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The Best American Science Writing 2007 2007 ed. Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
This year there are 20 articles from 11 different publications. It is heavy on medical science (8-9 essays) and human interest science rather than hard science - an advantage or disadvantage depending on how you look at it, but makes for easy reading.
My favorite article, by Jonathan Keats - John Koza has built an invention machine - Artificial Intelligence that solves complex engineering problems with minimal to no human guidance. The machine's method? - Darwinian evolution by natural selection: survival of the fittest computer code.
Tyler Cabot - Why the "theory of everything," that will unite quantum physic with Einstein's theories of relativity is a fool's errand.
Sylvia Nasar and David Gruber - Mathematician Gregory Perelman refused the honors and financial awards for solving the Poincare conjecture. A scramble ensued among others who wished to gain undue credit for that vacant seat of honor.
Robin Henig - A foolproof lie detector might be bad for human society. "After all, the skills of lying are the same skills involved in the best human social interactions."
Joshua Davis - The brain's system for recognizing faces is separate from its system for discerning other objects. Says one patient with a deficient facial recognition module, "Everyone looks the same so it's hard to commit emotionally with anyone."
Oliver Sacks - The only way to perceive depth rather than judge it is with binocular vision. Stereo Sue's newfound visual abilities were "absolutely delightful...ordinary things looked extraordinary.Read more ›
I am not sure that all of the articles meet her criterion of providing insight into important discoveries. I for instance found David Dobbs article on ' A Depression Switch' one which discusses a new surgical technique for treating depression which focuses on brain circuitry to be 'thin' in providing only one case- history in which the procedure was tried and seemed to work.
Tyler Cabot's piece on 'The Theory of Everything' provides a good survey of the work being done now on the realization of Einstein's great dream. String theory, M theory , Loop quantum gravity, the holographic universe- which will provide the theory which will unify all the forces of nature? He shows why there is so much anticipation of the experimental results which will be given by the C.E.R.N. Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland which is scheduled to go operational later this year.
The most powerful, dramatic, interesting, enjoyable piece in this collection I found to be Sylvia Nasr, and David Gruber's 'Manifold Destiny'. They describe the story of the solving of the 'Poincare Conjecture' in the Third Dimension.Read more ›
. . . progress in basic physics or mathematics, there are articles on the latest thinking and experiments. Tyler Cabot's "Theory of Everything" relates the "fool's errand" by those on that seemingly hopeless quest. Another apparently fruitless task was the solution of the famous Poncaire's conjecture - a century-old proposition with implications for both mathematics and cosmology. In an article about a bizarre mathematician, David Gruber and Sylvia Nasar relate the story of Field Medal [mathematics' Nobel Prize] winner Grigory Perelman. Jonathon Keats finds another application for numeric calculations in his essay on a computer-based "invention machine". Yet another article on numbers, more practical and, to some, useful is presented by Patricia Gadsby in "Cooking for Eggheads".
. . .Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A must read for just about everyone! Scientists, engineers, writers, philosophers, MDs and so on and so forth; everyone will find this collection of science stories an invaluable... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Sergio
whether technology or biology or revolving around the planets, this collection has the best of the journals providing you with only what you need and deleting the clutter!Published on July 7, 2013 by John S.
Got this book for an English course called Writing For Engineer, teaching us how to write and read analytically, and it was quite a good book. Read morePublished on September 29, 2011 by Aeon
No doubt this is a wonderful book, but I couldn't get past the editor's introduction. This editor, science reporter for the New York Times,announces that scientists have difference... Read morePublished on January 26, 2011
The articles sometimes seemed a bit exaggerated with the story telling, but it kept it interesting and not just the dry science. Read morePublished on August 28, 2010 by D. George
I tried to like this book but I found the selection to be quite uneven. As other have mentioned it is heavy on certain topics and light on others. Read morePublished on March 23, 2010 by Patrick Giagnocavo
Other reviewers have nicely summarized this year's edition. I found only four or five of the selections interesting,none a "Wow". Read morePublished on November 25, 2008 by James S. Kelley
BEST AMERICAN SCIENCE WRITING 2007 EDITED BY GINA KOLATA: Since this is the "best American science writing" of the year, you know it's going to be good. Read morePublished on March 10, 2008 by Alex C. Telander
I thought this year's volume was quite a bit better than usual - hence the fourth star. The selection is distinctly skewed in favor of various neurological topics, with relatively... Read morePublished on February 18, 2008 by David M. Giltinan