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Interesting science books Options
rogermue
Posted: Friday, December 13, 2013 7:12:46 PM

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Hello to everyone

I've just been reading an article with the headline Science book picks for 2013.
Link http://www.npr.org/2013/12/13/250730974/science-book-picks-for-2013?ft=1&f=1032
and asked myself what interesting science books I've read in my life.

I'm sure it is quite a number but at the moment I can't think of any title.
I really have to study this problem.

But I remember one subject. It was an old pocket book I found on the flea-market.
It was about the oceans. A book by an American woman author. And it was astonishing
and fascinating what she could tell about the wonders of the oceans. She was a
scientist, I think the discipline is called oceanography, and she told of things
I have never heard of. Unfortunately I've lost the book and can't remember the title
or the author's name. But I know that oceanography and marine life is a wonderful subject.

I wonder what fascinating science books other members of this forum might suggest.
rogermue
Posted: Friday, December 13, 2013 7:43:36 PM

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Now I remember one book that fascinated me immensely:
Teilhard de Chardin, I think the English title is The Human phenomenon.
Teilhard de Chardin was a French man of the Church, a scientist at home in
several disciplines and a philosopher, a man of great ideas.

I am not quite sure whether I got the title right. Perhaps it was
The Future of Man.
In any case the idea that struck me was that Chardin held the view
that the biological evolution of Man has reached a limit. But nevertheless
the evolution will go on by a higher degree of organization of mankind.
rogermue
Posted: Friday, December 13, 2013 8:18:16 PM

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I think Darwin's theory of the origin of species should be an interesting
science book. But, of course, the original edition is too voluminous.
There should be a modern, simplified and shortened version.

Alfred Wegener's theory of the evolution of the continents was a fascinating
book. (The orgin of continents and oceans). Perhaps there is a modern, simplified
and shortened version.

rogermue
Posted: Friday, December 13, 2013 8:25:25 PM

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I like books about astronomy. Such phenomenons as black holes,
Big Bang, anti-matter, the phenomenon of gravity, the rotation of planets,
thousands or millions of galaxies, the extension of the cosmos,
novas and other fascinating things such as the question of
extraterrestial life or the speed of light and Einstein's theory of
relativity.

I don't understand everything but I like reading such books and seeing pictures
showing the wonders of the cosmos.
telkimm
Posted: Friday, December 13, 2013 10:44:49 PM
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rogermue wrote:
I think Darwin's theory of the origin of species should be an interesting
science book. But, of course, the original edition is too voluminous.
There should be a modern, simplified and shortened version.


I read On the Origin of Species and The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, and I think they have the strongest effect on me among all the books I've ever read. I would recommend anyone to try to understand evolution; the more I understand and contemplate it, the more, though gradually, it seems to help me, who is a living sample of Darwin's theory. Everyone through a high school seems to know what it is, but knowing it to influence one's life seems uncommon. It's a lengthy process; voluminosity might in fact help. --- tk
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Saturday, December 14, 2013 4:11:07 AM

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Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: The Phenomenon of Man (Le Phénomène Humain, 1955)

Full text in different formats in Internet Archive: https://archive.org/details/ThePhenomenonOfMan

(It was yet another book my teachers put me to read, out of official reading plan, in high school ;-)
rogermue
Posted: Saturday, December 14, 2013 4:26:58 AM

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Thanks for the link, JJ.
I looked it up, interesting to see it after about 25 years.
Link to the texthttps://archive.org/stream/ThePhenomenonOfMan/phenomenon-of-man-pierre-teilhard-de-chardin#page/n1/mode/2up
rogermue
Posted: Saturday, December 14, 2013 4:33:49 AM

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This is what archive.org writes about the book:


