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Galileo's Commandment: 2,500 Years of Great Science Writing

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Chemist and physicist Marie Curie reminisces about her and her husband's efforts to isolate the element radium. Greek historian Herodotus observes the Nile Valley and concludes that it was once under water. Astronomer and author Carl Sagan argues against assertions that aliens regularly visit Earth. These are among the literary gems Edmund Blair Bolles includes in Galileo's Commandment: An Anthology of Great Science Writing. Bolles has scoured the literature of science to build a treasury that is accessible and ...
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Overview

Chemist and physicist Marie Curie reminisces about her and her husband's efforts to isolate the element radium. Greek historian Herodotus observes the Nile Valley and concludes that it was once under water. Astronomer and author Carl Sagan argues against assertions that aliens regularly visit Earth. These are among the literary gems Edmund Blair Bolles includes in Galileo's Commandment: An Anthology of Great Science Writing. Bolles has scoured the literature of science to build a treasury that is accessible and riveting, and therefore appealing to readers unfamiliar with science, yet erudite enough for the scientifically initiated reader to enjoy.
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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
YAScience is a way of thinking as much as it is a body of knowledge. Bolles provides potent evidence of great thinking as he chronicles the cumulative process of doing science in this sampler of excellent historical and contemporary writings. This book is not so much about the current understanding of scientific principles (although there is certainly ample material included) but rather the thought and reflections of individuals who have struggled throughout human history to tease out, bit by bit, the fundamental linkages of our world and universe. It is the author's contention that "science writing can be great writing in the same sense as other genres" and this book proves his point. The selected writings include pieces by Herodotus, Galileo, Kepler, Voltaire, Piaget, Newton, and Darwin, as well as by Asimov, Gould, Sagan, and Feynman. Because of the underlining order to the sequence of selections, the book can be read all the way through as an "accessible and appealing" journey through the history of science. It can also be read randomly without losing an appreciation of the writing. Great primary-source material for students researching specific scientists.Dennis McFaden, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Booknews
Some of the literary gems in this collection include Marie Curie's reminiscences about her and her husband's efforts to isolate radium; Herodotus' observation that the Nile Valley was once underwater; and Carl Sagan's arguments against assertions that aliens regularly visit earth. The articles span time and the scientific disciplines and include writing from prolific authors<-->Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Feynman, and Charles Darwin<-->as well as scientists whom readers have likely only read about, such as Johannes Kepler, Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier, and Galileo. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
From the Publisher
"An invaluable resource."-Christian Science Monito
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780716730354
  • Publisher: Freeman, W. H. & Company
  • Publication date: 8/28/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 450
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 1.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Edmund Blair Bolles is a writer living in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Pt. 1 The Scientific Imagination Examined 1
Death in the Laboratory (1965) 5
The Story of Algol (1927) 16
A New Sense (1897) 22
The New Science of Animal Behavior (1909) 29
Heroic Science (1974) 41
Naming the Rocks (1981) 49
Chemistry Transformed (1949) 53
Learning to See Through Another's Eyes (1928) 63
The Misuse of Darwin (1981) 71
The Case Against B. F. Skinner (1971) 80
Idols of the Tribe (1620) 88
Pt. 2 The Scientific Imagination in Action 93
First Look Through a Telescope (1610) 97
Seashells in the Mountains (1480-1515) 104
Birds of the Galapagos (1839) 111
Mating Seasons (1980) 116
The Creation of Egypt (444 B.C.) 125
The Movement of Glaciers (1796) 129
Molecules (1873) 133
Radio-Activity: A New Property of Matter (1902) 143
The Atoms of Activity (1924) 155
Classifying the Stars (1926) 161
Where Is the Center of the Universe? (1632) 167
Doubting the Four Elements (1661) 177
Dispute on the Nature of Light (1672) 184
Obtaining Radium (1923) 193
Jigsaw Continents (1929) 198
The Transmutation of the Atom (1933) 206
The Double Bases (1968) 214
Has the Earth Already Been Visited? (1973) 218
Looking for the Drift (1974) 226
Looking for the Big Bang (1994) 239
I Admit the Moon Has Seas (1610) 245
The Importance of Isaac Newton (1733) 250
The Darwinian Hypothesis (1859) 257
Galton's Genetics (1909) 267
Gestalt Psychology (1991) 274
What Einstein Did (1925) 285
A Science in Change (1953) 290
The End of the Universe (1929) 301
Imagery in Thought (1932) 306
The Mature Personality (1937) 317
The Expanding Universe (1950) 322
Little Men and Flying Saucers (1953) 333
Atomic Physics and Causal Law (1958) 345
The Distinction of Past and Future (1965) 355
The Golden Walls of Edgar Allan Poe (1987) 362
Waves Without a Breeze (1986) 366
Making the Observer Count (1982) 370
Schrodinger's Cats and Wigner's Friends (1980) 375
Preface to The Elements of Chemistry (1789) 379
On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type (1859) 389
The Conservation of Energy (1863) 400
Two Theories of Relativity (1916) 409
Pt. 3 Style in the Scientific Imagination 413
The Speed of Falling Bodies (1638) 415
The Persistence of Atoms (60 B.C.) 420
Food Control in Insect Societies (1928) 424
Animals Courting (1943) 428
The Long Snowfall (1951) 439
How Ice Changed the World (1983) 447
Dark Time (1987) 458
Carbon (1975) 469
Acknowledgments 477
Name Index 481
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