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The Discoveries: The Great Breakthroughs in 20th-Century Science, Including the Original Papers

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2009

    A fascinating and deep look into physics and biology of the 20th century

    This is a remarkable book that takes a lucid and detailed romp through the most important discoveries in physics and biology in the 20th century. The topics include atomic and nuclear structure, quantum mechanics, relativity, the structure of the universe, hormones, nerve signaling, DNA structure, protein structure, gene-splicing and more. Each discovery (mostly Nobel prize winning discoveries) is preceded by an essay that is highly entertaining and enlightening, focusing on the personal characteristics of the brilliant scientists who made the discoveries and on the background to the discoveries. I am a trained physicist and also a practicing cell biologist so the discoveries were familiar to me. Even so, I had not read the original papers so it was a true pleasure to have them all together in this book. For the more general reader who may be aware of the general ideas presented here, Lightman does an excellent job of leading the reader through the papers. Many of the papers are quite readable while others are mathematically advanced or use a lot of biology jargon. Even so, it is easy to get the essential points of the papers and it is fascinating to read them. These discoveries have changed our world and this book will take you on a journey that is well worth the effort.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2007

    Great supplement to science education

    Having majored in the humanities in college, I profess that my science education has lacked. This book fills some of those gaps, and although some of the theoretical physics was hard to follow, it was easy to understand why each of these contributions to 20th century understanding of science were picked. I highly recommend this book!

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