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Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars The Science of Measuring Scientific Progress, November 2, 2012
This review is from: The Half-life of Facts: Why Everything We Know Has an Expiration Date (Hardcover)
I found this book absolutely fascinating. Most books on science recount history, developments, progress and/or current events in some scientific field. But this book, on the other hand, describes how the rate of scientific progress can be measured, how it behaves as a function of time and how future progress can be predicted. The author also discusses how facts can evolve over time, how facts that have been proven wrong can persist, how scientific publishing really works and much more. The author writes well. I found his prose to be clear, friendly, lively and quite engaging.

Unfortunately, I did find a couple of instances where the information presented was rather misleading at best. In particular, on page 104 (near the middle), it is stated that "Richard Feynman ... shared the Nobel Prize with another physicist, Sin-Itiro Tomonaga". In fact, Feynman shared the 1965 Nobel Prize with two other physicists, not just one: Tomonaga and Julian Schwinger. Also, near the middle of page 123, it is stated "... when dry ice becomes carbon dioxide...". In fact, dry ice is carbon dioxide in the solid state.

Notwithstanding these minor shortcomings, I found this book to be quite absorbing and I learned quite a bit from it. Although it should appeal to a fairly wide readership, I believe that scientists and science enthusiasts would likely enjoy it the most.
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