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Great Essays in Science

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Great Essays in Science.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Martin Gardner(Author)

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Martin Gardner, author of numerous books on science, mathematics, and pseudo-science, has assembled thirty-four extraordinary essays by eminent philosophers, scientists, and writers on the fundamental aspects of modern science.

As Gardner makes clear in his preface to the formerly titled Sacred Beetle and Other Great Essays in Science, his intent is not to teach the reader science or to report on the latest trends and discoveries. "Rather, the purpose of this book is to spread before the reader, whether his or her interest in science be passionate or mild, a sumptuous feast of great writing - absorbing, thought-disturbing pieces that have something to say about science and say it forcibly and well."

Gardner's entertaining biographical commentaries make Great Essays in Science a rich store of good reading and an informal history of the people and ideas that have shaped our culture and transformed our everyday lives. This collection includes works by Isaac Asimov, Rachel Carson, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, Albert Einstein, Jean Henri Fabre, Sigmund Freud, Stephen Jay Gould, Aldous Huxley, Julian Huxley, William James, Ernest Nagel, Bertrand Russell, Carl Sagan, Lewis Thomas, H.G. Wells, and others.

In Great Essays in Science Martin Gardner has collected essays by 32 great scientists and science writers. This excellent assortment of well-written, uncut pieces features Albert Einstein on "E=mc2," G. K. Chesterton on "The Logic of Elfland," Sigmund Freud on dreams, and Rachel Carson on the sea. Gardner, one of the best science writers and most insightful readers of the 20th century, thoughtfully introduces each essay. Originally published in 1957 and slightly updated in 1984, this reissued edition is unchanged in providing, as Gardner promises, "absorbing, thought-disturbing pieces that have something important to say about science and say it forcefully and well." Martin Gardner (1914 - 2010), the creator of Scientific American’s "Mathematical Games" column, which he wrote for more than twenty-five years, was the author of almost one hundred books, including The Annotated Night Before Christmas, The Annotated Snark, Martin Gardner’s Favorite Poetic Parodies, From the Wandering Jew to William F. Buckley Jr., and Science: Good, Bad and Bogus. For many years he was also a contributing editor to the Skeptical Inquirer.

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Book details

  • PDF | 442 pages
  • Martin Gardner(Author)
  • Prometheus Books (January 1, 1994)
  • English
  • 6
  • Science & Math

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Review Text

  • By CitizenX on August 12, 2015

    This is an extraordinary collection of very accessible science reading that requires minimal science knowledge. This collection is also very suitable for those who think science is some boring, stuffy discipline, that has no relevance to everyday life or intellectual stimulation, or who think it is some sort of limiting, closed minded sort of world view that prevents one from appreciating nature or the world around us in all its wonder and beauty. People who think like that have never had the pleasure of crossing paths with a collection of this kind of scintillating breadth of inquiry and cross-disciplinary relevance.One stand out selection was Jean Henri Fabre's "The Sacred Beetle", one of the most illuminating and funny pieces you will ever come across in science reading. Indeed, Fabre is famous for his nature writing, filled with penetrating and meticulous observation, and "unscientific" humour and anthropomorphization of his tiny subjects, typically the intriguing denizens of the insect world.Martin Gardner's contribution is not nearly the mere selection of the pieces included in this volume: it is really his short introduction to each piece that sets it in its time and place, which adds so much value to this collection. Gardner draws insight from poetry, philosophy, and the arts to anchor these pieces, not only in their bare factual historical context, but in the zeitgeist of their times, noting famous philosophical or intellectual clashes and the inexorable development - not only of its technology - but of humanity's philosophical culture, which is arguably more important in some ways.I remember giving this book to my mother just so that she could read Fabre's amazing and amusing piece on the dung beetles, which is not heavy on science terms. She thoroughly enjoyed it, which I expected. But I did not expect my near science-illiterate mother to read the whole book and tell me afterwards that she just could not stop after the dung beetles. There was enough relevance to literature, the arts, and philosophy here to engage her completely.For those interested in the breadth of content, here is the contents page, but I cannot stress enough that Gardner's introduction to each of these pieces elevates this collection immeasurably:PrefacePrologue - Francis Bacon: The Sphinx (1609)Charles Darwin: Recapitulation And Conclusion (1859)John Dewey: The Influence Of Darwinism On Philosophy (1909)Stephen Jay Gould: Nonmoral Nature (1982)William James: The Problem Of Being (1911)Havelock Ellis: What Makes A Woman Beautiful? (1905)Jean Henri Fabre: The Sacred Beetle (1918)Gilbert Keith Chesterton: The Logic Of Elfland (1908)Carl Sagan: Can We Know The Universe? (1979)Carl Sagan: Reflections On A Grain Of Salt (1979)Joseph Wood Krutch: The Colloid And The Crystal (1950)José Ortega Y Gasset: The Barbarism Of "Specialization" (1932)Thomas Henry Huxley: Science And Culture (1893)John Burroughs: Science And Literature (1889)Isaac Asimov: Science And Beauty (1983)Ernst Nagel: Automation (1955)Jonathan Norton Leonard: Other-Worldly Life (1953)J Robert Oppenheimer: Physics In The Contemporary World (1955)Alfred North Whitehead: Religion And Science (1925)John Dos Passos: Proteus (1930)Julian Huxley: An Essay On Bird-Mind (1923)Arthur Stanley Eddington: The Decline Of Determinism (1934)Aldous Huxley: Science In The Brave New World (1932)Rachel Carson: The Sunless Sea (1951)Maurice Maeterlinck: The Nuptial Flight (1901)H G Wells: The New Source Of Energy (1914)H G Wells: Science And Ultimate Truth (1931)Laura Fermi: Success (1954)Samuel Goudsmit: The Gestapo In Science (1947)Robert Louis Stevenson: Pan's Pipes (1876)Sigmund Freud: Dreams Of The Death Of Beloved Persons (1900)Bertrand Russell: The Science To Save Us From Science (1950)Bertrand Russell: The Greatness Of Albert Einstein (1950)Albert Einstein: E = mc^2 (1946)Lewis Thomas: Seven Wonders (1983)IndexThis is the single best collection of thought-provoking pieces and editorial introductions on science I have read, and I hope more people get to enjoy it.

  • By Douglas R. Mulford on June 12, 2000

    'Great Essays in Science' is a fantastic collection of great works of writing by some of the greatest thinkers of our time. This book is a definitely read not only for anyone who considers themselves to be any kind of scientist, but for anyone who has ever heard of people such as Darwin and Einstein. These are works by the men we all know, but here is a chance to hear their own thoughts on their science and it's implications. From discussing the amorality of nature to dream interpretation to talking about the implications of science for religion and vice versa this book covers all area of our lives and culture. This book should be considered required reading for anyone who considers themselves and informed member of our society!

  • By Erik Lundberg on July 20, 2006

    I have read science excerpts on SAT tests, which is what I would have imagined if someone said "Essay in Science" until I found two anthologies of science essays: Galileo's Commandment and Great Essays in Science. This is a must for anyone in science who would like some nontechnical science writing. It can be relaxing, entertaining, diverting, humorous, and stimulating.

  • By bk47 on August 16, 2016

    Thank you

  • By Fahd Alhazmi on June 6, 2013

    These science excerpts are must-read by anyone interested in science... I think reading those collections will give you a deeper idea of what science is..

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