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The Science Magpie: A Hoard of Fascinating Facts, Stories, Poems, Diagrams and Jokes, Plucked from Science and Its History by Flynn, Simon (2012) Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Icon Books Ltd
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,093,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 2 Sept. 2014
I absolutely loved this book. Miscellanies like this can be very trying if poorly done, with uninspiring or patronising rehashes of familiar stories, a lot of gee-whizzery and jokes that aren't nearly as funny as they think they are. Simon Flynn has avoided all that and produced a delightful pot-pourri of science-related snippets which, for me, gets the tone exactly right. It is enthusiastic and witty without being gushing or flippant and the sheer variety of stuff here is a delight.

Each "article" is brief - the longest are five or six pages, covering things like Galileo's dispute with the Holy See, Darwin's impact or Einstein's ideas about Relativity. If you want a detailed examination of any of these things, this isn't the place to look, but for a really well-written, engaging summary of the important points with the odd interesting aside it's brilliant. For example, Flynn makes sure to mention Milton's visit to Galileo while he was under house arrest as well as giving a excellent summary of Galileo's dispute, complete with a translation of his famous Recantation - and all in four short pages. I have studied all this at university and have actually read quite a lot of Galileo's writing and I still found the section fresh and fascinating. Other bits are so varied it's impossible to give an overall flavour, but they include things like radioactive decay, a spoof of Shelley's Ozymandias, the meaning of the Richter Scale, and so on. There are even some good jokes scattered throughout the book.

Some reviewers have criticised the book for having too much literature and not enough hard science, and for jumping from one topic to another in a jumbled way.
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