May 28, 2020

Friday Review: Gulp. By Mary Roach

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Author Mary Roach has a knack for taking our modern manicured life and looking just underneath its surface for the truly bizarre. Fans of this space will remember our review of her previous space-based opus, Packing for Mars. For her latest adventure, the author takes us from the depths of outer space to the brave new worlds of inner space as we explore the digestive tract, literally from one end to the other. [Read more...]

Acid Tongues & Tranquil Dreamers by Michael White.

A Science History Classic!

Nobody has egos like scientists. Behind the neat tidy history of modern science we teach today lies the messy secret stories of arguments, vendettas and snubs of both the victors and the vanquished.  Hey, you’d think that scientists would be enlightened souls, not fallible mortals prone to petty envy like the rest of us… [Read more...]

Review: A More Perfect Heaven by Dava Sobel.

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Behind every great scientific mind is a good publicist. This week, we look at one of the greatest, Nicholas Copernicus and the revolution in heliocentric thinking that sparked the Renaissance movement that became modern astronomy. The life and turbulent times of Copernicus is elegantly laid out in Dava Sobel’s new book, A More Perfect Heaven, How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos out from Walker & Company Books. [Read more...]

Review: Magick, Mayhem & Mavericks by Cathy Cobb.

A Classic!

Science history books are some of our favorite tomes to review. Far from being the tidy linear progression of rules and paradigms that we’re presented in High School science, the history of our current knowledge is has often been messy and hard won. And unlike political history that is often re-written by the victor, scientific history has pin-point, objective moments. Sure, we don’t know who that first Neolithic Einstein was that figured out how to smelt metal from ore, but we do know when Newton first worked out his laws of motion, or when the Laws of Thermodynamics were conceived. [Read more...]

Review: Seeing Further Edited by Bill Bryson.

Few realize in this relatively enlightened age that our outlook on the world around us has been shaped by a pioneering few who often went against the grain. This week, we look at Seeing Further: The Story of Science, Discovery, & the Genius of the Royal Society. This collection of essays traces the 350 year history of the British Royal Society, first established in 1660. Over the years, the Society has hosted such luminaries as Isaac Newton, Joseph Banks, and Francis Crick, to name a very brief few.

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Review: The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes.

Every once in a while, a book crosses our nightstand that just makes us say “Wow…” We then have to ration out this discovered gem, lest we burn the midnight oil and consume it in one lost weekend…

Such a discovery came to us in the form of recent book The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes. Out by Pantheon Books, this huge opus does nothing short of charting the course of science through the early 1800’s. From Joseph Banks to William Herschel to Humphrey Davies, many a fascinating untold tale is contained in this book. I explicitly saved this book for reading during our Ecuador trek late last year, as adventure travel deserves good reading to go along with it. Each of these tales are an engaging read, and cover such diverse fields as astronomy, chemistry, anthropology, and botany. Of course, since this is an astronomically based blog, the chapters on William Herschel came first. [Read more...]