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message 1: by David (new)

David Rubenstein | 906 comments Mod
The thing I like best about goodreads.com, is finding new books to read. If you have recently read a good book related to the Science and Inquiry topic, let us know about it here, in this thread. Or, if you prefer, put it into the Science and Inquiry Bookshelf. My list of "to read" books is long and growing, but I always like to add more to the list!

Also, if you have read a book that you did not like, post it here, so that others can know about it.


message 2: by David (last edited May 29, 2010 06:47AM) (new)

David Rubenstein | 906 comments Mod
I guess, since nobody else is jumping in to this thread, I will begin here. I really enjoyed the book:
Fearful Symmetry: Is God a Geometer? by Ian Stewart and Martin Golubitsky.

This is a wonderful book, not exactly about things that are symmetric, but the much more interesting question, how things BREAK symmetry. There are lots and lots of illustrations that bring the topic to life. The very first photograph is of a milk drop falling into a saucer of milk. The circular wave centered around the point where the drop hit the surface rises as a crown. The crown has 24 spikes and droplets--so there is 24-fold symmetry. The reason there is ALWAYS a 24-fold symmetry seems to be a mystery.

The book covers so many different subject areas; geometry, astronomy and cosmology, fluid dynamics, biology, nonlinear dynamics, and more. One of the most fascinating chapters was about the gaits of animals, and how animals change from one gait to another (like from trot to canter, and so on). Highly recommended to everyone who is interested in the natural world.


message 3: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited May 29, 2010 11:35AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 368 comments Last night I finished Aladdin's Lamp: How Greek Science Came to Europe Through the Islamic World.

It was interesting, but was rather dense (a nearly unending sequence of "Scientist blah blah (date-date) translated X Y and Z, and did this and that. Paragraph. Scientist whoever (date-date) (Known as Shazaam to medieval Europe) translated Q and F, and was court astrologer."

It also had some organizational problems.


message 4: by S. (last edited Jun 01, 2010 06:57AM) (new)

S. (salvatrice) So far, my favorite science-for-fun book is
Faust in Copenhagen: A Struggle for the Soul of Physics.
It was my first introduction science history (and to a lot of the scientist). A person with more advanced knowledge of physics may not get as much out it, but even so there's an interesting approach to the history and is very well written.


message 5: by Sandra (new)

Sandra (slortiz) | 60 comments Now that sounds like something I would like too. One of my fav science reads has been the recommended book by Dava Sobel about latitude/longitude, (though I no longer remember what I learned in it). I suppose I should read it again. I enjoyed The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes too, but got bored with the constant attempt to tie these scientists and their ideas to Keats, Byron, Shelley et al. Think he kind of over-stated his case. Actually some of the best history-of-science stuff I have read has been in that historical fiction trilogy by Neal Stephenson. It was a good preface to the Holmes book as it dealt with the Enlightenment period prior to the age of Romance.


message 6: by S. (new)

S. (salvatrice) Sandra wrote: "one of my fav science reads has been the recommended book by Dava Sobel about latitude/longitude"

the Sobel book is right at the top of my TBR pile...I was kindof hoping it would be a group read at some point, but I think too many people have already read it! I loved her galileo book.


message 7: by Sandra (new)

Sandra (slortiz) | 60 comments Is that the book written from the perspective of Galileo's daughter? I don't think I realized it was by Dava Sobel. It's got to be good then.


message 8: by David (new)

David Rubenstein | 906 comments Mod
Sandra wrote: "... Actually some of the best history-of-science stuff I have read has been in that historical fiction trilogy by Neal Stephenson. It was a good preface to the Holmes book as it dealt with the Enlightenment period prior to the age of Romance. "

Sandra, I agree; the trilogy by Neal Stephenson was excellent. After reading it, I had a good feeling for science in that era. I still remember--I think it was in the first book, "Quicksilver", when the minutes of a Royal Society meeting were being read. It was absolutely hilarious. Many of the scenes in the trilogy were uproariously funny, and very clever.


message 9: by Sandra (new)

Sandra (slortiz) | 60 comments It was quite a commitment of time and energy as Stephenson's books are such huge tomes, but I was recuperating from an illness at the time, and had nothing better to do. The trilogy did not disappoint. When I became re-acquainted with the Royal Society via the Holmes book, it was rather like returning to some old friends. I also had occasion to read some historical book about pirating and the spice trade, and that was also some of the same territory covered by Stephenson. The man must know something about everything.


message 10: by S. (new)

S. (salvatrice) Sandra wrote: "Is that the book written from the perspective of Galileo's daughter? I don't think I realized it was by Dava Sobel. It's got to be good then."

yes. it's a history based on the letters from his daughter. too bad the letters he wrote her were never preserved, but you get a good perspective of the history from the letters he saved.


message 11: by Patricrk (new)

Patricrk patrick | 136 comments Pandora's Seed The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization by Spencer Wells Spencer Wells The teaser I saw made this sound interesting? Anyone read it yet?


message 12: by Sandra (new)

Sandra (slortiz) | 60 comments This should definitely go on the list!


message 13: by Greta (new)

Greta Fisher (bougenviilea) | 19 comments I'm looking for an up to date book on climate change geared towards laypeople like myself. Enjoyed "the Weather Makers",by Tim Flannery ,but that particular book is getting to be a bit old now. Any Suggestions?


message 14: by Betsy, co-mod (new)

Betsy | 1725 comments Mod
Greta wrote: "I'm looking for an up to date book on climate change geared towards laypeople like myself. "

There's a Goodreads group on climate change. Have you tried that? Doesn't look like they've been too active recently, but they might still have some books mentioned.


message 15: by Greta (new)

Greta Fisher (bougenviilea) | 19 comments Betsy wrote: "Greta wrote: "I'm looking for an up to date book on climate change geared towards laypeople like myself. "

There's a Goodreads group on climate change. Have you tried that? Doesn't look like the..."

Thanks Betsy- looked at the 2 groups and found several books I might like.


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