[texts] The Phenomenon of Man - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Considered Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's Magnum Opus,this book shows the convergence of the cosmos from simple elements to the complex nervous systems of human beings. Teilhard then argues that evolution has not stopped with the creation of human beings, but is now in the process of converging the human mass (like atoms and cells before them) into a higher complex arrangement, this time on a planetary scale...
Keywords: teilhard de chardin; omega point; conscious evolution; noosphere; phenomenon of man; matter; globalization; love energy; evolution; noogenesis
leonAzul
Posted: Saturday, December 14, 2013 5:43:45 AM

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rogermue wrote:
This is what archive.org writes about the book:


[texts] The Phenomenon of Man - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Considered Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's Magnum Opus,this book shows the convergence of the cosmos from simple elements to the complex nervous systems of human beings. Teilhard then argues that evolution has not stopped with the creation of human beings, but is now in the process of converging the human mass (like atoms and cells before them) into a higher complex arrangement, this time on a planetary scale...
Keywords: teilhard de chardin; omega point; conscious evolution; noosphere; phenomenon of man; matter; globalization; love energy; evolution; noogenesis


He keeps using that word.

I do not think it means what he think it means.

Whistle
rogermue
Posted: Sunday, December 15, 2013 4:43:38 AM

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Aristotle - a selection of his writings

I now remember having once read a book that contained a selection of
Aristotle's writings. An experience. Astonishing how this philosopher,
who lived around 350 BC, approached matters and how he found his answers.
A keen thinker.
uuaschbaer
Posted: Sunday, December 15, 2013 1:55:40 PM

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The Cosmos television-series did more for me than any popular science book, frankly.
Wobbles
Posted: Sunday, December 15, 2013 8:18:09 PM
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I think first year university texts are often excellent at explaining what's going on in a particular subject. The books are designed to be informative while also capturing the imagination of the readers. If you look for first year chemistry or physics textbooks, you may want to weed out those that use calculus. Biology, astronomy and geology first year texts usually don't use much mathematics. You can often get good deals at end of term when students (foolishly?) sell off their texts.

Joe
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, December 16, 2013 2:52:21 AM

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Hi Joe/Wobbles.

It sounds like you don't agree with science books using maths and the Calculus.

It's not that easy to study science without maths.

One of the books which has most impressed me for its simplicity is Einstein's Relativity:The Special General Theory.
Before you faint - here's the 'blurb'
Albert Einstein was interested in explaining the theory of Relativity to people who were not especially well-versed in higher mathematic concepts and theoretical physics. His solution to this was to write the ground-breaking work.
It's amazing, but a very little-heard-of book. I think most people 'switch off' at the first word of the title.
It is simple - I understood it!

Also all of the non-fiction books by Isaak Yudovich Ozimov (more commonly known as Isaac Asimov). There's a list here, But one exceptional one is Asimov's Chronology of the World.
rogermue
Posted: Monday, December 16, 2013 3:48:52 AM

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Hi Dragon,
thanks for your hints. I really would like to read something
about Einstein's relativity theory that I can understand,
but I didn't know a title.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, December 16, 2013 3:54:06 AM

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Hi!

I read it years ago, and was shocked to get past the second page.

He wrote this one specifically for the 'layman' - I think it was to explain something at the level of the grants boards of research establishments.
RuthP
Posted: Monday, December 16, 2013 1:33:30 PM

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Hi rogermue I don't know whether this is the lady you mentioned in your first post, but you might like her book. It covers the beginning of her life and academics, which included a rather prolonged trip around Pacific islands like Guam, the Marianas, and the Marshall Islands. Eugenie Clark is an icthyologist, one who studies fish, and has had a focus on sharks and on poisonous fish.

(Amazon) Lady with a Spear, by Eugenie Clark.

I definitely agree with Drag0n about Isaac Asimov. He hundreds of books in his lifetime: on science- mathematics, physics, astronomy, chemistry, earth sciences; essays on science; on history; on the Bible; annotations of Shakespeare, Milton, Gilbert and Sullivan; science fiction; mysteries; several books of limericks; the list goes on. His last books were published in 1992, the year he died, so they are no longer new, but he was a fantastic writer and is still worth reading.
TL Hobs
Posted: Monday, December 16, 2013 2:20:10 PM
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I recommend Robert M. Pirsig's book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance as a treatise on Western scientific methods, focusing on the importance of Quality. I read this while a university student of engineering and again later as a student of architecture. I wish it were required reading for anyone desiring to work in a creative field, whether as a designer, researcher, writer, or artist.

