Cornerstones of Science is an award-winning national science literacy organization located in Brunswick, Maine, USA. The mission of Cornerstones of Science (CoS) is to connect children, teens, and adults to science and technology through superb books, programs, and opportunities for community involvement in current scientific issues. To achieve our mission we partner primarily with public libraries.
Here you will find science books and book reviews for all ages and reading levels. Links are provided to recommended web sites, teacher resources, science-related scholarships, citizen science opportunities, and current events in science. Upcoming public programs by scientists and science authors are listed on our calendar.
Search our book & DVD lists by author, topic, title, and grade or reading level. Send us your comments about the books you read by clicking on our "submit a book review" link. Children and teens in grades 3-12 may enter our annual Read, Write & Win contest. And, be sure to check out our science games.
CoS is made possible through the generous and continued support of CoS founder Lee Grodzins, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Maine & national foundations and businesses, and contributions from individuals like you. Learn more about our history and programs below in An Overview of Cornerstones of Science.
I welcome you to this site and wish you well on all your science adventures.
Cynthia Randall, Executive Director
Cornerstones of Science
PO Box 955, Brunswick, Maine 04011
cynthia.randall (@) cornerstonesofscience.com
The Cornerstones website is three websites in one. Choose the site that best interests you:
An Overview of Cornerstones of Science
Cornerstones of Science is the brain child of Lee Grodzins, Physics Professor Emeritus, MIT; energetic library supporter, and part-time Brunswick resident. His vision and energy was contagious as he and Stephen Podgajny, then Director of the Curtis Memorial Library, met in the autumn of 1999. Soon afterward, Lee contributed funding toward the initiative and Steve and Lee established a working group of library staff and community volunteers. This group identified the original Cornerstones books, initiated the reviews, established the website and newsletter, and planned the COS opening event. This working group was later formalized into a Management Committee of scientists, educators and library staff. An Advisory Board of renowned scientists and educators was also established. Phil Morrison, celebrated physicist and co-founder of the SETI project, served as chair of the COS Advisory Board until his death in April, 2005. Since then, CoS has developed a partnership of twenty libraries, moved its office from Curtis Memorial Library, and became its own 501(c)3.
Why Cornerstones of Science?
It has been said that during the next fifty years scientific and technological advances will bring more changes to our everyday lives than during the entire history of humankind. It is imperative in this rapidly changing world that all members of our communities become literate enough to understand these advances and to make educated decisions about technology and public policies that will influence their lives.
Many programs have been established for promotion of science literacy in the schools. The American Association for the Advancement of Science's Project 2061, the National Institute for Science Education, and the Science Learning Network are just a few examples. But who serves the person who did poorly in science in school and from then on purposely avoided all mathematics and science? Or, the student who does not excel in a formal education setting, but who could blossom in an informal setting? Or, the person who cannot afford higher education but wants to continue learning? CoS provides a friendly, informal atmosphere in which people of all ages and abilities can become engaged in science. Program participants not only gain from the intellectual rewards of the program but benefit from the socialization and sense of belonging to their community.
CoS Books: Involving the Community
CoS identifies superb science books for children and adults with an on-going process of nomination and evaluation. Our process is unique from other book awards. We do not limit nomination and evaluation to a small group of experts, but involve the community, scientists and educators in an open forum of review. The intended readers of the books are key reviewers. Children review children's books and teens review teen books. Their evaluations are strongly considered and compared to reviews written by adults. The annual Read, Write and Win book review writing contest for youth in grades 3-12 empowers children and teens to speak out about books.
Anyone may nominate a book. However, for a book to be added to the Cornerstones' nomination list, it must receive at least one additional nomination from our selection committee or garner high praise in one of the CoS accepted professional book review forums. A book moves from nominee status and becomes a "Cornerstone" when it receives a minimum of three reviews in full support of Cornerstone status. One review must come from a scientist or educator to assure scientific accuracy. The second and third review must come from the book's intended audience; a child if it is a children's book, a teenager if it is a teen book. Nominees that do not pass the review process are returned to the general collection. Likewise, a Cornerstone that does not stand the test of time - becoming outdated or inaccurate and not otherwise valued for illustrating the history of scientific thought - is removed from the collection.
CoS Awarded Books: Spine Labels
CoS books are easily identified within each partner library's collection. Gold spine labels mark the Cornerstones. Blue spine labels mark the nominees. They are also notated in the electronic catalog, and a complete list of Cornerstones and nominees are available at the CoS website, www.cornerstonesofscience.org.