The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science
With the singular intelligence and exuberance that made Woman an international sensation, Natalie Angier takes us on a whirligig tour of the scientific canon. She draws on conversations with hundreds of the world's top scientists and on her own work as a...more
Chapter One: "Oh, interesting. I'd never thought about it that way before. Ha ha, clever." *giggles*
Chapter Two: "I had forgotten about that!" *feels superior for remembering the basics of probability* *chuckles at a drawn out word play*
Chapter Three: "Huh, that's neat." (100th bad pun.) *crickets*
Chapter Four: "I can't see the science for all of the terrible 'funny jokes'."
Chapter Five: *feels the need to assault someone*
Chapter Six: "YOU CANNOT POSSIBLY BE SERIO...more
She just has this writing style that, well... it just makes me want to scream.
"Peppers" isn't even the appropriate word. She sort of... "vomits...more
The more I learn about the history of science, the more I realize why it has such a precarious, semi-mystical reputation with so much of the general public by now; because when the modern "scientific process" was first formed in the 1600s, the first few generations of "scientists" were starting almost...more
If this is the only way to popularize science, let's leave it unpopular.
But really, science background or not, this book is written like a kids book -- except with "witty" phrases every damn sentence instead of illustrations. I might not have had as much of a problem with it had I felt like she intended to...more
The entire idea of the book is to teach science and yet I found myself floundering in a rant about how more people should just learn science and go into science and people really need to start valuing science and for...more
The overwhelming bulk of our mortal cargo--the carbon in our cells, the calcium in our bones, the iron in our blood, the electrolytes of sodium and potassium that allow our hearts to beat and our cells to fire--was stoked in the furnaces of far larger stars than ours and splattered into the cosmic compost when those stars explo
Me reading this book was like a fish going to a lecture about why water is important. In other words, Angier is preaching to the converted. But, even if I didn't already consider science fascinating and amazing and completely utterly awesome, I'd soon come around to that point of view. The chapter on physics made my day; the chemistry chapter would have made last year's science class much more interesting; the astronomy chapter was a tad belabored, though no amount of repeti...more
She uses similes and "cleverly" written conversational comments and she doesn't stop, there are 1-5 on every single page. These phrases have no value, they don't help illustrate or clarify a concept; they just comes across as oh-so-clever. That's okay once in a while, and I understand the desir...more
"Science is not a body of facts. Science is a state of mind. It is a way of viewing the world, of facing reality square on but taking nothing on its face. It is about attacking a problem with the mos...more
With the intelligence and exuberance that rocketed Woman to international acclaim, best-selling science writer Natalie Angier distills the scientific canon to the absolute essentials in a work that is both entertaining and inspiring. Angier interviewed hosts of scientists, posing the simple question What do you wish everyone knew about science? The Canon provides their answers, covering the fundamentals of the hard sciences: scientific process, probability, calibration, physics, chemis...more
Another thing that really ann...more
Execution: Writer joylessly pleasures herself to the sound of her own voice, interspersing the occasional scientific anecdote between the constant sodomy of puns and allusions. "Ooooh, maybe if I use the word pernicious again someone will buy a microscope!"
The book is often...more
She doesn't try to review all the basic tenets of each scientific discipline. But she does get to the root of the science, and in an engaging, enthusiastic fashion. She's interested in science in general and always in the immediate topic at hand (well, at least it reads that way).
And it read well both for the disciplines where I'm clueless, and for the ones where I'm ever-so-slightly clued-in. And...more
Highly poetic, but aggravatingly dumbed down!
This book seems targeted towards scientifically illiterate adults.
The well-informed reader will be weeping tears of boredom by the middle of the introduction, and cringing every few sentences at poor analogies, unforgivable rhymes, etc.
List of complaints:
- Bad jokes, lame rhymes. I get that you're a fun person, stop trying so hard to convince me with kitschy prose!
- Defending the pseudoscience of acupuncture.
- Messing up the...more
Pulitzer Prize-winner Natalie Angier (Woman: An Intimate Geography), a science journalist at the New York Times, was writing an article on whale genetics when her editor suggested that she define the term mammal for her readers and confirm that mammals are animals. That was the last straw for Angier, who nevertheless writes with respect for The Canon's intended audience. She incorporates imaginative metaphors, concise analogies, and jokes into her writing, which result in clear and accessible ex...more