In this exuberant book, the best-selling author Natalie Angier distills the scientific canon to the absolute essentials, delivering an entertaining and inspiring. Though Angier is a regular contributor to the Science Times section of this “The Canon” presents the fundamentals of science: numbers and. ONE to watch: out in paperback in early January is science writer Natalie Angier’s The Canon. It is an ambitious sweep through the basics of.
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The premise of The Canon, illustrated by the author’s sister cancelling her children’s science museum membership as they reach adolescence, is that there is cqnon imbalance to be redressed.
Why is it that worldly Manhattan sophisticates feel a working knowledge of the arts is a prerequisite for angidr fulfilled existence, but that the sciences are irrelevant, something for nerdy adults with no social skills to obsess about?
This book sets out an alternative pantheon. Cnon alluring, exciting even, to be shown ‘the fairy tales of sciences that happen to be true’. Sciences are ‘hard the way diamonds and rubies are hard,’ Angier tells us.
Starting with the idea that ‘the best way to teach science to non-scientists is to go for depth over breadth’, Angier’s research takes her to numerous leaders in their field to find out what they wish people better understood. This is then set out in chapters covering physics, chemistry, evolutionary and molecular biology, geology and astronomy, with a couple of ice-breaking chapters discussing probability, measurement and scientific thinking.
It’s all very promising, but The Canon is a narrative of promise unfulfilled. Angier’s chapters are long, dense and absolutely packed with theory.
This needn’t be a bad thing, but the writer’s presentation is meandering and counterproductive.
The Canon (Natalie Angier book) – Wikipedia
Understanding how things work feels good. Angiet no further – there’s your should. Jokes are built into almost every paragraph and their structure, usually a series of serious scenarios followed by a comical one, is tiresome. On the phenomena of physics, she asks: Angier argues that science is for sophisticates and then spends an entire book dressing it up in silly clothes to make it more palatable.
Not only is this annoying, it abgier self-defeating. The folksy humour and the optimistic, upbeat delivery are perhaps just a manifestation of native style in what is a very American book; in fact The Canon is at its most successful when this is in the foreground.
The chapter on evolution is an impassioned plea for reason that holds an extra anthropological significance for the British reader.
Natalie Angier, The Canon
From over here, that is pretty startling. There are further successes elsewhere. The chapter on geology begins at the Earth’s iron core and progresses, layer by layer, to the furthest reaches of the atmosphere.
It’s a logical sequence and a narrative the lay reader can easily follow. It ends by segueing with great skill into the final chapter on astronomy, with a discussion of that unimaginably profound experience known only to cann handful of fortunate space pioneers, ‘the transformative moment when they first looked down on the oneness of bright-blue marble Earth, their only home, and Earth looked back and said, “I know. But then, enticing though the premise was, it was nataile.
Science cannot be accessed in this way. The layman wants a demonstration.
THE CANON by Natalie Angier | Kirkus Reviews
Science maintains its outsider status not by means of a conspiracy against its nerdiness, but because, as its advocate readily enthuses, it is big, unwieldy, impossible to pin down. Still, The Canon makes a valiant attempt. Topics Science and nature books The Observer.