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Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy [Kindle Edition]

Robert M. Hazen , James Trefil
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.95
Kindle Price: $11.99
You Save: $3.96 (25%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Knowledge of the basic ideas and principles of science is fundamental to cultural literacy. But most books on science are often too obscure or too specialized to do the general reader much good.

Science Matters is a rare exception-a science book for the general reader that is informative enough to be a popular textbook for introductory courses in high school and college, and yet well-written enough to appeal to general readers uncomfortable with scientific jargon and complicated mathematics. And now, revised and expanded for the first time in nearly two decades, it is up-to-date, so that readers can enjoy Hazen and Trefil's refreshingly accessible explanations of the most recent developments in science, from particle physics to biotechnology.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

These 18 lucid essays on chemistry, physics, geology, astronomy and biology help readers comprehend today's science news. "Hazen and Trefil . . . demystify many advanced topics with succinct, if often reductive analogies: Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle becomes a car wreck in a dark tunnel, for example," said PW. Illustrated.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“Lucid and lively. Hazen and Trefil have a particular genius for picturing even formidably abstract ideas in concrete images. . . . Science Matters is as good as they get”
The Washington Post Book World

“Hazen and Trefil [are] unpretentious—good, down-to-earth, we-can-explain-anything science teachers, the kind you wish you had but never did.”
The New York Times Book Review

“A book that even scientifically literate readers can consult . . . if they find their recollection of relativity or quantum mechanics getting shaky.”
New Scientist

“Ordered and accessible, never daunting, never jumping ahead of itself. . . . If you've always thought you could never understand science, Hazen and Trefil will show you you're wrong.”
Washington Monthly

“A thoughtful and concise overview of what the citizen needs to know about science.”
—E. D. Hirsch, Jr.

“Science does matter, as this book shows.”
—Isaac Asimov

“A model of clarity and coherence.”
—Leon M. Lederman, winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics

“Lucid. . . . Will cause readers to wonder what was so confusing about the Periodic Table of Elements they confronted in their school days.”
Publishers Weekly

“A first rate exposition-thorough, accessible, and entertaining-of the rudiments of scientific knowledge.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A confident overview of the fundamentals of science. . . . Comprehensible and carefully paced.”

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1706 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B007C4B5AG
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (June 9, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002CFQ6WC
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,237 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great starting point August 22, 2011
I have no science background except my own reading and after struggling through some higher level science books I thought I should try something more basic as a primer. I wanted something that would be particularly good at introducing the basic laws of physics particularly and that also took into account the complexities (Hiesenberg's uncertainty principle, Einstein's spacetime curvature, etc. and didn't water things down so much that I would miss important qualifications).

This book served its purpose. I was more interested in the physics and chemistry chapters than the earth science, which seemed to stick with me from high school. But, I did read through those as well.

Basic, readable primer for science principles. The version I had was published in 1990 but still seems relatively up to date on the controversies in the field. Seemed to provide a very clear cursory view of basic chemistry, fundamental laws and an introduction to quantum physics. Lots of analogy to help readers understand more difficult concepts. One of the best introductions I've seen that is able to take some really complex stuff and make it readable.

Makes a good read before diving into a more complex science book.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Science Matters Will Make You Scientifically Literate September 14, 2009
Do you believe the hype about UFOs? Do you think it's just a matter of time until some clever inventor builds a machine that will allow us to reach the nearest star and its planetary system? Are you a believer that God created the entire universe in seven precious days?

If you engage in conversation in a cafeteria, or on the bus/subway, or at a PTA meeting, or at an office work conference, or wherever you happen to meet another individual, what you say about these matters may reflect to others a certain naiveté on you part. Or if you choose to remain silent as I sometimes do, you might feel somewhat stupid.

This would also be true if you feel global warming is a myth, or that the natural selection process of evolution isn't for real, or that science should solve the abortion issue once and for all by telling people when a spirit or soul enters the substance we call a fetus.

If any of the issues I just raised perplex, confuse, or annoy you, then Science Matters is the perfect book for you. This volume will explain in terms anyone can understand, the reasons why it is impossible for humans to ever reach the nearest star and improbable that UFOs could reach our planet.

