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Book Club 2010 & Prior > March Book Club Nominees

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message 1: by William (new)

William (acknud) The topic will be "History of the sciences"

Please post all nominees here. I will set up a poll for voting on 2/10/09.

My nomination goes to:

The Knife Man Blood, Body Snatching, and the Birth of Modern Surgery


message 2: by Dan (new)

Dan (djunger) | 25 comments That one looks intriguing. My nomination is for a work also in the scientific biography genre but dealing with history of geology:

The Seashell on the Mountaintop


message 3: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Black | 39 comments Not sure if this falls into the category of science history. It's about why Pluto got the axe as a planet, and the world's reaction to it.

The Pluto Files

The Knife Man Blood and Seashell also look good.




message 5: by William (new)

William (acknud) Tracy wrote: "Not sure if this falls into the category of science history. It's about why Pluto got the axe as a planet, and the world's reaction to it.

[b:The Pluto Files|1333520|The Pluto Files The Rise an..."


I think this would fall under astronomy. I'll put it in a folder for future reference.


message 7: by Gary (new)

Gary William wrote: "Tracy wrote: "Not sure if this falls into the category of science history. It's about why Pluto got the axe as a planet, and the world's reaction to it.

[b:The Pluto Files|1333520|The Pluto Files ..."


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Just checking in: Does this mean it is not being considered as a history of science as the other books are? Seems to me to fit the bill perfectly.


message 8: by William (new)

William (acknud) Gary wrote: "William wrote: "Tracy wrote: "Not sure if this falls into the category of science history. It's about why Pluto got the axe as a planet, and the world's reaction to it.

[b:The Pluto Files|1333520|..."


If you guys want to include it to vote on then that is fine with me. I just felt that the history of the modern movement to declassify Pluto was not quite old enough to be a "history". I may be wrong (and frequently am).


message 9: by Gary (new)

Gary
Reading the various descriptions and reviews, it looks like the book goes back to before the discovery of Pluto, and includes the history of planet classification.



message 10: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Black | 39 comments I haven't read the Pluto Files, so I'm not sure how much is history. So I'd like to nominate another book.

The Copernican Revolution: Planetary Astronomy in the Development of Western Thought

I know it sounds dry, but I'm familiar with the author, Thomas Kuhn. He wrote one of my favorite science history books.

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

This one also looks good

The Map That Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology






message 11: by William (new)

William (acknud) Are there anymore nominations?


message 12: by Jill (new)

Jill (wanderingrogue) | 10 comments Hmmm...Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, perhaps? That's a book on the history of several sciences.


message 13: by Gary (new)

Gary
That is a fantastic book.


message 16: by Andrea (last edited Feb 06, 2009 08:42PM) (new)


message 17: by JuliAnna (new)

JuliAnna | 37 comments Carolyn wrote: "Two nominations of books I'd like to read:
The Lady Tasting Tea How Statistics Revolutionized Science in the Twentieth Century..."


Boy, I never thought someone would recommend a history of stats book! This one is supposed to be both accessible and quite good. I can't wait to vote.




message 18: by Carolyn (last edited Feb 07, 2009 07:23AM) (new)

Carolyn Stein (carolynivystein) JuliAnna wrote: "Boy, I never thought someone would recommend a history of stats book! This one is supposed to be both accessible and quite good. I can't wait to vote."

I am finding books on mathematical history to be fascinating and surprisingly accessible. My husband originally suggested I focus on science, food, and math when we were reading up on the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Carthaginians (he focused on the military and political dimensions) and the result was a deep appreciation of the history of math that has carried me beyond ancient history.

The idea that math, like language, is limited by and influences the understanding of philosophy, religion, culture, and reality itself was an epiphany for me. It lifted math from the realm of the dry and practical or the esoteric and difficult. I've begun to realize that math transcends our humanity, allows us to look beyond our mind's limited abilities to comprehend reality and is intricately woven into the patterns of our minds. It seems like poetry spoken in another language.

Statistics, in particular, is interesting since it quantifies uncertainty, which is itself an epistemological advance. How did we ever get to the point where we could put numbers on the unknown and say that we think that there is this percentage chance that some proposition is true, rather than simply assessing truth or falsehood in a binary way? It seems to be a game-changing idea to me.

So I am also hoping that people will vote for this book. But even if they do not, I will come up with an excuse to add it to my sagging bookshelves.


message 19: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Black | 39 comments Carolyn wrote: I am finding books on mathe..."

Beautifully written. I also love math history. My most recent read was Mario Livio's The Golden Ratio. He has a new one that's in the reading queue, The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved. Prime Obsession also sounds good. I'm going to be reading myself blind with all the book ideas I'm getting from this group.




message 20: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Stein (carolynivystein) Hi Tracy!

I've put The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved How Mathematical Genius Discovered the Language of Symmetry on my list. Thanks for the recommendation.

Have you read Zero The Biography of a Dangerous Idea? It is also quite good.


message 21: by JuliAnna (new)

JuliAnna | 37 comments Carolyn wrote: "The idea that math, like language, is limited by and influences the understanding of philosophy, religion, culture, and reality itself was an epiphany for me."

I also find this fascinating, and it is wonderful to find others like you and Tracy who are interested in exploring these interrelationships.

It is funny, I earn my living teaching and using statistics, but I can't think of anyone who I work with wouldn't look at me as nuts if I tried to talk about how amazing it is that we (attempt to) "quantify uncertainty." But, I couldn't agree with you more.










message 22: by JuliAnna (new)

JuliAnna | 37 comments Carolyn wrote to Tracy: "Have you read Zero The Biography of a Dangerous Idea? It is also quite good. ."

This is a book that I have been saving for a rainy day. I have a special fondness for the concept of nothing.




message 23: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Black | 39 comments Carolyn wrote: "Hi Tracy!

I've put The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved How Mathematical Genius Discovered the Language of Symmetry. It's a textbook, and all the math is laid out along with the history, so I haven't read it cover to cover, but it is well written. It still gets heavy use as a reference. It's come in handy with many math history books I've read.





message 24: by AER (new)

AER (bioacoustics) | 10 comments I launch my vote to The Lady Tasting Tea.


message 25: by William (new)

William (acknud) The poll is now up!


message 26: by William (new)

William (acknud) A.A.E.R. wrote: "I launch my vote to The Lady Tasting Tea."

The poll is now up for you to vote.



message 27: by JuliAnna (new)

JuliAnna | 37 comments Tracy wrote: "...you might want to consider the book that sparked my interest, The History of Mathematics: An Introduction. It's a textbook, and all the math is laid out along with the history..."

I could actually use a bit of a math review right now, this could be a perfect combination. Thanks for the recommendation.


message 28: by William (new)

William (acknud) We are stuck at 26 votes! I know there are more than that that peruse this group! Currently A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson is leading the race.


message 29: by Dan (new)

Dan (djunger) | 25 comments Hmm, I'm not a big Bryson fan so I switched my vote to "The Lady Tasting Tea."

Would love to see some activity over in the "Invention of Air" thread ...


message 30: by William (new)

William (acknud) Dan wrote: "Hmm, I'm not a big Bryson fan so I switched my vote to "The Lady Tasting Tea."

Would love to see some activity over in the "Invention of Air" thread ..."


I just started it last night. I will comment soon!




message 31: by Tracy (new)

Tracy Black | 39 comments William,
How long is the poll going to be open?


message 32: by William (new)

William (acknud) Tracy wrote: "William,
How long is the poll going to be open? "


One week so I'll announce the winner in the am of 2/17/09.




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