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Customer Review

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Theories That Guide Us, 4 April 2011
This review is from: 30-Second Theories: The 50 Most Thought-provoking Theories in Science (Hardcover)
As a theoretical physicist I am oftentimes at pains to explain to people what is it that I actually do. Theory is a loaded term, and it has different meaning depending on the context in which it is used. The colloquial meaning suggests little more than an elaborate opinion, oftentimes not easily refutable. However, in the minds of most scientists theories are the most refined sets of principles that have been validated through many quite rigorous scientific means, and have come to dominate whole sections of the ways that we view the world around us.

Anyone with some degree of post-secondary education is probably familiar with at least some of the theories that are covered in this book. Many others could be easily explained with a quick online search. However, sometimes it's useful to have a quick and handy reference that can help us get a more secure footing. This well designed and attractive introductory book does exactly that: it provides a brief reference for 50 theories from various fields and disciplines. These are explained in short 300 word sections, with an accompanying illustrations and several even shorter references. The topics covered include: the wave theory, universal gravitational theory, placebo effect, continental drift, psychoanalysis, behaviorism, natural selection, and many more. The illustrations are done in a mock fifties style and they convey a slight panache for self-irony. The book is printed on a high-quality glossy paper and can almost function as a coffee table book. It makes a nice little reference or can be used as a thoughtful gift.
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