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Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy Paperback – June 2, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0307454584 ISBN-10: 0307454584 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (June 2, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307454584
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307454584
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“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.”
Booklist

About the Author

ROBERT M. HAZEN is the author of more than 350 articles and 20 books on earth science, materials science, origins of life, history and music. A Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he received the Mineralogical Society of America Award, the Ipatief Prize, the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award, and other awards for his research and writing. Hazen is a researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science and is Robinson Professor of Earth Sciences at George Mason University. His recent books include Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life's Origins and The Sciences: An Integrated Approach (with James Trefil).

JAMES TREFIL, Robinson Professor of Physics at George Mason University, is the author of over 40 books and 100 articles in professional journals. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the World Economic Forum. He is the recipient of the Andrew Gemant Award (American institute of Physics), the Westinghouse and Subaru Awards (American Association for the Advancement of Science) and the 2008 Science Writing Award (American Physical Society). His most recent books are Why Science and The Sciences: An Integrated Approach (with Robert Hazen).

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Customer Reviews

Humorous and entertaining as well.
Kristen Li
Life intervenes, but I am looking forward to finishing the book soon.
Rennyrij
Great book for the college student learning the basics of science.
Jonathan M. Rarrat

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By MV on August 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
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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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Regis Schilken on September 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eric Amberg on 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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Beth S on October 28, 2012
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 By Daniel on July 25, 2011
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 By D Hodie on September 29, 2010
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C.Ava on February 24, 2014
Format: Paperback
I have recently started to request my friends and family members read this book before they ask me questions about "science". It has helped me to not want to shoot them in the foot with a BB gun. B&N had 6 copies, I bought them all. I hand them out in hopes of gaining a sliver of intelligent silence from bible banging family members.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well, I’m finished reading this book, I was expecting something a little bit different than what I’ve read. So, I gave it a three star rating. To me, to explain why science matters is to start from the beginning of science in which the Author described as ancient Astronomers studying the heavens along with the Sun, Moon and Stars. This is good, It make sense since they was able to use the heavens as a clock to determine when to plow; seed and/or plant and when to harvest their crops. Also, these ancient societies also developed mathematics; discovered the pulley and lever and so forth. These scientific discoveries were useful in an Agriculture/Agrarian Societies for raising crops and building immense structures to their gods. But this was as far as they took it. The tough questions such as what causes the seasons along with the movement of the Sun, Moon and Stars were assigned to mystical Deities, like today’s Intelligent Designer.

I was kind a disappointed when the book did not address the Dark Ages by the Christians. The Sciences that really matter to modern times started in the Classical Greek times with men and women calling themselves “Natural Philosophers” that started to study Natural Phenomenon’s through their Natural Process excluding the Gods which lasted from about 300 BC to about 440 AD. The elliptical orbits of the planets were discovered and mathematically solved by a woman 1200 years before Kepler Laws in which she was killed and dragged through the streets of Alexandria by the Christians for her contribution to mankind. The destruction of the Library of Alexandria destroyed many scientific ideas discoveries that were made during this period such as the concept of the Atom; Evolution; Air; the Orbiting of the Planets; along with mathematics such as Calculus.
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