The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science

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HMH, Apr 3, 2008 - Science - 304 pages
38 Reviews
The New York Times bestseller that makes scientific subjects both understandable and fun: “Every sentence sparkles with wit and charm.” —Richard Dawkins
 
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times science journalist and bestselling author of Woman, this is a playful, passionate guide to the science all around us (and inside us)—from physics to chemistry, biology, geology, astronomy, and more.
 
Drawing on conversations with hundreds of the world’s top scientists, Natalie Angier creates a thoroughly entertaining guide to scientific literacy. For those who want a fuller understanding of some of the great issues of our time, The Canon offers insights on stem cells, bird flu, evolution, and global warming. For students—or parents whose kids ask a lot of questions about how the world works—it brings to life such topics as how the earth was formed, or what electricity is. Also included are clear, fascinating explanations of how to think scientifically and grasp the tricky subject of probability.
 
The Canon is a joyride through the major scientific disciplines that reignites our childhood delight and sense of wonder—and along the way, tells us 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.
 
 

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User Review  - featherbear - LibraryThing

The goals of The Canon are twofold. A. Describe what leaders in the scientific fields consider to be the basic concepts of their respective disciplines. B. Present the concepts such that the layman ... Read full review

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User Review  - Paulagraph - LibraryThing

A succinct tour of the foundational (key) concepts /theories in the sciences: Scientific Thinking /Method; Probability; Calibration / Scale; Physics; Chemistry; Evolutionary Biology; Molecular Biology ... Read full review

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Contents

An OutofBody Experience
18
For Whom the Bell Curves
47
Playing with Scales
71
And Nothings Plenty for Me
87
Fire Ice Spies and Life
121
The Theory of Every Body
147
Cells and Whistles
183
Imagining World Pieces
212
Heavenly Creatures
235
References
267
Acknowledgments
280
Index
282
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About the author (2008)

NATALIE ANGIER is a Pulitzer-Prize winning science columnist for the New York Times. She is the author of The Canon, The Beauty of the Beastly, and Natural Obsessions. She lives outside Washington, DC.
 

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