The Common But Less Frequent Loon And Other Essays

Overview

These charming essays by an eminent biologist and columnist [for the American Scientist] celebrate aesthetic, literary, and intellectual aspects of science and convey what is involved in being a scientist today. Keith Thomson describes science as a great intellectual adventure-a search for why things are as they are-most rewarding when it is accompanied by an appreciation of the subtleties and aesthetic qualities of the objects studied. His book will enable nonscientists to experience the pleasures of science and...
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Overview

These charming essays by an eminent biologist and columnist [for the American Scientist] celebrate aesthetic, literary, and intellectual aspects of science and convey what is involved in being a scientist today. Keith Thomson describes science as a great intellectual adventure-a search for why things are as they are-most rewarding when it is accompanied by an appreciation of the subtleties and aesthetic qualities of the objects studied. His book will enable nonscientists to experience the pleasures of science and scientists to become more articulate and passionate about what they do.

A well-known biologist who writes a column for the distinguished bimonthly magazine American Scientist presents some of his favorite essays from that periodical in this wide-ranging book. He presents science as a great intellectual adventure--a search of why things are as they are. 20 illus.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
The well-known biologist who writes a column for American Scientist here presents some of his favorite essays from that periodical arranged in three sections, each introduced by a new essay. He writes engagingly on various facets of three broad subjects: the uses of diversity, on being a scientist, and the future of evolution. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300066548
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 2/21/1996
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 The Uses of Diversity 3
2 The Common but Less Frequent Loon 9
3 Benjamin Franklin's Lost Tree 15
4 Derelict toward the Land 22
5 How to Sit on a Horse 29
6 The Shape of a Shark's Tail 35
7 Reflections on the Neural Crest 41
8 Gilbert White: The Breath of Life in Written Words 47
9 Becoming a Scientist 57
10 The Literature of Science 64
11 Sine Scientia Ars Nihil Est? 71
12 Anatomy of the Extinction Debate 77
13 Piltdown Man, the Great English Mystery Story 82
14 Reductionism and Other Isms in Biology 96
15 The Sense of Discovery and Vice Versa 102
16 The Future of Evolution 111
17 The Meanings of Evolution 117
18 Natural Science in the 1830s: The Link between Newton and Darwin 124
19 Fisher's Microscope, or the Gradualist's Dilemma 132
20 Where Did Tetrapods Come From? 138
21 Ontogeny and Phylogeny Recapitulated 143
22 The Puzzle of Palaeospondylus 149
23 Is Paleontology Becoming Extinct? 156
24 A Light in the Attic 163
References 169
Index 183
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