Synopses & Reviews
From the Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author of Woman, a playful, passionate guide to the science all around us< br=""> < br=""> With the singular intelligence and exuberance that made Woman an international sensation, Natalie Angier takes us on a whirligig tour of the scientific canon. She draws on conversations with hundreds of the world's top scientists and on her own work as a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for the New York Times to create a thoroughly entertaining guide to scientific literacy. Angier's gifts are on full display in The Canon, an ebullient celebration of science that stands to become a classic.< br=""> < br=""> The Canon is vital reading for anyone who wants to understand the great issues of our time -- from stem cells and bird flu to evolution and global warming. And it's for every parent who has ever panicked when a child asked how the earth was formed or what electricity is. Angier's sparkling prose and memorable metaphors bring the science to life, reigniting our own childhood delight in discovering how the world works. Of course you should know about science, writes Angier, for the same reason Dr. Seuss counsels his readers to sing with a Ying or play Ring the Gack: These things are fun and fun is good.< br=""> < br=""> The Canon is a joyride through the major scientific disciplines: physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and astronomy. Along the way, we learn what is actually happening when our ice cream melts or our coffee gets cold, what our liver cells do when we eat a caramel, why the horse is an example of evolution at work, and how we're all really made of stardust. It's Lewis Carroll meets Lewis Thomas -- a book that will enrapture, inspire, and enlighten.
"Natalie Angier...has produced another, much-needed book on the basics of science." Los Angeles Times
"Every sentence sparkles with wit and charm...it all adds up to an intoxicating cocktail of fine science writing." Richard Dawkins
"Natalie Angier makes planets and particles sexy....She turns guys with lab coats and pocket protectors into Daniel Craig." Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind
"An essential experience....How dare she write so artfully, explain so brilliantly, rendering us scientists simultaneously proud and inarticulate!" Leon Lederman, Nobel laureate
"Natalie Angier provides a masterful, authoritative synthesis of the state of knowledge across the entire scientific landscape." Howard Gardner, Harvard University, author of Five Minds for the Future and Frames of Mind
"Not everything is as easy as pie (or pi) to grasp, and therein lies the excitement and challenge of science, masterfully conveyed here." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"[Angier] writes with such verve, humor, and warmth that even readers who may have flunked any of those subjects in high school will still be willing to give them a second chance." Library Journal (Starred Review)
With the singular intelligence and exuberance that made Woman
an international sensation, Natalie Angier takes us on a "guided twirligig through the scientific canon." She draws on conversations with hundreds of the world's top scientists, and her own work as a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter for the New York Times, to create a thoroughly entertaining guide to scientific literacy. People magazine says, "Angier has that rare dual talent: a true passion for science combined with a poet's linguistic flair." Those gifts are on full display in The Canon
, an ebullient celebration of science that stands to become a classic.
The Canon is a joyride through the major scientific disciplines: physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and astronomy. It's vital reading for anyone who wants to understand the great issues of our time, from stem cells and bird flu to evolution and global warming. It's also one of those rare books that reignites our childhood delight in figuring out how things work: we learn what's actually happening when our ice cream melts or our coffee gets cold, what our liver cells do when we eat a caramel, how the horse shows evolution at work, and that we really are all made of stardust. It's Lewis Carroll meets Lewis Thomas: a book that will enrapture, inspire, and enlighten.
Buckle up for a joy ride through physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and astronomy with this ebullient guide to science by a Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling author.
In this exuberant book, the best-selling author Natalie Angier distills the scientific canon to the absolute essentials, delivering an entertaining and inspiring one-stop science education. Angier interviewed a host of scientists, posing the simple question What do you wish everyone knew about your field?” The Canon provides their answers, taking readers on a joyride through the fascinating fundamentals of the incredible world around us and revealing how they are relevant to us every day. Angier proves a rabble-rousing, wisecracking, deeply committed tour guide in her irresistible exploration of the scientific process and the basic concepts of physics, chemistry, evolutionary biology, cellular and molecular biology, geology, and astronomy. Even science-phobes will find her passion infectious as she strives "to make the invisible visible, the distant neighborly, the ineffable affable."
About the Author
NATALIE ANGIER writes about biology for the New York Times, where she has won a Pulitzer Prize, the American Association for the Advancement of Science journalism award, and other honors. She is the author of The Beauty of the Beastly, Natural Obsessions, and Woman, named one of the best books of the year by the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, People, National Public Radio, Village Voice, and Publishers Weekly, among others. A New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist, Woman is “a text so necessary and abundant and true that all efforts of its kind, for decades before and after it, will be measured by it” (Los Angeles Times Book Review). Angier lives with her husband and daughter outside of Washington, D.C.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Sisyphus Sings with a Ying 1
1. Thinking Scientifically: An Out-of-Body Experience 18 2. Probabilities: For Whom the Bell Curves 47 3. Calibration: Playing with Scales 71 4. Physics: And Nothings Plenty for Me 87 5. Chemistry: Fire, Ice, Spies, and Life 121 6. Evolutionary Biology: The Theory of Every Body 147 7. Molecular Biology: Cells and Whistles 183 8. Geology: Imagining World Pieces 212 9. Astronomy: Heavenly Creatures 235
References 267 Acknowledgments 280 Index 282