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The Relativity of Wrong

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1575660080
ISBN-10: 1575660083
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Isaac Asimov authored over 400 books in a career that lasted nearly 50 years. As a leading scientific writer, historian, and futurist, he covered a variety of subjects ranging from mathematics to humor, and won numerous awards for his work.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington (January 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1575660083
  • ISBN-13: 978-1575660080
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,641,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Those who are expecting an advanced text of physics, chemisty, or astronomy are going to be disappointed. This is a popularization. It's aimed at people who want to understand the basics of science but who don't have formal training. On that level, it suceeds brilliantly.
Even those that do have formal training, however, could benefit from reading the eponymous essay which offers a great rebuttal to those who think that scientific theories are just current guesses that can be radically overthrown at any given moment.
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Format: Paperback
"John, when people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if _you_ think that thinking the Earth is spherical is _just as wrong_ as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."
-- Isaac Asimov, "The Relativity of Wrong"

In other words, two answers may be wrong. But one answer may be _less wrong_ than another. Asimov states that science is not a process of replacing an absolute wrong with an absolute right so much as it is a process of refining relative wrongs. The essay that develops these ideas is the last in this collection, and it is worth the price of the book by itself.

The remaining sixteen essays are divided into three groups: "Isotopes and Elements," "The Solar System," and "Beyond the Solar System". One essay, "Opposite!" (on antimatter) is placed in the third category instead of the first section, because it leads into the next essay, "Sail On! Sail On!" (on interstellar flight). Asimov does not believe that an FTL drive will be anything more than a fictional convention, but he does believe that interstellar flight is possible. Read these essays to find out what it could be.

There are essays on two of the lesser known planets: Uranus ("The Unmentionable Planet") and Pluto ("The Incredible Shrinking Planet"). Asimov, incidently, is dead against the "demotion" of Pluto from planetary status and offers a classification system of his own. I am not sure that this system solves all the problems that emerged with the increasing size of the Kruiper belt.

Asimov gives attention to the appearance of Comet Halley in 1985. I went outside to look for it on the night of its arrival-- and saw nothing.
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Format: Paperback
This is the first book I ever pick up by Isaac Asimov & I hope his other books are better. I have to admit he is a good writer, but the book only goes over the basic of basics in chemistry & astronony (Not to say I have given up on him, but I guess I was expecting alittle bit more from a person who got his PHD at the age of 25). If you are just starting one of these subjects it is an easily understandable book.
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