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The Virtual Bookcase : Shelf Science

Explaining scientific subjects, research, developments in science.

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Science writer Michael White's subtitle, The Last Sorcerer, echoes John Maynard Keynes's assertion in 1942 that Isaac Newton (1642-1727) was not the Olympian rationalist portrayed by his worshipful early biographers. Newton was a great scientist, the author acknowledges; he was also an "obsessive, driven mystic," deeply involved in the pseudoscience of alchemy, subscriber to a heretical sect of Christianity, and damaged survivor of childhood traumas that rendered him a difficult, egotistical, quarrelsome adult. White makes recent research accessible to the general reader in lucid prose that knocks the academic dust off a towering historical figure.
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Reviews (2) and details of Isaac Newton: The Last Sorcerer (Helix Books)

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Book description
What fuels the creative fire of genius? Is it fierce determination, some special quirk of personality, or fortuitous coincidence? In Portraits of Discovery, astronomer and science writer George Greenstein profiles the lives often brilliant scientists to reveal the sources of their genius. He skillfully intertwines the stories of their personal lives and their work, showing how devotion to discovery "is what gives their lives meaning; what animates their days and consoles their nights". This is a book full of wonders. Greenstein puts us on the scene as Margaret Geller and John Huchra unfold a map of the universe, revealing astoundingly large and beautiful images of arcs of galaxies that go off the charts of our imagination. He probes the mys... Rest of this review on the detail page
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Reviews (2) and details of Portraits of Discovery : Profiles in Scientific Genius

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Scholarly publishing is changing and the changes will have an impact on all members of the academic community and on how they will go about creating and maintaining scholarship. Scholarly Publishing: The Electronic Frontier examines the critical issues facing universities, academics, libraries, and scholarly presses in the turbulent time when publishing is likely moving from a print to an electronic paradigm. The essays by all of the major participants in this "electronic revolution" explore the technical, social, and organizational impact of computer-mediated communication. They examine both ends of the continuum and everything in between -- from how the system might be completely overhauled to a gradual retrenching where much remains the ... Rest of this review on the detail page
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Reviews (2) and details of Scholarly Publishing: The Electronic Frontier

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Book description
Cosmology is the science of the nature, origin, and history of the universe. This book offers an accessible introduction to cosmology. It provides an overview of modern cosmology and contains worked examples of calculations to help readers understand the information presented.
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Reviews (2) and details of Towards the Edge of the Universe: A Review of Modern Cosmology (Wiley-Praxis Series in Astronomy & Astrophysics)

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Why do poets and artists so often disparage science in their work? For that matter, why does so much scientific literature compare poorly with, say, the phone book? After struggling with questions like these for years, biologist Richard Dawkins has taken a wide-ranging view of the subjects of meaning and beauty in Unweaving the Rainbow, a deeply humanistic examination of science, mysticism, and human nature. Notably strong-willed in a profession of bet-hedgers and wait-and-seers, Dawkins carries the reader along on a romp through the natural and cultural worlds, determined that "science, at its best, should leave room for poetry." Inspired by the frequently asked question, "Why do you bother getting up in the morning?" following publication... Rest of this review on the detail page
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Reviews (3) and details of Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion, and the Appetite for Wonder
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