His sequel Lila, An Inquiry into Morals was a continuation of his dialogue begun Zen but without the impact of the former.

A brief biography and description of the books are found here.

Wobbles
Posted: Monday, December 16, 2013 6:14:55 PM
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Hi DragOnSpeaker, I am not adverse to mathematics … not at all. I have a PhD in experimental physics and spent 40 years of my life using mathematics almost every day. I am actually very good with calculus and find it indispensable in my understanding of the world.

Unfortunately, most people do not have the time or inclination to study mathematics in great depth. This can present a handicap for people trying to figure out what is going on from the physics or chemistry perspective.

When I first taught a first year physics course for non majors, I was truly shocked at how much fear people had in the use of mathematics. Glazed eyes, averted glances and stiffened bodies were common sights for me. In the summer before my second year of teaching I spent a long time developing ways to deal with this. (I think it made me a better teacher.)

Anyway, I only added my comment about non-calculus based physics books because I realize that many folks would look with horror when glancing at calculus based physics textbooks. I wanted to encourage them to explore the "hard" sciences even if they did not like mathematics. There are great thrills in the quest for knowledge and insight.


I have read the Einstein book to which you referred. I agree it was not that difficult to understand. The big thing with special relativity is to first realize that one’s intuitive notions of distances and time are not in agreement with empirical fact. It is truly shocking to understand that clocks in relative motion tell different times and that metre sticks in relative motion measure different distances. Once I could get a student to understand those statements, then I could show them how the clever Einstein was able to fix it all up with his theory of special relativity. An amazing story in the annals of physics.

Joe
rogermue
Posted: Monday, December 16, 2013 11:21:56 PM

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To RuthP

Thanks for the recommendation of an interesting book.
And I will keep an eye on Asimov's publications.

PS Three interesting books on the study of animals:
Sharks. Book suggested by RuthP: http://www.amazon.com/LADY-SPEAR-Eugenie-Clark/dp/B00181LDJ2/ref=la_B001KHHNF2_1_1_title_1_pap?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1387211855&sr=1-1


[image not available]


Gorillas:


[image not available]

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gorillas-Mist-Remarkable-Thirteen-Greatest/dp/0753811413/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1387255863&sr=8-2&keywords=gorillas+in+the+mist

Geese, Nobel Prize winner Konrad Lorenz: http://www.amazon.com/Year-Greylag-Goose-Konrad-Lorenz/dp/0413491307


[image not available]
Akkuratix
Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 3:57:54 AM
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Bill Bryson: A short history of nearly everything.
rogermue
Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 10:59:35 AM

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[image not available]

http://www.amazon.co.uk/History-English-Language-Albert-Baugh/dp/0415280990
If you look inside the book you'll find the contents.
You get an idea how a language evolves over the centuries.
CheVegas ☁️ ✈ ☁️
Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 2:34:11 AM

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telkimm wrote:
rogermue wrote:
I think Darwin's theory of the origin of species should be an interesting
science book. But, of course, the original edition is too voluminous.
There should be a modern, simplified and shortened version.


I read On the Origin of Species and The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution, and I think they have the strongest effect on me among all the books I've ever read. I would recommend anyone to try to understand evolution; the more I understand and contemplate it, the more, though gradually, it seems to help me, who is a living sample of Darwin's theory. Everyone through a high school seems to know what it is, but knowing it to influence one's life seems uncommon. It's a lengthy process; voluminosity might in fact help. --- tk


I'm about 10% into Dawkins' "The Greatest Show on Earth." Love it!

