Friday, May 29, 2015

“SOMEWHERE, SOMETHING INCREDIBLE IS WAITING TO BE KNOWN”


The title quote about the pursuit of discovery was said by astronomer Carl Sagan and the same describes many of the science books on the shelves at the Monrovia Public Library.

Bill Nye, known as the science guy, brings his ability to succinctly and enthusiastically explain scientific principles to Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation. Here Nye carefully examines evolution, both in terms of the past and the present, and answers the questions presented by those who deny evolution.  Written for the lay person, Nye not only defends scientific tenets, but also shares his love of science.

We generally know that Marie Curie was a brilliant scientist and won 2 Nobel prizes for both physics and chemistry, but we know less about her personal life. Marie Curie and her Daughters by Shelly Emling is a wonderfully readable and original book about Ms. Curie, her incredible mind and her influence on her children Eve and Irene, one a scientist and the other a journalist and humanitarian who worked at the United Nations. 

Another Nobel Prize winner and advocate of science is physicist Stephen Weinberg who has written To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science. This history of scientific pursuits spans ancient and medieval discoveries, particularly in astronomy and physics. Although the book concentrates on Western scientists and covers only certain scientific areas, the book is an epic story.

Brilliant Blunders: From Darwin to Einstein, Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists by Mario Livio is both a probing and humorous examination of well-known scientists who made mistakes while making some of the world’s greatest discoveries. Stubbornness, basic chemistry mistakes and miscalculations are cited of the source of errors, but the author also shows how the blunders led to other discoveries.

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