In terms that any lay person could understand, the book reveals what evidence there is for the Big Bang that brought forth the universe. This is not to short-circuit anyone's belief in a Divine Creator-God, but it may support true believers who know that the Holy Bible is meant to be allegory, not science.

Science Matters can explain how two sex cells unite to develop into a fetus, but cannot scientifically tell when that globule becomes a human being.
Read more ›
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great review for anyone- teachers too! October 28, 2012
By Beth S
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a high school chemistry/ physical science/ math teacher, I found the content of this book to be very approachable. I had the opportunity to read it as part of an online professional development course and am glad I did! I knew the biology/ ecology sections well, but the physical science concepts like quantum mechanics and electromagnetism weren't as familiar and I found the authors were quite knowledgeable on all the subjects. A great read for anyone wanting to know more about scientific concepts and for teachers who want to brush on on content they haven't seen in awhile.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading! July 28, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Education unfortunately had decided that science does not matter. Dr. Hazen provides us with reasons to the contrary. Civilizations would certainly not have advanced to where we are today if science was put on a back shelf. And we run the risk of falling behind if students' curiosity is not perked. Dr. Hazen describing the threads of science clearly should incentivize us all to return to the fore and bring back science to mainstream education.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book! July 25, 2011
By Daniel
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Loved this book, for the whole family it can be appreciated. Covering many facets of science that was easily read and flowed from chapter to chapter. Highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science DOES Matter September 29, 2010
By D Hodie
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is well written and engaging. It is for both scientifically as well as non-scientifically oriented people. It is a must read for anyone wanting to be educated enough to make some informed decisions about science now and in the future.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Science explained November 23, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This small book is about the best I have read on explaining almost everything one encounters in the field of science in a way that make it understandable by anyone. Well worth the effort and cost.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book, now upgraded September 6, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a very good review of basic topics in science, as others have noted. Science is fast-moving and it is not clear that all sections are completely up-to-date. In the book version, the following problem is not an issue, because you can always leaf through the pages easily. The major problem for the Kindle is that there is no table of contents and thus no way to overview and skip from chapter to chapter - you have to go through the book page by page. Books should not be released for Kindles without tables of contents; it would have been a simple matter to add one. Of course, if a view inside the book had been provided, this omission might have been apparent; as it was, I had to return the book.
Update: this book has been released with a table of comments, and there is a view inside, so I have upgraded the review to five stars. Wow! They listened? Kudos! Thank- you to commenters on my original review.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Pain in the butt to read
This book is chalk full of information! It's a good read when you
don't have to write an essay on it.
Published 11 hours ago by John Mwansa
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Overview of Science Today
A clear and sometimes humorous presentation of the spectrum of current scientific inquiry, written for the lay person. Read more
Published 1 month ago by BobInWi
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for educating annoyingly ignorant family members!
I have recently started to request my friends and family members read this book before they ask me questions about "science". Read more
Published 6 months ago by Cava
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, easy to follow
This book was very readable and broke terms down to help you achieve scientific literacy. Humorous and entertaining as well.
Published 6 months ago by Kristen Li
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is the best I've read explaining science and the scientific...
The majority of Americans are illiterate when it comes to science. This book is the best I've read explaining science and the scientific method to laypeople.
Published 9 months ago by Steve1290
5.0 out of 5 stars Great teaching tool.
Any one who teaches science, or is taking a science class, this is the basics. I have used this as a source for writing and close reading assignments in my classroom. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Judy D Dietzen
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, save one glaringly bias Chapter
This is a great book! A must read with one big flaw! But I’d like to start by saying that I’m a big fan of Robert M. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Bannon
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent
Well written, and a joy to savor. Science is glorious and Mr Hazen likes to share. This is the second of his works I've read, and I strongly recommend him to those who want to... Read more
Published 10 months ago by cyn r. johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great to build a "big picture" understanding of science
I've read it several times, and it's one of my treasured books. Highly recommended. It never gets too deep into the details of any subject, but still manages to cover all the major... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Codr9
5.0 out of 5 stars I like this book....
I have not finished it, but the first half at least is written for the purpose of being understood, without the reader feeling that he is being "talked down to". Read more
Published on May 11, 2012 by Rennyrij
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