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The Science of Discworld Hardcover – Aug 3 1999


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Random House UK; British First edition (Aug. 3 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091865158
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091865153
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16.4 x 3.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 558 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #703,551 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By JJM Peters on March 19 2002
Format: Hardcover
Apart from being a Pratchett fan, I'm an almost post graduate biology student interested in education en popularising science. Therefore, this book stands high on my list of best books ever. Apart from a very entertaining story featuring the ever-blundering wizards of U.U. (and Rincewind in the role of Professor of Unusual and Cruel Geography), this is really a very, very good science textbook.
The strength of the science book part (reviews on the story can be found aplenty on this page) is that it is for one thing very clearly structured, starting with the "birth" of the universe as we now perceive it and ending with a (maybe) over-the-top look into the future. But apart from this comprehensive structure, the science writing is also very clever. Many science books just state what is known, so only the dry facts. The authors of this book also give a framework, for example some history of how knowledge is obtained, a process that is mostly unknown to those who have not followed an academic science education.
But that's not all. Many times the authors start out by stating something that is known to everybody, giving the explanations we all learn in high school. And then they go about by showing us how exactly these high school explanation (or "lies-to-children" as they call them) are wrong, or at least a small part of the truth, giving a much more complicated image of how things work and even leaving things unexplained (because that's how it is in science, not all things can be explained satisfactorily). And that is, in my opinion, the strength of the book, a glimpse is given on how science is practised, how knowledge is gained and how things are always more complicated than you think they are.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By K. Staton on Sept. 2 2002
Format: Paperback
What can I say? If you love Prachett, the wizards and have an open mind this one's for you! The science part of this book is written with humour and wit so it never sounds like one of your old college text books. The Discworld story that accompanies and introduces the science chapters is wonderful in and of itself. Putting them together in this book makes it one great educational read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sharon on Nov. 16 2002
Format: Paperback
We are watching the wizards of Unseen University watching an Earth-like planet be created. Sounds complicated? Not really...
A brief, yet in-depth (I don't know how that can work, but it does) explanation on how it is currently believed out world works is nothing short of miraculous, especially due to the clarity in which it is explained. Interlaced with a story about the wizards' experiments with their new toy planet, this book is completely riveting and highly informative.
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By John Reidy on Oct. 30 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not a standard Terry Pratchett, I'm a huge fan. Fantastic mixing of science and fantasy. I bought as I started reading I think Science o 3 or 4 and decided that I needed to go back. Thought provoker.
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By Alien Bard TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 29 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
All I can say is that I wish we had had books like this when I was still in school. It makes learning about the universe fun in a way I have never before encountered.

The Discworld story helps break up the science lessons into more comfortable pieces as well as helping support the science facts by presenting a different perspective. If you are expecting a simple story book you may be a bit disappointed, but if you like learning then this book is awesome!
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Format: Paperback
This is really two great books. The first is a wizard's experiment gone wrong at the Unseen University. A chain reaction in their squash court (sound familiar?) has released an unprecedented amount of thaumic energy. Before it could be channeled safely, it materializes a world, in fact a whole star system. But this world isn't a disc, it's round --
The second book is a witty, well informed scientific commentary on many things, but especially on the history of life on earth. (I only noticed one mis-step in the real science, a statement about the stability of a an oxygen isotope. They probably slid that error in to make nitpickers like me feel smug.)
The problem is, this is just one book. Chapters alternate in odd-even pairs, Discworld fantasy and Ourworld fact. I probably should have read the book twice, all the odd chapters then all the even ones. As it was, I found my attention whipsawed between the two. The total was distractingly less than the sum of the parts.
It's clever, amusing and informative. The back-and-forth style just didn't work for me, though.
//wiredweird
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