Science and Inquiry discussion

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message 1: by Kim (new)

Kim | 14 comments I just joined the group and I'm wondering if it's still active. I see that there hasn't been any activity since October...is anyone out there?


message 2: by William (new)

William (acknud) I'm here. Just patiently waiting for others to be here.


message 3: by Kim (new)

Kim | 14 comments Ok, good. I was happy to see this group existed, but was worried when I noticed that there was no activity recently. Thanks for responding, William!


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 363 comments Yeah, I'm here.

Not reading any science at the moment, though. I think the last science I read was Spook Science Tackles the Afterlife, which was highly entertaining.


message 5: by Kim (new)

Kim | 14 comments Right now I'm reading Blink The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. Does that count as "science"? Has anyone else read it?


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 363 comments I haven't read that one. What is it about? Are you enjoying it?


message 7: by William (new)

William (acknud) I am currently reading The Body in Question. It is a fairly good read but I am paying more attention to my fiction reads at the present.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 363 comments I'm still reading non-fiction, but mostly biography and history just now. I'll come back to the science eventually, I always do.


message 9: by William (new)

William (acknud) The Body in Question

I just wanted to add a link to this.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 363 comments Are you enjoying it?


message 11: by William (new)

William (acknud) It's ok. I am right now in a section involving the religious aspects of healing and the previous thought that Monarchs were gifted in faith healing. I am not liking this section too much.


message 12: by Kim (new)

Kim | 14 comments Susanna wrote: "I haven't read that one. What is it about? Are you enjoying it?"

"Blink" is about the unconscious processing that goes on in our minds during the first glimpses of something or someone. Then I think it will discuss the quality of judgements made based on that processing (aka "hunches"). I'm currently only about 20 pages in, but I can let you know what I think as I go.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 363 comments As I was reading The Vertigo Years: Europe 1900-1914 last night, I found the section I was on (1903, I think) was all about physics in the period; the start of the Heroic Age, as it were. Very interesting.


message 14: by Kim (new)

Kim | 14 comments Ooh, I love science history. Very cool.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 363 comments It's an interesting book. 1904 was all about the Belgians' atrocities in the Congo, and European colonization in Africa during the period in general.


message 16: by JuliAnna (new)

JuliAnna | 37 comments Susanna, looks like it could be a very interesting book! I'm a big fan of books about intellectual, scientific and cultural transformations.

One question. You say, "1904 was all about the Belgians' atrocities in the Congo...." Is each chapter devoted to a year and a particular theme? Seems unusual, but it sounds like it mush be handled fairly well.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 363 comments Yeah, pretty much. Let me see... 1900 was about the world's fair in Paris, 1901 about aristocrats, 1902 about Austria and Dr. Freud and associated matters.

It's not the first book I'd give out to someone who didn't know anything about the period (that would probably be The Edwardian Turn of Mind First World War and English Culture), but it's interesting and keeping my attention.


message 18: by JuliAnna (last edited Jan 21, 2009 07:18AM) (new)

JuliAnna | 37 comments Thanks, Susanna. I know a little about the period, as I used to study literary modernism (in a galaxy far, far away). I've also read a little about physics at that time and about African colonialism and would like to read more, but I am hesitant to take on a whole book on either topic.

I'm currently working my way through a reader friendly, pop-science book on contemporary physics called Dreams of a Final Theory. Weinberg does a great job of explaining things, but it is still slow going for me if I try to really understand the physics. However, there is enough other interesting stuff in the book to make it a fairly quick and interesting read otherwise.

The 1902 chapter from Vertigo Years on Austria and Freud reminded me of a book I loved when I read it (which admittedly was years ago): Wittgenstein's Vienna. It is about culture and intellectual history in turn of the century Vienna. It definitely has a philosophy bent, as both authors are philosophers, one of them being a philosopher of science, Stepen J. Toulmin. I remember it being both accessible and very interesting. I keep thinking about re-reading it.


message 19: by Catarina (new)

Catarina (rina_cata) | 1 comments hi...I m here, too. Like philosophy, theory of art and digital art, history, psychology, anthropology and theory of natural sciences :)


message 20: by Dan (new)

Dan (djunger) | 25 comments Just joined ... does the group do any joint readings? The Steven Weinberg book JuliAnna mentioned looks like a good candidate for a group discussion.


message 21: by JuliAnna (last edited Jan 21, 2009 08:01AM) (new)

JuliAnna | 37 comments Dan wrote: "Just joined ... does the group do any joint readings?"

It looks like William is trying to organize this in another thread. He has put up a poll to decide on a topic.

While I like the Weinberg, it probably wouldn't be one of my top choices to discuss online...unless there were one or two folks participating with a better understanding of physics (the science and intellectual politics) and the patience and willingness to participate in a conversation with undereducated folks like me.


message 22: by Kim (new)

Kim | 14 comments I would be willing to participate in a joint read. Any science topic will work for me, really.

You know, there is a book that I've been eyeing: Physics for Future Presidents The Science Behind the Headlines by Richard A. Muller. Muller teaches a physics class that is targeted to students who know no physics. Check it out; it might be one to consider for a group read.


message 23: by Dan (new)

Dan (djunger) | 25 comments Physics for Future Presidents sounds like a timely choice in the new Obama era! I'd be willing to give that one a try.

As an alternative or future choice, since history of science is leading in the poll right now, I've heard a lot of good things about The Invention of Air.

Logistical question -- is there someone in the group who makes an "official" decision about a group read, or is it pretty much just a democratic choice?


message 24: by JuliAnna (last edited Jan 21, 2009 09:25AM) (new)

JuliAnna | 37 comments Dan wrote: "
Logistical question -- is there someone in the group who makes an "official" decision about a group read, or is it pretty much just a democratic choice?"


In my other groups, we take nominations (sometimes after selecting a theme), followed by a poll, and we discuss the winner. The discussions are usually more successful if there is a discussion leader for each book that keeps things going.


message 25: by JuliAnna (new)

JuliAnna | 37 comments I like the idea of starting with a book that isn't too dense for the first group read.

Physics for Future Presidents sounds like it might help me with the fundamentals and be a good group read for the non-physicists in the group.

According to the poll, most folks seem to be interested in the history of science, which makes The Invention of Air a good choice. I loved The Ghost Map by the same author.


message 26: by JuliAnna (new)

JuliAnna | 37 comments It looks like William is taking care of putting together a list of books and posting a poll. He is asking folks to send any titles they would like included.

Thanks, William!


message 27: by Peter (last edited Jan 21, 2009 03:44PM) (new)

Peter Macinnis Aha! So we're awake? Good. I'm still here and willing to follow. At the moment, I am reading several Australian books (hard for others to access) and Reading the Rocks: The Autobiography of the Earth.


message 28: by Carolyn (new)

Carolyn Ivy (carolynivystein) I'm here as well. I love most books on science. I have a soft spot for history of science, biology, skepticism, neuroscience, and chemistry. I also love books on technologies.

My preference is to read books that are available electronically for the Kindle, since it is the primary way I read these days.


message 29: by Peter (new)

Peter Macinnis I decry the lack of reading about geology these days. In 'Victorian Britain', Sally Mitchell says Harriet Martineau reported that by the 1830s, the middle classes were buying five times as many books on geology as they were novels.


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