half after Charles Darwin proposed the idea of evolution through natural selection, the topic is often relegated to a handful of chapters in textbooks and a few class sessions in introductory biology courses, if covered at all. In recent years, a movement has been gaining momentum that is aimed at radically changing this situation.

In the Light of Evolution VI: Brain and Behavior (2013)

The central goal of the In the Light of Evolution series is to promote the evolutionary sciences through state-of-the-art colloquia--in the series of Arthur M. Sackler colloquia sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences--and their published proceedings. Each installment explores evolutionary perspectives on a particular biological topic that is scientifically intriguing but also has special relevance to contemporary societal issues or challenges. This book is the outgrowth of the Arthur M. Sackler Colloquium "Brain and Behavior," which was sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences on January 20-21, 2012, at the Academy's Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center in Irvine, CA. It is the sixth in a series of Colloquia under the general title "In the Light of Evolution." Specifically, In Light of Evolution: Brain and Behavior focuses on the field of evolutionary neuroscience that now includes a vast array of different approaches, data types, and species.

In the Light of Evolution V: Cooperation (2011)(Includes podcasts from the meeting. Report forthcoming)

Cooperation is one of the great challenges to evolutionary theory. If individuals compete, and those winning the conflict leave more copies of their genes, what place is there for cooperation? A large one, it turns out. Cooperation is important in the evolution of groups, and is responsible for the great ecological success of social insects. Understanding how conflict is controlled so that cooperation can occur may explain the organization of genes on chromosomes, eukaryotic cells, multicellularity, and superorganisms like social insect colonies. Advances in many areas of biology have expanded the reach of cooperation studies. This Sackler Colloquium will focus on empirical work in these new areas rather than tread old ground. We will begin with a session on the foundations of cooperation based on selfish-gene thinking. We will then move on to see how the promise of the early work has been fulfilled by the study of real genes for social behavior. The third session will look at the role of cooperation in disease, as pathogens, selfish genetic elements, and cancers exploit their hosts. The final session will explore how this evolutionary perspective sheds light on the human condition.

Understanding Climate's Influence on Human Evolution (2010)

Climate and fossil records suggest that some events in human evolution -- such as the evolution of new species or movements out of Africa -- coincided with substantial changes in African and Eurasian climate. This raises the intriguing possibility that environmental factors affected or controlled our species' evolution.By altering the landscape, past changes in climate may have exerted pressures that led to genetic selection and innovation in humans. But because the human fossil record and our understanding of past climate conditions are incomplete, the details of how climates influenced human evolution remain unclear.

Microbial Evolution and Co-Adaptation: A Tribute to the Life and Scientific Legacies of Joshua Lederberg (2009)

Dr. Joshua Lederberg - scientist, Nobel laureate, visionary thinker, and friend of the Forum on Microbial Threats - died on February 2, 2008. It was in his honor that the Institute of Medicine's Forum on Microbial Threats convened a public workshop on May 20-21, 2008, to examine Dr. Lederberg's scientific and policy contributions to the marketplace of ideas in the life sciences, medicine, and public policy.


In the Light of Evolution, Volume III: Two Centuries of Darwin (2009)

Two Centuries of Darwin is the third book of the In the Light of Evolution series. Each installment in the series explores evolutionary perspectives on a particular biological topic that is scientifically intriguing but also has special relevance to contemporary societal issues or challenges. In the chapters of this book, leading evolutionary biologists and science historians reflect upon and commemorate the Darwinian Revolution.


Origin and Evolution of Earth: Research Questions for a Changing Planet (2008)

Questions about the origin and nature of Earth and the life on it have long preoccupied human thought and the scientific endeavor. Deciphering the planet's history and processes could improve the ability to predict catastrophes like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, to manage Earth's resources, and to anticipate changes in climate and geologic processes.


Science, Evolution, and Creationism (2008)

This completely updated edition of the landmark booklet Science and Creationism is written for anyone who wants to learn more about the science of evolution. It provides a succinct overview of the many recent advances from the fossil record, molecular biology, and a new field known as evolutionary-developmental biology that have yielded important, new, and overwhelming evidence for evolution.


In the Light of Evolution, Volume II: Biodiversity and Extinction (2008)

The current extinction crisis is of human making, and any favorable resolution of that biodiversity crisis--among the most dire in the 4-billion-year history of the Earth--will have to be initiated by mankind. Little time remains for the public, corporations, and governments to awaken to the magnitude of what is at stake. This book aims to assist that critical educational mission, synthesizing recent scientific information and ideas about threats to biodiversity in the past, present, and projected future.


In the Light of Evolution: Volume 1. Adaptation and Complex Design (2007)

In December 2006, the National Academy of Sciences sponsored a colloquium (featured as part of the Arthur M. Sackler Colloquia series) on "Adaptation and Complex Design" to synthesize recent empirical findings and conceptual approaches towards understanding the evolutionary origins and maintenance of complex adaptations. Darwin's elucidation of natural selection as a creative natural force was a monumental achievement in the history of science, but a century and a half later some religious believers still
contend that biotic complexity registers conscious supernatural design.


Darwin's Gift to Science and Religion (2007)

With the publication in 1859 of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, Charles Darwin established evolution by common descent as the dominant scientific explanation for nature s diversity. This was to be his gift to science and society at last, we had an explanation for how life came to be on Earth. In Darwin's Gift, a voice at once fresh and familiar brings a rational, measured perspective to the science of evolution.


Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life's Origins (2005)

Life on Earth arose nearly 4 billion years ago, bursting forth from air, water, and rock. Though the process obeyed all the rules of chemistry and physics, the details of that original event pose as deep a mystery as any facing science. How did non-living chemicals become alive? While the question is (deceivingly) simple, the answers are unquestionably complex. Genesis tells the tale of transforming scientific advances in our quest for life's origins. Written with grace, beauty, and authority, it goes directly to the heart of who we are and why we are here.


Evolution in Hawaii: A Supplement to Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science (2004)

Evolution in Hawaii examines evolution and the nature of science by looking at a specific part of the world -- the Hawaiian Islands. By focusing on one set of islands, this book illuminates the general principles of evolutionary biology and how ongoing research will continue to expand our knowledge of the natural world.


Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences, Second Edition (1999)

While the mechanisms of evolution are still under investigation, scientists universally accept that the cosmos, our planet, and life evolved and continue to evolve. Yet the teaching of evolution to schoolchildren is still a contentious issue. In Science and Creationism, the NAS states unequivocally that creationism has no place in any science curriculum at any level.


Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science (1998)

Written for teachers, parents, and community officials as well as scientists and educators, this book describes how evolution reveals both the great diversity and similarity among the Earth's organisms. It explores how scientists approach the question of evolution, and illustrates the nature of science as a way of knowing about the natural world.


National Science Education Standards (1996)

A landmark effort that involved thousands of teachers, scientists, science educators, and other experts across the country, these standards echo the principle that learning science is an inquiry-based process, that science in schools should reflect the intellectual traditions of contemporary science, and that all Americans have a role in improving science education.


The Search for Life's Origins: Progress and Future Directions in Planetary
Biology and Chemical Evolution (1990)

The study of planetary biology and chemical evolution draws together experts in astronomy, paleobiology, biochemistry, and space science who work together to understand the evolution of living systems. This field has made exciting discoveries that shed light on how organic compounds came together to form self-replicating molecules -- the origin of life. This volume offers recommendations on research programs -- including an ambitious effort centered on Mars.