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Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy Paperback – Jun 2 2009

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 21 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
great starting point Aug. 22 2011
By MV - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have no science background except my own reading and after struggling through some higher level science books I thought I should try something more basic as a primer. I wanted something that would be particularly good at introducing the basic laws of physics particularly and that also took into account the complexities (Hiesenberg's uncertainty principle, Einstein's spacetime curvature, etc. and didn't water things down so much that I would miss important qualifications).

This book served its purpose. I was more interested in the physics and chemistry chapters than the earth science, which seemed to stick with me from high school. But, I did read through those as well.

Basic, readable primer for science principles. The version I had was published in 1990 but still seems relatively up to date on the controversies in the field. Seemed to provide a very clear cursory view of basic chemistry, fundamental laws and an introduction to quantum physics. Lots of analogy to help readers understand more difficult concepts. One of the best introductions I've seen that is able to take some really complex stuff and make it readable.

Makes a good read before diving into a more complex science book.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Science Matters Will Make You Scientifically Literate Sept. 14 2009
By Regis Schilken - Published on
Format: Paperback
Do you believe the hype about UFOs? Do you think it's just a matter of time until some clever inventor builds a machine that will allow us to reach the nearest star and its planetary system? Are you a believer that God created the entire universe in seven precious days?

If you engage in conversation in a cafeteria, or on the bus/subway, or at a PTA meeting, or at an office work conference, or wherever you happen to meet another individual, what you say about these matters may reflect to others a certain naiveté on you part. Or if you choose to remain silent as I sometimes do, you might feel somewhat stupid.

This would also be true if you feel global warming is a myth, or that the natural selection process of evolution isn't for real, or that science should solve the abortion issue once and for all by telling people when a spirit or soul enters the substance we call a fetus.

If any of the issues I just raised perplex, confuse, or annoy you, then Science Matters is the perfect book for you. This volume will explain in terms anyone can understand, the reasons why it is impossible for humans to ever reach the nearest star and improbable that UFOs could reach our planet.

In terms that any lay person could understand, the book reveals what evidence there is for the Big Bang that brought forth the universe. This is not to short-circuit anyone's belief in a Divine Creator-God, but it may support true believers who know that the Holy Bible is meant to be allegory, not science.

Science Matters can explain how two sex cells unite to develop into a fetus, but cannot scientifically tell when that globule becomes a human being.

This book explains such complicated concepts as the relationship between electricity and magnetism; how what we think we see or feel as solids, liquids, and gases, are made of almost infinitely small particles moving at tremendous speeds; how all life itself is made up of a genetic code. Most importantly, it speaks of the precious interrelationship of all life on earth and our responsibility to preserve it.

The authors of this book have an uncanny ability to take the most complicated concepts, explain them in simple, but realistic terms--often with diagrams. I found the section titled "Particle Zoo" rather comical. They say, "There are so many kinds of elementary particles that sometimes it's hard to tell the players without a scorecard."

When one considers the size of some of these particles, it appears they are, for the most part, wiffs of energy moving about in vast quantities of subatomic space. The conclusion can be drawn that what I typically assume is my desk (a solid), or my diet Coke (a liquid), or the air in my room (a gas), is nothing more than empty space.

I would highly recommend Science Matters, to everyone who loves to learn, who seeks to know. It is extremely easy to read and will make your feel comfortable about topics you've avoided when enjoined in conversation with others. You will not be an expert, but you can appear up-to-date and knowledgeable.

I would suggest that educators use Science Matters as a backup text for many formal classroom physics or chemistry books. You will surely find its explanations, definitions, and diagrams helpful. (Another interesting classroom science book: Punk Science: Inside the Mind of God)

Science raw is a puzzle or a maze.
But understood, can wipe away the haze!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great review for anyone- teachers too! Oct. 28 2012
By Beth S - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a high school chemistry/ physical science/ math teacher, I found the content of this book to be very approachable. I had the opportunity to read it as part of an online professional development course and am glad I did! I knew the biology/ ecology sections well, but the physical science concepts like quantum mechanics and electromagnetism weren't as familiar and I found the authors were quite knowledgeable on all the subjects. A great read for anyone wanting to know more about scientific concepts and for teachers who want to brush on on content they haven't seen in awhile.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Very good book, now upgraded Sept. 6 2009
By William A. Baity - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very good review of basic topics in science, as others have noted. Science is fast-moving and it is not clear that all sections are completely up-to-date. In the book version, the following problem is not an issue, because you can always leaf through the pages easily. The major problem for the Kindle is that there is no table of contents and thus no way to overview and skip from chapter to chapter - you have to go through the book page by page. Books should not be released for Kindles without tables of contents; it would have been a simple matter to add one. Of course, if a view inside the book had been provided, this omission might have been apparent; as it was, I had to return the book.
Update: this book has been released with a table of comments, and there is a view inside, so I have upgraded the review to five stars. Wow! They listened? Kudos! Thank- you to commenters on my original review.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Required reading! July 28 2013
By Eric Amberg - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Education unfortunately had decided that science does not matter. Dr. Hazen provides us with reasons to the contrary. Civilizations would certainly not have advanced to where we are today if science was put on a back shelf. And we run the risk of falling behind if students' curiosity is not perked. Dr. Hazen describing the threads of science clearly should incentivize us all to return to the fore and bring back science to mainstream education.