Top critical review
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Snacks and nibbles
on 8 July 2014
The book contains 150 short (1-4 pages usually) responses to "what is your favourite deep, elegant, or beautiful explanation?"
It's a convenient format to dip into and there are some interesting contributions.
However, given the book's bold title, I expected more. I was hoping for something like the mathematical "Proofs from the book", which focuses on elegant short proofs which end with a bang, leave you astounded, jaw dropped, perhaps slowly shaking your head (or wanting to drown the proof's "perpetrator", as legend does for the Pythagorean disciple who proved there are irrational numbers).
Too many contributions focused on "deep" theories, and took themselves too seriously. Many of the others were more reminiscent of "Rockstars on god" entries.
Also, quantum mechanics, evolution, etc etc aren't such new ideas. Sure, they're not "understood" and are very active areas of research, but most contributions aren't focused on the cutting edge within these subjects. The blurb gives the impression they are.
Anyway overall my hopes for the book were naive. Time (and money) better spent elsewhere.