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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 July 2012
The Science of the Discworld III is another highly readable book from Pratchett, Stewart and Cohen that uses the interaction between the Discworld and the Wizards accidental `roundworld' universe to teach some interesting ideas about evolution.

The story is set on the Discworld. The Wizards of Unseen University have accidentally created a universe. But this is a universe without magic, where worlds are spherical rather than discs. They set about observing this universe from its creation through to the formation of life. This time around the Wizards are interested in evolution, and the ideas of a certain C. Darwin.

Each chapter of the entertaining and usually hilarious Discworld story from Pratchett alternates with a chapter of real science from Stewart and Cohen (both great communicators with wry senses of humour) which explains in our terms what just happened in the Discworld story.

It's well written, easy to follow, introduced me to many scientific concepts that I did not know about previously, and is probably the most educational book I have ever read. So many of the ideas and explanations were firmly lodged in my mind after reading this, many more than remain from my student days, when I was supposed to be studying this kind of thing! (But which I didn't really study too hard because I spent most of my time reading Terry Pratchett books...)

The one niggle here is that it doesn't flow quite as well as the previous two book. This feels like a set of essays strung together rather than a uniform piece, and Pratchett's Discworld short story never quite seems to catch fire. But it's a minor point, it is only compared to previous books that this feels a little weak, it is still a strong and educational read in it's own right.

It's an excellent book, one that I recommend. 4 stars.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 25 July 2012
The Science of the Discworld II is another highly readable book from Pratchett, Stewart and Cohen that uses the interaction between the Discworld and the Wizards accidental `roundworld' universe to teach some interesting ideas about evolution. The first book covered physics pretty well, it is good to see that the authors have found something new and interesting to discuss in this latest tome.

The story is set on the Discworld. The Wizards of Unseen University have accidentally created a universe. But this is a universe without magic, where worlds are spherical rather than discs. They set about observing this universe from its creation through to the formation of life. Sometime after the events of the previous books, elves have managed to infest the roundworld and are playing merry hell with the concept of storytelling. It is up to the Wizards to see that things take their natural course, and a certain W. Shakespeare gets born.

Each chapter of the entertaining and usually hilarious Discworld story from Pratchett alternates with a chapter of real science from Stewart and Cohen (both great communicators with wry senses of humour) which explains in our terms what just happened in the Discworld story.

It's well written, easy to follow, introduced me to many scientific concepts that I did not know about previously, and is probably the most educational book I have ever read. So many of the ideas and explanations were firmly lodged in my mind after reading this, many more than remain from my student days, when I was supposed to be studying this kind of thing! (But which I didn't really study too hard because I spent most of my time reading Terry Pratchett books...)

It's an excellent book, one that I highly recommend. 5 stars unreservedly.
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on 6 June 2014
As one who was trained and worked in the arts this series is invaluable. It explains in ways that even an arts person can understand if s/he makes a little effort. The inclusion of Shakespeare and of literature generally and its relationship to the sciences makes it the sort of wide ranging book (series) that many will find informative without being patronising. It is a great pity that this melding of arts and sciences and of the humanities and social science is not more commonly available. Most of my generation were brought up to see arts and sciences as profoundly different and, to borrow from Kipling, never the twain should meet. This is, of course, nonsense for science, like art, is all around us and part of our everyday existence. Whilst I think the fourth in the series is the best of them this (and the other two) is an excellent and informative read. It caused me, like the crab civilisation to make the great jump sideways.
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on 8 September 2013
You need to be a real Pratchett fan to persist with this one. The Discworld ''short'' story alternates with the science chapters by the co-authors. Each successive science chapter seems to get longer and longer as well as more complex with some pretty heavy science concepts included. These need careful reading even for someone with some science background but would probably lose anyone without. and the link with Terry's Discworld story gets a bit lost at times as the co-authors get into their stride. Because of the science input, the book ( hardback) is large though Terry's Discworld story is basically short but entertaining non the less.
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on 21 October 2017
I do love the Discworld series so have bought a few of the add on stuff including the first two Science Of... books which were great and this third is no exception. Cleverly written, highly engaging and really interesting.
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on 8 April 2014
As with the other SoD books, Darwin's Watch alternates chapters by Pratchett set on the Discworld where a set of very confused wizards (is there another type?) try to figure out what's going on in the Round World they've accidentally created, with chapters explaining the science behind it written by professors Cohen & Stewart. As you can probably deduce from the title, the primary theme is that of evolution and how our views of it have changed over the years but also how science and the "scientific method" work in general.
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on 26 October 2014
Physics, philosophy, religion... you name it, this book has it. I consider myself to be very bright (other people think so too), and this book blew my mind. It is so clever. I don't really understand how so many disciplines can be taken apart and reconstructed in a single book, by just three guys. And one of them is in it for the laughs. This is an exceptional piece of work. It doesn't even use big words...
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on 17 February 2013
I bought this book because Terry Pratchett always entertains while at the same time skewing my worldview causing me to awaken to ridiculous assumptions and, usually therefore, discarding them. The fact that Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen are absolute geniuses is a bonus. It should be mandatory reading in all schools.
If I had friends, relatives or even acquaintances intelligent enough to appreciate this book, I would certainly recommend it.
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on 17 February 2013
I bought this book because Terry Pratchett always entertains while at the same time skewing my worldview causing me to awaken to ridiculous assumptions and, usually therefore, discarding them. The fact that Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen are absolute geniuses is a bonus. It should be mandatory reading in all schools.
If I had friends, relatives or even acquaintances intelligent enough to appreciate this book, I would certainly recommend it.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 29 April 2016
A light hearted mixture of fiction and science fact. If anyone wanted to learn some factual science but was frightened of being bored, or thinks it is too hard, then read these books. You would not be disappointed.
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