The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing

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The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing is an anthology of fine writing by scientists from the early 20th century to the present day, personally selected and with a commentary by Richard Dawkins.

By turns uplifting, witty, thought-provoking, amusing; speculative, cogently argued or skilfully explained; passionate or coolly elegant, this is a richly varied collection of excerpts, some from classic works, others now rarely seen, to treasure and return to again and again.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Impressive...There's no fluff here, it's all solid scientific thought, research and writing."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199216802
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 6/15/2008
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 867,833
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins is the first holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford, and is a Fellow of New College, Oxford. His bestselling books include The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, River Out of Eden, Climbing Mount Improbable, Unweaving the Rainbow, and The Ancestor's Tale. Dawkins is a Fellow of both the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Literature.

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Table of Contents

Featured Writers and Extracts xi

Introduction xvii

Part I What Scientists Study

The Mysterious Universe James Jeans 3

Just Six Numbers Martin Rees 4

Creation Revisited Peter Atkins ll

The Ant and The Peacock Helena Cronin 16

The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection R. A. Fisher 18

Mankind Evolving Theodosius Dobzhansky 22

Adaptation and Natural Selection G. C.Williams 27

Life Itself Francis Crick 30

Genome Matt Ridley 35

'Theoretical Biology in The Third Millennium' Sydney Brenner 40

The Language of The Genes Steve Jones 48

'On Being The Right Size' J B. S. Haldane 53

The Explanation of Organic Diversity Mark Ridley 59

'The Importance of The Nervous System In The Evolution Of Animal Flight' John Maynard Smith 61

Man In The Universe Fred Hoyle 66

On Growth and Form D'Arcy Thompson 69

The Meaning of Evolution G. G. Simpson 78

Trilobite! Richard Fortey 82

The Mind Machine Colin Blakemore 86

Mirrors In Mind Richard Gregory 89

'One Self: A Meditation on The Unity of Consciousness' Nicholas Humphrey 96

The Language Instinct and How The Mind Works Steven Pinker 103

The Rise and Fall of The Third Chimpanzee Jared Diamond 110

The Life of The Robin David Lack 114

Curious Naturalists Niko Tinbergen 115

Social Evolution Robert Trivers 123

The Open Sea Alister Hardy 127

The Sea Around Us Rachel Carson 130

'How Flowers Changed The World' Loren Eiseley 138

The Diversity of Life Edward O. Wilson 143

Part II Who Scientists Are

The Expanding Universe Arthur Eddington 151

The Foreword to C. H. Hardy's A Mathematician's Apology C. P. Snow 152

Disturbing The Universe Freeman Dyson 157

'War and The Nations' J. Robert Oppenheimer161

'A Passion for Crystals' Max F. Perutz 168

'Said Ryle to Hoyle' Barbara George Gamow 172

'Cancer's A Funny Thing' J. B. S. Haldane 174

The Identity of Man Jacob Bronowski 176

'Science and Literature', 'Darwin's Illness', 'The Phenomenon Of Man', the postscript to 'Lucky Jim', and 'D'Arcy Thompson and Growth and Form' Peter Medawar 179

Self-Made Man Jonathan Kingdon 188

Origins Reconsidered Richard Leakey Roger Lewin 190

Lucy Donald C. Johanson Maitland A. Edey 195

'Worm For A Century, and All Seasons' Stephen Jay Gould 200

Life Cycles John Tyler Bonner 211

Uncle Tungsten Oliver Sacks 214

'Seven Wonders' Lewis Thomas 219

Avoid Boring People James Watson 226

What Mad Pursuit Francis Crick 229

The Unnatural Nature of Science Lewis Wolpert 232

Essays of a Biologist Julian Huxley 234

'Religion and Science' Albert Einstein 235

The Dem On-Haunted World Carl Sagan 239

Part III What Scientists Think

The Character of Physical Law Richard Feynman 247

What Is Life? Erwin Schrödinger 249

Darwin's Dangerous Idea and Consciousness Explained Daniel Dennett 254

The Growth of Biological Thought Ernst Mayr 259

'The Tragedy of The Commons' Garrett Hardin 263

Geometry For The Selfish Herd and Narrow Roads Of Geneland W. D. Hamilton 266

How Nature Works Per Bak 273

The Fantastic Combinations of John Conway's New Solitaire Game 'Life' Martin Gardner 276

Mathematics For The Million Lancelot Hogben 284

The Miraculous Jar Ian Stewart 289

The Mathematical Theory of Communication Claude E. Shannon Warren Weaver 297

Computing Machinery and Intelligence Alan Turing 305

'What Is The Theory of Relativity?' Albert Einstein 314

Mr Tompkins George Gamow 317

The Goldilocks Enigma Paul Davies 323

The Time And Space of Uncle Albert Russell Stannard 332

The Elegant Universe Brian Greene 336

A Brief History Of Time Stephen Hawking 342

Part IV What Scientists Delight In

Truth and Beauty S. Chandrasekhar 349

A Mathematician's Apology G. H. Hardy 352

Dreams of A Final Theory Steven Weinberg 357

The Life of The Cosmos Lee Smolin 362

The Emperor's New Mind Roger Penrose 367

Gödel, Escher, Bach: The Eternal Golden Braid Douglas Hofstadter 371

Geons, Black Holes, And Quantum Foam John Archibald Wheeler Kenneth Ford 378

The Fabric of Reality David Deutsch 381

The Periodic Table Primo Levi 383

Life: An Unauthorized Biography Richard Fortey 390

The Meaning of Evolution George Gaylord Simpson 392

Little Men and Flying Saucers Loren Eiseley 393

Pale Blue Dot Carl Sagan 394

Acknowledgements 397

Index 401

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