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The Best American Science & Nature Writing 2005 (Best American) Paperback – October 5, 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
Introduction, by this year's editor, Jonathon Weiner, who made the final selections: "Science writing is usually seen as a world apart even though its subjects surround us, fascinate us, and terrify us, even though at their best all of the arts and sciences share the same subject, which is the way things are."
Natalie Angier: Scientists are a far less religious group than are average Americans, yet only a flaskful of the nonbelievers amongst them have publicly criticized religion. The author reveals the number one thing scientists wish people understood: "Would you please tell the public...that evolution is for real...that the evidence for it is overwhelming, and that an appreciation of evolution serves as the bedrock of our understanding of all life on this planet."
Connie Bruck: Story of the politics and campaign to pass Proposition 71 in California, funding stem cell research. "One thing I know about biomedical science - once you're onto something, once you get the best and brightest funded to work on it, things move very, very fast."
Frederick Crews: Since the Rorschach's invention as an offshoot of psychoanalysis in 1921, it has survived near abandonment several times, only to be rescued by a new charismatic leader.Read more ›
My favorite articles include: Jared Diamond, "Twilight at Easter", a classic re-telling of the Easter Island parable of planet earth. I read this same account in his long book Collapse but I think in this shorter form it is more powerful and concise. Malcolm Gladwell's "Getting Over It" suggests that most of us get over traumatic experiences fairly well and don't need to dwell on it. Reinforcing this is Jerome Groopman's "The Grief Industry" which shoots giant holes in the whole PTSD theory and the industry it has spawned. Sherwin Nuland's "The Man or the Moment?" is a historiography piece about approaches to history, in particular the social historian who looks at the "zeitgeist" as the main driver, and the "great man" historians who focus on individual actions.Read more ›
Weiner opens the collection recalling his childhood fascination with atoms. He actually thought he saw some in a moment of dizziness. This "insight" leads him to note how physics and biology are gently merging through the growing field of molecular biology. Understanding genes means understanding molecular activities. More importantly, there are medical implications that we are only now beginning to understand. At the very root of our existence, organic molecules exist as both contributers and threats to life. Robert Kunzig's essay on deep sea sediments and other holdings of microscopic life show these places are also storehouses for methane. Once likely the dominant gas in our atmosphere, global warming may release floods of it again, compounding the "greenhouse effect". In a step up on the molecular complexity ladder, Sherwin Nuland discusses innovative "enhancement" technologies to improve appearance and prolong life. Various hormone "therapies" are already in use with more to come. Jenny Everett's essay on prompting children's growth using manufactured growth hormone struck a nerve with this reviewer. My son endured the daily injection programme for many years.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I agree with other 3 star reviews, the selections are becoming dated but some like the Easter Island story,remain important. Read morePublished on November 25, 2008 by James S. Kelley
Another great year of science writing. There is a lot of great stuff in this collection. I read these books every year and this one never disappoints.Published on October 16, 2007 by firstname.lastname@example.org
this book has alot of heavy science talk, but the lamen issues are easy to follow. the articles are most interesting, and after i read them i felt smart.Published on February 17, 2007 by AnHella
I look forward every year to the annual edition of this series and its competitor, Best American Science Writing. Read morePublished on March 21, 2006 by Angie Boyter
A mixed bag is good -- there's something for everyone. But I felt that there were too many "essays" and too many book reviews that I didn't think strictly belonged. Read morePublished on March 16, 2006 by Chhavi Sachdev