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The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing Paperback – Nov 19 2009
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Review from previous edition: "A brilliant collection... If you could only ever read one science book, this should probably be it." --New Scientist 01/03/2008
"The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing edited by Richard Dawkins, come up trumps... It is to be hoped that many will not only read this excellent volume but will then go on to read in their entirety some of the individual works themeselves. That is the ultimate success of any anthology." --Mary Strickland. Chemistry World May 2008
"A sparkling anthology." --David Sinclair, Tribune 18/04/08
"The book makes for a fascinating browse, but it could also inspire as a bed-time volume, filling the readers' dreams with exploding stars and tiny atoms." --Peter Ranscombe, The Scotsman 19/04/08
"This is a superb collection... it's a damn good read even if you're only marginally interested in science. I love this book...it's a must-read that will surely make a major contribution to the public understanding of science." --BBC Focus (science and technology). John Gribbin 01/05/08
"For the science-savvy. it's like a gigantic prize-giving-cum-back-slap. For the science-phobic, it's a banner-waving call to come on in and give it a try." --Jonathan Gibbs, Metro London 19.03.08
"Beautiful volume...A labour of love." --Steven Poole, The Guardian 26/04/2008
"A glorius celebration of literary scientists." --Harry Richie Mail on Sunday 30/03/2008
"It is a real treasure trove of unexpected pleasures." --Sunday Telegraph. Kenan Malik 13/04/2008
"This isn't Dawkins as the centre of attention but as a benign and generous guide to the best science writing, with commentaries from the master." --Peter Forbes, The Independent 16 May 2008
About the Author
Richard Dawkins is the first holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, and a Fellow of New College, Oxford. His bestselling books include The God Delusion (2006); The Selfish Gene (1976); The Extended Phenotype (1982); The Blind Watchmaker (1986); Unweaving the Rainbow (1998); and The Ancestor's Tale (2004). Dawkins is a Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Literature. He is the recipient of numerous honours and awards, including the 1987 Royal Society of Literature Award, the 1990 Michael Faraday Award of the Royal Society, the 1994 Nakayama Prize, the 1997 International Cosmos Prize for Achievement in Human Science, the Kistler Prize in 2001, and the Shakespeare Prize in 2005.
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Top Customer Reviews
This would be a great Christmas gift for anyone with a broad general interest in science, whether or not they had any formal education in these fields of study.
An eye opener, even for the most open minded and scientifically minded among us, this book was a joy for me to read and a source of exquisite literary jewels to which I will surely come back, frequently.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
While reading it I repeatedly inserted markers into articles that I wished to re-read. In fact, I shall probably read the whole book again and refer to it repeatedly. What particularly fascinated me was the revelation that a quantum of energy appears to us under two aspects: as a wave or as a particle, but never both at the same time. This discovery accords perfectly with Spinoza's dual aspect theory.
My selection of five-star articles is as follows: `Life Itself', by Francis Crick; `One Self: a Meditation on the Unity of Consciousness' by Nicholas Humphrey; `The Language Instinct', by Steven Pinker; `Avoid Boring People' by James Watson; `Consciousness Explained' by Daniel Dennett; `The Fantastic Combinations of John Conway's new solitaire game "Life"' by Martin Gardner; `Computing Machinery and Intelligence' by Alan Turing; `The Goldilocks Enigma' by Paul Davies; `The Elegant Universe' by Bryan Green, and `Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid' by Douglas Hofstadter.
Having been brought up in an evangelical environment, and having had a taste of Roman Catholicism as well, I can only say that there is no contest between the brilliance, lucidity, humility and open-mindedness of the scientists quoted in this anthology and the tendentious, hubristic, convoluted, ill-founded speculations of theologians - few of whom will have the courage to read this book.
The introductions by Richard Dawkins are excellent. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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The book is divided into four parts, as Dawkins organizes the vast wealth of science writing available not in chronological order, but groups the extracts into the following categories: "What Scientists Study," "Who Scientists Are," "What Scientists Think," "What Scientists Delight in." Organizing it this ways serves to make the book more entertaining in the variety of subjects that are presented when the book is read from cover to cover. Should the reader want to use the book more as a reference tool or to look up some specific authors or terms, there is a thorough index at the end of the book. With each extract, Dawkins offers up his own commentary and reason for choosing the specific piece.
All the great scientists make an appearance here: Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, Francis Crick, Brian Greene, Jared Diamond, Richard Feynman, Carl Sagan, Primo Levi, the list goes on and on. But this list is not reserved for the greats of science, but many of the women and men who have worked hard in their lives to further the knowledge of science in areas such as genetics, evolution, string theory, relativity, and mathematics. The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing is a weighty, comprehensive book with almost everything science has had to offer in the last hundred years or so, and while it may not be for the science novice, the ideas, theories, and hypotheses expressed in this book have reshaped science, and offered up hope and ideals for future answers and theories that will continue to change the world as we know it.
Find more reviews, as well as a selection of my writing, and a link to the book review podcast BookBanter at[..]