The Canon

The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science (4/5) — Why are people so scared of science? Why is most of the public so illiterate about science even though they use it every second of their life?

It is these problems that NYTimes science journalist Natalie Angier attempts to solve in this book by taking the reader on a fun filled, informational ride through the entire spectrum of science. The chapters of the book deal with scientific thinking, probabilities, scales, physics, chemistry, evolution, molecular biology, geology and ends in a bang with astronomy. This is not a dull science book with figures, facts and formulas. There is none of that. Instead, Natalie attempts to do storytelling in each chapter and explains everything using fun analogies and prose.

So how is the book? I felt it was great. Everyone, no matter how science literate or illiterate he is, will gain something from this book. Natalie’s prose is superlative and her analogies are really fun. Distilling the vast cloud of science into a few hundred readable pages is no easy task. I have to say that I haven’t come across any work before that has achieved it like this book. Since each chapter deals with distinctly different areas of science, the book can be split over many days without any feeling of book amnesia. The only chapter where stuff went over my head was that on molecular biology, all that protein synthesis and folding was too much for me. Other than that, the book was a complete win-win. Basic science has progressed much beyond the textbooks of my school days. This book gave me a chance to catch up to some of it. I came out of this experience with a better understanding and awe for every single thing around me — from the air I breathe to the sky I see every morning.

* Book excerpt — For a taste of the book.
* NYTimes review

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s