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The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing (Oxford Landmark Science) Paperback – 10 Sep 2009
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Some great stuff. Some not so great stuff. But, a LOT of stuff.Published 21 months ago by Paul Conway
I have read a lot of "popular" science writing recently so bought this book. Dawkins does not include any excerpts from his own books but does give an excellent... Read morePublished on 1 April 2014 by Mr. S. Lawless
This was a gift for my brother who wanted to learn a bit more about "science". Really great book by DawkinsPublished on 30 April 2013 by Slizzle