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Unweaving The Rainbow: Science, Delusion And The Appetite For Wonder
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Unweaving The Rainbow: Science, Delusion And The Appetite For Wonder

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4.01  ·  Rating details ·  9,017 Ratings  ·  215 Reviews
Did Newton "unweave the rainbow" by reducing it to its prismatic colors, as Keats contended? Did he, in other words, diminish beauty? Far from it, says acclaimed scientist Richard Dawkins; Newton's unweaving is the key to much of modern astronomy and to the breathtaking poetry of modern cosmology. Mysteries don't lose their poetry because they are solved: the solution ofte ...more
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Published September 30th 1999 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 1998)
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pausetowonder
The actual science bits in here are great. Learned heaps about the workings of light and colour, sound and hearing... was even reminded that the idea of "superstitious behavior" in animals is attributed to Skinner (and not, sadly, my own idea). Much geeky excitement experienced all round by yours truly. Dawkins does a fine job of explaining complex ideas clearly and well.

That's what was good about Unweaving the Rainbow.

Sadly, what feels like way more than half of the book was spent painstakingly
...more
Amanda
Nov 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone.
The first half or so was amazing, and the rest was still really interesting (especially the end), if not quite as exhilarating. At the same time, you have to remember that even that powerhouse of scientific poetry, Carl Sagan, had some dry chapters every now and then. Some dryness definitely doesn't make it any less worth the read, and its mild anyway. Overall, this book was extremely enjoyable, and a breeze to get through. 4.5 stars, will probably be 5 on the reread.
Gabrielam13
Cred că aceasta a devenit cartea mea preferată de la Dawkins. Spre deosebire de toate celalte pe care le-am citit, deși mi s-au părut la fel de interesante din punct de vedere al informațiilor prezentate, "Destrămarea curcubeului" este cea mai filosofică și lirică. Ceea ce, de fapt, este și ceea ce urmărește Dawkins: să prezinte argumente în favoarea poeticiății științei.

Contrar a ceea ce mulți cred, știința nu distruge magia lumii sau, cum ar spune Blaga, ea nu distruge ”corola de minuni a lumi
...more
Krista
Sep 25, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
One of the Goodreads reviews on this book relates, simply, that the writer of the review had been on a cruise ship with the author prior to reading the book. When she DID read the book, she regretted that she didn't "do some kind of small violence to his person" while on the cruise with him.

In many ways, that sums up my take beautifully. This was the most interesting book I've ever despised. Certainly, I have a brain not suited to the exigencies of science. But when he wasn't losing me in a web
...more
Michael
Jul 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a person unlearned--well, okay, let's be honest, frankly ignorant--in science, I enjoyed this wide-ranging book. Dawkins largely achieves his aim: to show that an understanding of the science of phenomena can create a sense of wonder equal to mythic or poetic metaphor, with a concomitant gain in understanding and an increased desire to know still more and to look askance at delusions that are unsupportable in light of what we know and continue to learn. Not every chapter is strong. The part o ...more
Steve
Sep 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science, favorites
Written a few years prior to The God Delusion, this book serves as a useful bridge for anyone familiar with Dawkins's atheist output but unfamiliar with his more scientific titles. His critics often like to portray him as arrogant, hectoring (or that other old chestnut: 'shrill') and overly absorbed with the cold clinical application of the scientific method. Well he may not be cuddly, and I may not agree with his approach to everything, but for the most part I find him genial, honorable and goo ...more
Gustavo
Nov 28, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A weak book from Dawkins. Regardless of his ideas being right or wrong, he is a bad writer, and here he is worse than ever. He stumbles from the banal to the sublime, to the complex to the simple, to the popular to the academic without even noticing that. One page you are reading a very important theory and in the next paragraph he goes on telling you about a trivial thing that has happened to him the day before. Sometimes pages and pages are spent trying to explain something not important, and ...more
Aracne Mileto
Apr 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Siempre es un placer leer a Dawkins, es un escritor que puede simplificar los conceptos más complejos y hacerte disfrutar de temas que a muchos les aburría de jóvenes: biología, química, física, etc (particularmente, yo aún no supero mis problemas con los vectores…).

Muchos piensan que la ciencia le quita el color a la vida con sus explicaciones complicadas y extensas, intentando arrebatarnos lo brillante y emocionante de lo desconocido. Pues este libro nos demuestra que la ciencia hace de todo m
...more
Sergio Flores Niklitschek
Un libro acerca de la capacidad que tiene la ciencia para maravillarnos con la realidad. Aprendí cómo funciona el modelo que nos fabrica el cerebro acerca de la realidad, y otras cosas interesantes. No dice cosas tan distintas a sus otros libros, pero escribe siempre con tanta rigurosidad e inteligencia
Elizabeth Rhea
In this mindblowing science-based philosophical text, Dawkins invites the reader to see wonder in a world which, though often counter-intuitive and surprising, invites deep understanding.

Though Dawkins is a skilled scientist, this text shows that he is equally impressive as a philosopher. In his case, science and philosophy are closely linked-- before beginning this text, I described my anticipation at reading "this Athiestic firecracker of a mind", and my hopes were not disappointed. Dawkins sk
...more
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“We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here.We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?” 1281 likes
“The feeling of awed wonder that science can give us is one of the highest experiences of which the human psyche is capable. It is a deep aesthetic passion to rank with the finest that music and poetry can deliver. It is truly one of the things that make life worth living and it does so, if anything, more effectively if it convinces us that the time we have for living is quite finite.” 153 likes
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