01 April 2014

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

Summary from Goodreads:
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."

At its most basic, Natalie Angier's The Canon is a nice book that overviews all the cool things about physics, chemistry, geology, biology, astronomy, etc. It's not really a book for me - someone who already likes science and majored in hard sciences - but I thought the breadth of information was nice.

However, the breezy, chirpy, odd-obscure-vocabulary-and-literary-reference stuffed writing style was really distracting. I consider myself to have a very wide-ranging vocabulary but I was making considerable use of the Oyster dictionary then out to the web to look up words but even Google started drawing a blank. Surl? Proptosically? For a book about how fun and not-hard science is the style made it seem artificially dense.

Give The Canon a shot if you aren't terribly familiar with the science realm, but skip if you have already have an in-depth knowledge.

Dear FTC: I read this via my Oyster subscription.

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