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

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

by Natalie Angier
3.3 14

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The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier

The New York Times bestseller that makes scientific subjects both understandable and fun: “Every sentence sparkles with wit and charm.” —Richard Dawkins
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times science journalist and bestselling author of Woman, this is a playful, passionate guide to the science all around us (and inside us)—from physics to chemistry, biology, geology, astronomy, and more.
Drawing on conversations with hundreds of the world’s top scientists, Natalie Angier creates a thoroughly entertaining guide to scientific literacy. For those who want a fuller understanding of some of the great issues of our time, The Canon offers insights on stem cells, bird flu, evolution, and global warming. For students—or parents whose kids ask a lot of questions about how the world works—it brings to life such topics as how the earth was formed, or what electricity is. Also included are clear, fascinating explanations of how to think scientifically and grasp the tricky subject of probability.
The Canon is a joyride through the major scientific disciplines that reignites our childhood delight and sense of wonder—and along the way, tells us what is actually happening when our ice cream melts or our coffee gets cold, what our liver cells do when we eat a caramel, why the horse is an example of evolution at work, and how we’re all really made of stardust.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780547348568
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 04/03/2008
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 219
File size: 994 KB

About the Author

NATALIE ANGIER is a Pulitzer-Prize winning science columnist for the New York Times. She is the author of The Canon, The Beauty of the Beastly, and Natural Obsessions. She lives outside Washington, DC.

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The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
DorisAZ More than 1 year ago
Though married to a chemist, I never quite grasped the big scientific picture. Angier's use of analogy to household objects and children's toys (i.e., lego blocks and Gumby) made the abstract concepts of science understandable. A bonus is her sparkling wit and her broad knowledge of the arts and literature, spicing the text for this English teacher. I've given several copies as gifts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While I understand that this book might be too general for some readers, for those whose high school days are far behind us and who enjoy science and wordplay, this is a well-written, fun and interesting book. I liked science classes in school, but most of the teachers seemed to have little interest in the subject other than drilling it into unreceptive students. Natalie Angier obviously loves the subject, and her enthusiasm shows. As I read the book, I smiled all the way through. Since I read the chapter on cells, every time I crack an egg I think "...that yolk is all one cell - wow!" It's an excellent, entertaining way to reconnect with the wonder of looking at something that's in front of you all the time, but outside of the day-to-day grind.
Mitton More than 1 year ago
Useful. Expansive. Wow . Over the top. Way Over. Angier has written a useful and expansive book that just does not carry me. I don’t argue – much – with the content: she aptly explains the foundations of modern science from math to physics to biology and things in between. She offers a broad view with a thousand rabbit trails to explore. But as much as I enjoyed the book, her writing simply wears me out. One reviewer calls the book ‘exuberant’: that’s an understatement. She writes with almost religious wonder. Her wide eyed descriptions lead to some choppy prose: “And this! And this! And this too!” Her over the top writing leads to all manner of over the top descriptions: DNA urges. Probabilities argue. Anthropomorphisms abound. I’m not sure who her anticipated audience is. Experienced science wonks will tire of the presentation – her enthusiasm sometimes overcomes clarity and adherence to strict definitions. But had someone handed me this when I was about fifteen? I would have devoured it. I give three stars. Lots of good content. And if anyone gets as excited about science as Angier is that’s no bad thing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you ever want to show someone jus thow it feels to find things out - to see the structure of things beneath the surface, and truly feel the rush of wonderment at a world utterly fantastic and indescribably complex - then you would not go wrong by pointing them at this book.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very narrow minded, biased "tour" of the sciences
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I generally like science books. This one was a little too general for me. Reading it is like going back through high school. Also, the book is broken into sections by subject. Chapter one is Probability. Chapter two is Causality. Each section is not divided up. Thus each section is 20-40 pages long. With the dryness of the narration, it makes it difficult to make any real progress.
If you're looking to discover the basic foundation of all realms of the scientific world from probability to molecular biology, this book is for you. Otherwise, you might look for something less general and basic.