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The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing (Oxford Landmark Science) Paperback – 10 Sep 2009

4.5 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; Reprint edition (10 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199216819
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199216819
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 3.3 x 15.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 20,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

A compendium of some of the most illuminating thinking of the past 100 years. (Eureka, The Times)

A feast for many long evenings. (Katie Owen, The Sunday Telegraph)

Engaging selection. (Christopher Hirst, The Independent)

Richard Dawkins has done a wonderful job. (Nicholas Lezard, Saturday Guardian)

Stunning anthology. (The Times)

About the Author

Richard Dawkins is the first holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, and a Fellow of New College, Oxford. His bestselling books include The God Delusion (2006); The Selfish Gene (1976); The Extended Phenotype (1982); The Blind Watchmaker (1986); Unweaving the Rainbow (1998); and The Ancestor's Tale (2004). Dawkins is a Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Literature. He is the recipient of numerous honours and awards, including the 1987 Royal Society of Literature Award, the 1990 Michael Faraday Award of the Royal Society, the 1994 Nakayama Prize, the 1997 International Cosmos Prize for Achievement in Human Science, the Kistler Prize in 2001, and the Shakespeare Prize in 2005.


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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a varied collection of articles by just about every great modern science writer you can think of. The articles range in size from about 8 pages to as little as half a page, and each is preceded by a short, interesting introduction by Dawkins.

I read a lot of popular science books so inevitably there were a few items which I had already read, but it was nice to be reminded of them, such as Haldane's delightful poem which begins with the words "I wish I had the voice of Homer, to sing of rectal carcinoma!" The items vary considerably in difficulty - some could be understood by a child, others require concentration - and some topics were familiar to me, others were not, so although all the articles are good it is inevitable that the reader will enjoy some articles much more than others. They also vary considerably in subject matter - some are about what science has discovered, others about how scientists work, or the philosophy of science, or amusing anecdotes.

I think anyone interested in Science should get a lot out of the book, and I have been stimulated to seek out more writing by some of the authors. Highly recommended.
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By Big Jim TOP 100 REVIEWER on 27 Jun. 2008
Format: Hardcover
This mighty tome makes excellent bedside reading. You are unlikely to have the musclepower to take this commuting or to the beach (need to wait for the paperback edition for that) but propped up in bed with a cup of cocoa/glass of whisky (delete as appropriate) by your side, this is an excellent book for dipping into and as a previous reviewer says, will encourage you to seek out the books the excerpts come from. In this regard may I be so bold as to recommend any of the books by Richard Feynman. Dawkins himself supplies witty and erudite introductions to each essay so all in all there is absolutely nothing to criticise in this book - unless you hate science that is and even then this book might convince you otherwise.
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Format: Hardcover
As one who is convinced that Spinoza's monism provides the philosophical basis for all the sciences, reading The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing and seeing Spinoza's view (that God and Nature are one and the same thing, under the dual aspects of thought and matter) confirmed over and over again was enthralling.

While reading it I repeatedly inserted markers into articles that I wished to re-read. In fact, I shall probably read the whole book again and refer to it repeatedly. What particularly fascinated me was the revelation that a quantum of energy appears to us under two aspects: as a wave or as a particle, but never both at the same time. This discovery accords perfectly with Spinoza's dual aspect theory.

My selection of five-star articles is as follows: 'Life Itself', by Francis Crick;`One Self: a Meditation on the Unity of Consciousness' by Nicholas Humphrey; `The Language Instinct', by Steven Pinker; `Avoid Boring People' by James Watson; `Consciousness Explained' by Daniel Dennett; `The Fantastic Combinations of John Conway's new solitaire game "Life"' by Martin Gardner; `Computing Machinery and Intelligence' by Alan Turing; `The Goldilocks Enigma' by Paul Davies; `The Elegant Universe' by Bryan Green, and `Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid' by Douglas Hofstadter.

Having been brought up in an evangelical environment, and having had a taste of Roman Catholicism as well, I can only say that there is no contest between the brilliance, lucidity, humility and open-mindedness of the scientists quoted in this anthology and the tendentious, hubristic, convoluted, ill-founded speculations of theologians - few of whom will have the courage to read this book.

The introductions by Richard Dawkins are excellent.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book. The level of the writing and the subject matter chosen by Dr. Dawkins are truly great. This book has already "forced" me to purchase a number of other books there are excerpted in the text ...

I have read all of his other books and enjoyed them very much, so when I saw that Dr. Dawkins had a new book only available in the UK, I ordered it from Amazon UK for a scary shipping charge. I couldn't wait for the U.S. edition. It was well worth it! I've read many collections of non-fiction writing. This one is outstanding. Another coup for Dr. Dawkins in the effort to help the public understand science.

Each excerpt from longer pieces (mostly books) in this book is preceded by an interesting essay-let where Dr. Dawkins gives historical, literary, scientific, and sometimes personal setting for the piece. These, as always from Dr. Dawkins, are superbly well written.

Highly recommended, enjoy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An excellent collection of the writings of some of the greatest names in science of the last 100 years, or so. The excerpts are divided into four sections; 1. What scientists study; 2. Who scientists are; 3. What scientists think and 4. What scientists delight in. There is, perhaps understandably, a definite bias toward evolutionary and biological sciences but there should be enough breadth to entertain anyone who has an interest in science, whatever their preferred subject.

To lift a quote from Sagan's excellent The Demon-Haunted World, which I happen to own already; "Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality.". A fact that will not be lost on anyone who reads this collection.
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