Here I’m gathering a collection of book references that I’ve found interesting and inspiring, along with some very brief descriptions.

For some of the books (only a couple for now), I give a link to my workblog where I provide more details on what I’ve found interesting.

Books on Physics in Nature

  • Leaf Optical properties, S. Jacquemoud & S. Ustin (2019): all you need to know about… leaf optical properties.
  • Fearful symmetry, I. Stewart & M. Golubitsky (2011): how patterns are obtained through symmetry breaking.
  • The Optics of life, S. Johnsen (2011): emission, absorption and scattering of light by living organisms.
  • Nature’ s Palette, D. Lee (2010): how leaves and petals colour our natural environment.
  • Colour, and the optical properties of materials, R. J. D. Tilley (2000): a modern take on the optical causes of color.
  • The Self-made Tapestry, P. Ball (1999): the emergence of patterns at the fringe of chaos.
  • Color and Light in Nature, D. K. Lynch & W. C. Livingston (1995): a greatly illustrated collection of natural optical effects.
  • What light through yonder window breaks? C. Bohren (1991): natural optical effects in everyday life, continued.
  • Clouds in a Glass of Beer, C. Bohren (1987): natural optical effects in everyday life.
  • The Physics & Chemistry of Colour, K. Nassau (1983, 2001 reedition): the 15 causes of color.
  • Light and Color in the Outdoors M. Minnaert (1954, 1995 reedition): an old yet relevant collection of natural optical effects.

Books on Biology & Ethology

  • Becoming Wild, C. Safina (2020): an exploration of animal cultures and a praise of their importance.
  • Never Alone, Marc-André Selosse (2017): the unexpected role of bugs, germs and microbes in the lives of plants, animals and civilizations.
  • Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?, F. de Waal (2017): the gradual discovery of intelligent behavior in animals, not so much remote from ours.
  • Avoiding Attack, G. D. Ruxton et al. (2004, 2018 reedition): a detailed account of crypsis, aposematism, and mimicry.
  • How the Leopard Changed Its Spots, B. Goodwin (2001): an emphasis on the role played by morphogenesis along evolution.
  • Principles of Animal Communication, J. W. Bradbury & S. Vehrencamp (1998, 2011 reedition): the bible on that topic.
  • The Foundations of Ethology, K. Lorenz (1978): fundamental principles, presented in a riguorous yet engaging manner.

Books on Animal & Human Vision

  • The Way of the EyeJ. Koenderink (2018): a surprising diverse account of the different ways to see, in Koenderink’s own freestyle.
  • Sensory Ecolorgy of Birds, G. Martin (2017): a detailed account of how birds use vision, with a focus on visual fields
  • Why red doesn’t ring like a bell, J. K. O’ Regan (2011): at last, a convincing theory of active perception, feel and consciousness!
  • Animal Eyes, D. E. Nillson & M. F. Land (2002): a reference when it comes to the optical properties of animal sensors.
  • Vision Science, S. E. Palmer (1999): a throrought treatment of Human Vision from a computational perspective.
  • The Image and the Eye, E. H. Gombrich (1982): what artistic imagery can teach use about the way we see.
  • The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception, J. J. Gibson (1979): a provocative take on vision, including affordances and optic flow.
  • Art and visual perception, a psychology of the creative eye, R. Arnheim(1954): a study of perception from an artistic viewpoint.
  • A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and HumansJ. von Uexküll (1934): a mind-bending take on the variety of animal perceptual worlds.

Books on Human Cognition

  • The Case Against Reality, D. Hoffman (2019): a provocating take on cognition, where objective reality itself is questionned.
  • From Bacteria to Bach and Back, D. Dennett (2017): how a comprehending mind could have arisen from a mindless process of natural selection.
  • Thinking, fast and slow, D. Kahneman (2011): a presentation of the famous two (idealized but useful) systems of thought.
  • Radical Embodied Cognitive Science, A. Chemero (2011): cognition in terms of agent-environment dynamics rather than computation/representation.
  • I am a strange loop, D. Hofstadter (2007): an exploration of how self-referential systems confer minds their identity (the sense of “I”).
  • The Emotion Machine, M. Minsky (2006): an exploration of the connections between cognition and emotion, and how they overlap.
  • Consciousness explained, D. Dennett (1991): a theory that denies the existence of a central place where consciousness occurs, and replaces it with a multi-agent view where subjective accounts are the result of emergent processes.
  • The Society of Mind, M. Minsky (1986): a prospective structuration of the mind, where each page is a chapter/idea/concept.
  • The Mind’s I, D. Dennett, D. Hofstadter (1981): a collection of texts on the mind from various writers, followed by authors’ discussions.
  • The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Julian Jaynes (1976): a theory on the emergence of consciousness that interestingly accounts for hallucinations, schizophrenia and hypnosis.

Books on Art

  • Elemental Magic: the art of special effects animation, J. Gilland (2009): how to animate clouds, smoke, fire and other effects in 2D.
  • Light: science and magic, P. Fuqua, S. Biver, F. Hunter (2007): a book on lighting for photography, to convey shapes, materials, expressions, etc.
  • The animator’s survival Kit, R. Williams (2001): the bible on the topic of 2D animation.
  • On reflection, J. Miller (1998): a study of how mirrors and other reflective objects are depicted in paintings.
  • Dynamic light and shade, B. Hoghart (1981): a collection of techniques to master shading in drawings with different types of lights.
  • Scientific Illustration, F. P. Mueller (1979): a collection of technical know-how to realize drawings designed to convey a message in a legible way.
  • Art and Illusion, E. H. Gombrich (1960): a classic in the interplay between art and visual perception.