For Festivus, I bought my young nieces/nephews Dawkins' "The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True." They love it too, which makes me very, very happy!
Drool
Kirk Stephens
Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2014 2:22:19 PM

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I too have been working on the NPR reading lists.
Good stuff -- good post.
rogermue
Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 7:06:03 AM

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Hello Chevegas,
now I become really interested in this Dawkins.
With the book titles I can google to get some more information.
rogermue
Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 7:10:03 AM

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[image not available]

Taken from en.wikipedia: Link

Richard Dawkins is a British biologist who has already published
a series of books. The above book is his tenth publication and it
sets out evidence for the evolution. It is a successful book.
He published two other successful books:
- The God Delusion, 2006 - A critique of religion.
- The Ancestor' Tale, 2004 - in which he traces human ancestry
back to the dawn of life.
Wikipedia's article is worth reading.

rogermue
Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 7:40:15 AM

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[image not available]


Taken from amazon.com
See for yourself. Link
A critique of religion.

When you look inside the book you will see the table of contents
and you can read a lot of pages.

Read the editorial review from Publishers Weekly.

rogermue
Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 7:55:31 AM

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[image not available]

Richard Dawkins - The Ancestor's Tale, 2005.
The evolution of life and of Man.

From amazon.com
With unparalleled wit, clarity, and intelligence, Richard Dawkins, one of the world's most renowned evolutionary biologists, has introduced countless readers to the wonders of science in works such as The Selfish Gene.

Now, in The Ancestor's Tale, Dawkins offers a masterwork: an exhilarating reverse tour through evolution, from present-day humans back to the microbial beginnings of life four billion years ago.

Throughout the journey Dawkins spins entertaining, insightful stories and sheds light on topics such as speciation, sexual selection, and extinction. The Ancestor's Tale is at once an essential education in evolutionary theory and a riveting read.

Taken from: Link: amazon.com
rogermue
Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 8:21:42 AM

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[image not available]

Taken from Link

I haven't read this book, but I have occupied myself with set theory
(in German Mengenlehre - "Knowledge of quantities").
And I think I have grasped the essentials of basic set theory.
I found it interesting but the didactic skill of the authors about this topic is miserable. Mathematicians can only think in mathematical terms and formulas. One might think they cannot speak normal language.

Such books have to "translate" things from their mathematical sphere into normal language and into normal pictures. When they have got across these ideas, then they can introduce their terms, their signs, and their formulas.
But that is something mathematicians have yet to learn. They are no good at translating. For this talent in language is needed.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Saturday, January 11, 2014 7:53:57 PM

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Hi Roger, sorry I lost this thread.

I think we are about the same.

I have a pretty good idea of basic set theory, and can 'think in sets' semi-intuitively -
If someone were to say something like "Of all the children there, most were wearing jeans but Mary, John and Michael wore shorts and Anna had a skirt. Many were in jumpers as it was chilly, though Anna and John had only tee-shirts, and Michael and his sister, who was wearing shorts, wore anoraks. Describe Mary's clothing."
I could instantly sketch a Venn diagram, and describe Mary. ("Hair hidden by the hood of her anorak and legs that reach from the ground all the way up to her shorts.")

However, I have trouble with the Algebra of set theory. I don't know the symbology. I know the Universal set and the Null set, they're simple (U for Universal and zero-∅ for Null), but the ∈,∩,⊂,⊃,∪,∄,∀ and so on, I never really learned (you sort of have to 'forget' normal arithmetic and algebra and start again) I never made the effort.
rogermue
Posted: Sunday, January 12, 2014 4:14:07 AM

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Interesting, Dragon.
I took the trouble to work through an introduction for beginners.
That was a long time ago.
But I must say it was a hard time for me. Today I would say
the explanations were not in way to make understanding easy.
But at last I managed to grasp the idea.
Of course, today I have forgotten all those notation signs. If I wanted to use them I would have to look them up and repeat them again.
But for me there is no need for it. I can say the same with normal
words and that's a lot easier.
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