On Being and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Qty:1
  • List Price: $19.95
  • Save: $0.67 (3%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 5 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
On Being: A Scientist's E... has been added to your Cart
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Good | Details
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: 100% Money Back Guarantee. Shipped to over one million happy customers. Your purchase benefits world literacy!
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

On Being: A Scientist's Exploration of the Great Questions of Existence Hardcover – March 22, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0199603367 ISBN-10: 0199603367 Edition: 1st

Buy New
Price: $19.28
27 New from $4.28 42 Used from $0.17 1 Collectible from $19.95
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$19.28
$4.28 $0.17
Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Einstein's Dice and Schrödinger's Cat: How Two Great Minds Battled Quantum Randomness to Create a Unified Theory of Physics
Einstein's Dice and Schrödinger's Cat: How Two Great Minds Battled Quantum Randomness to Create a Unified Theory of Physics
Physicist Paul Halpern tells the little-known story of how Einstein and Schrödinger searched, first as collaborators and then as competitors, for a theory that transcended quantum weirdness. Learn more | See similar books
$19.28 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 5 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

On Being: A Scientist's Exploration of the Great Questions of Existence + Four Laws That Drive the Universe + The Laws of Thermodynamics: A Very Short Introduction
Price for all three: $43.74

Buy the selected items together
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 152 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (March 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199603367
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199603367
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.7 x 5.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #201,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review


"A paean to science."
--Times Literary Supplement


"An effortless read--a real page turner."
--BBC Focus


"Few can match the chiseled beauty of Peter Atkins's prose as he reflects on the nature of life and death, of beginnings and endings."
--Richard Dawkins


"A delight to read. Who else can cover the grand sweep of existence with such clarity and wit as Peter Atkins? The text sparkles with lively metaphors and arresting insights."
--Paul Davies


"Crisp with good sense, clear with scientific knowledge effortlessly imparted, and delicious with the sort of wit that makes you stop and put the book down just to enjoy it the more fully. It presents a vision of life and death, of matter and space and time that is honest and consistent and miracle-free."
--Philip Pullman


About the Author


Peter Atkins is Fellow of Lincoln College, University of Oxford. A leading chemist and writer of widely adopted textbooks, he is the author of Galileo's Finger and Four Laws, among other works.

Customer Reviews

I do not see such scenario and this book just proves it.
Regnal
I just read a borrowed copy, now I'm going to buy it so that I can have the pleasure of reading it again in a few months time.
multiman
Several tracts of explanatory text are as robust and charming to read as one will find anywhere.
Nigel Kirk

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are those who believe it should not be within the domain of science to discuss things such as birth, death, God and other esoteric subjects. Many feel these questions should be left to priests, minister, monks and witch doctors. This wonderful book (On Being: A scientist’s exploration of the great questions of existence by Peter Atkins) emphasizes through the use of reason, logic and rationality, that science not religion is best equipped to actually find the answers to the complex questions of life, death and existence.

I admit that this 111 page hardcover volume was not an easy read; nevertheless, the author’s dedication to using the scientific method in an attempt to answer some of the deeper mysteries of life is clearly explained. He uses some outrageous examples to get his points across which makes for an interesting approach. This book is organized into five subject areas. They include the beginning, progression, birth. death and ending.

This is the kind of book more scientists should write in order to respond to the mystical claims of religion. The author presents the material with such clarity that it is difficult to reject his conclusions. As a scientific minded person I found this book to be an interesting and informative read.
If you are seeking a book that makes you think about some of the mysteries of life from the scientific point of view this book is for you.

Rating: 5 Stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: Never Trust a Politician).
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By joseph rain on January 3, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
WARNING! A misleading title! The book addresses biological being, material, no relevance to spiritual, purpose etc..
I found this book through Sam Harris recommendations, but hugely disappointing!.
The author has great command of language, although may be difficult to understand for less fluent readers.
Lack of imagination, lack of holistic knowledge, no deeper understanding, just endless biological ramble etc... Example: In search of a purpose the author looks for a goal, rather than examine the path etc...
As a researcher of truth, spirituality and meaning of life I was expecting to learn something new, at least be presented with an inspiring new argument, yet this was not to be.
I like his definition of life, but this book has only reinforced my suspicion, that hard-core scientists have no desire to understand the implications of human consciousness... as I said, a misleading title, no offense meant to the author...
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gerald Farber on July 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very short and very dense book that uses science as an antidote to faith based assertions regarding creation, god, life after death, the rapture, the universe etc.
Atkins is an eloquent writer with a wry sense of humor but his scientific rebuttal of these myths is too technical. To his credit he urges the reader to skip some parts making a short book even shorter. He justifies his style as being a necessary counter to various versions of myths but in the exposition of this style he becomes tedious and boring.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Peter Atkins is a very well known scientist and thinker and his new book "On Being" made for a good read. Atkins is capable of presenting the philosophy of living chemicals that we call people and animals and goes into depth with his explanations of the chemistry of life without the magic
of ghostly wizards waiting to ponce on the newly dead. Holy religions are a disappearing form of philosophy as we enlarge our understanding of the vast universe that is around us.
K. R. Mercer
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
8 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Engle on October 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought Atkin's book hoping to get a scientists view on fundamental questions regarding life and the universe. He did deliver on this, but it felt as if he were trying to defend himself against popular religious beliefs nearly the entire book. I was very conflicted over his this; his content was good, but the tone left something to be desired.

Being a chemist like Atkins I like a direct approach to addressing questions, but he dismisses myth and religious tradition as being naive. That would be like saying Aesop's Fables are naive. These myths, religions, and philosophies are meant to teach an uneducated mass (especially if you look at them through a historical context). The lessons in these stories are not proof of anything, but rather emblematic of underlying philosophies. When they were written there was very little understanding of the physical sciences. I do agree that people have taken these stories too literally, but there is also risk in dismissing them altogether.

Ultimately it comes down to the popular belief that science and philosophy conflict with one another (religion in my mind being philosophy). Science is meant to deal only with that which can be measured. On the other hand philosophy is meant to address wisdom. People get too caught up in the minutia and fail to see that these are two distinctly separate areas. Enough of my ranting though...

I did like his scientific approach to fundamental human questions. To be honest I could only really digest one chapter at a time, but the rest of the day I was left with that chapter stuck in my head. He presents these problems with as little fluff as possible and uses sound scientific reasoning. I just didn't care for his defensive tone.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Peter Atkins was born in England in 1940 and went to the University of Leicester for his first degree (in chemistry) and his PhD (1964). After a year in UCLA as a Harkness Fellow he went to Oxford University as lecturer in physical chemistry and Fellow of Lincoln College, where he remained until his retirement in 2007. Some retirement! He continues to write books, which now number close to 70 with more on the way. He was the founding chairman of IUPAC's Committee on Chemistry Education, which is charged with bringing good practice in the teaching of chemistry, especially in developing countries, and has been a visiting professor in Japan, China, Israel, France, and New Zealand. He continues to lecture widely, both on aspects of chemical education and on the communication of science to the general public. He lives near Oxford.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
On Being: A Scientist's Exploration of the Great Questions of Existence
This item: On Being: A Scientist's Exploration of the Great Questions of Existence
Price: $19.28
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com