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Field Notes on Science & Natureby Michael Canfield
Synopses & Reviews
Once in a great while, as the New York Times noted recently, a naturalist writes a book that changes the way people look at the living world. John James Audubon's Birds of America, published in 1838, was one. Roger Tory Peterson's 1934 Field Guide to the Birds was another. How does such insight into nature develop?
Pioneering a new niche in the study of plants and animals in their native habitat, Field Notes on Science and Nature allows readers to peer over the shoulders and into the notebooks of a dozen eminent field workers, to study firsthand their observational methods, materials, and fleeting impressions.
What did George Schaller note when studying the lions of the Serengeti? What lists did Kenn Kaufman keep during his 1973 "big year"? How does Piotr Naskrecki use relational databases and electronic field notes? In what way is Bernd Heinrich's approach "truly Thoreauvian," in E. O. Wilson's view? Recording observations in the field is an indispensable scientific skill, but researchers are not generally willing to share their personal records with others. Here, for the first time, are reproductions of actual pages from notebooks. And in essays abounding with fascinating anecdotes, the authors reflect on the contexts in which the notes were taken.
Covering disciplines as diverse as ornithology, entomology, ecology, paleontology, anthropology, botany, and animal behavior, Field Notes offers specific examples that professional naturalists can emulate to fine-tune their own field methods, along with practical advice that amateur naturalists and students can use to document their adventures.
Book News Annotation:
"Meticulous record keeping is at the heart of good science, and this is especially true for field scientists and naturalists," states editor Canfield (organismic and evolutionary biology, Harvard U.). He continues by further explicating the importance of field notes and relating his own endeavors to find a way to make such notes in an efficacious, efficient manner. For this work he asked biologists in various disciplines (as well as a couple of science illustrators) to explain what they do personally to record observations in the field and what they suggest as best practices, including, for example, such practicalities as what kind of notebook or technology to use, how to use photos, how and what to draw. The contributors were also asked to supply example pages from their notebooks, which are reproduced in facsimile and offer an intimate and practical view of the incredibly important activities of looking, seeing, and recording. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Pioneering a new niche in the study of plants and animals in their natural habitat, Field Notes on Science and Nature allows readers to peer over the shoulders and into the notebooks of a dozen eminent field workers, to study firsthand their observational methods, materials, and fleeting impressions.
2011 Association of American Publishers PROSE Award for Excellence, Biological Sciences Category
A Brain Pickings Best Science Book of 2011
About the Author
Michael R. Canfield is Lecturer on Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University.Edward O. Wilson is Pellegrino University Professor, Emeritus, at Harvard University. In addition to two Pulitzer Prizes (one of which he shares with Bert Hölldobler), Wilson has won many scientific awards, including the National Medal of Science and the Crafoord Prize of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.Bernd Heinrich is Professor Emeritus of Biology at the University of Vermont. He has written several memoirs of his life in science and nature, including One Man's Owl, Ravens in Winter, and A Year in the Maine Woods, which won the 1995 Rutstrum Authors' Award for Literary Excellence.Karen L. Kramer is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Utah.Piotr Naskrecki is an Associate in Entomology at the Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology.Roger Kitching is the chair of ecology at the Griffith School of Environment. He also heads the Arthropod Diversity Lab at Griffith University and the Biodiversity Research theme of the Centre of Innovative Conservation Strategies.
Table of Contents
ContentsForewordEdward O. WilsonIntroductionMichael R. Canfield1. The Pleasure of ObservingGeorge B. Schaller2. Untangling the BankBernd Heinrich3. One and a Half Cheers for ListmakingKenn Kaufman4. A Reflection of the TruthRoger Kitching5. Linking Researchers across GenerationsAnna K. Behrensmeyer6. The Spoken and the UnspokenKaren L. Kramer7. In the Eye of the BeholderJonathan Kingdon8. Why Sketch?Jenny Keller9. The Evolution and Fate of Botanical Field BooksJames L. Reveal10. Note-Taking for PencilophobesPiotr Naskrecki11. Letters to the FutureJohn D. Perrine and James L. Patton12. Why Keep a Field Notebook?Erick GreeneNotesContributorsIndex
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