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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Preview — The Canon by Natalie Angier. But then, enticing though the premise was, it was flawed. The subtitle” A whirligig tour of the beautiful basics of science, should have been my first clue, but i translated whirligig as more whirlwind and i bought the book. In a book that is striving to be conversational, nqtalie chooses rather obscure and heady words to toss around.

The entire idea of the book is to teach science and yet I found myself floundering in a rant about how more people should just learn science and go into science and people really need to start valuing science and for god’s sake why can’t anyone see that I’M RIGHT In her Introduction, Angier writes:. Chemists have a persecution complex. This cabon then set out in chapters covering physics, chemistry, angiee and molecular biology, geology and astronomy, with a couple of ice-breaking chapters discussing probability, measurement and scientific thinking.

I freely confess that I glossed the chapter about evolution, not because, as a religious anything, I have an objection to the theory of evolution, Darwinism, or anything else, but simply because from page one I was perceiving a rather staggering pile of didactic reading to wade through.

Angier’s writing cqnon perfect for that kind of short, entertaining, and comical medium. My second bite was great.

Proudly powered by WordPress. That was this book. You know the joke that goes “sip, don’t gulp”?

Sawyer David Gerrold Charles Stross. Overall, I can’t see this book succeeding in its aim of introducing science to people previously unfamiliar, as it was far to long and dense and Cxnon think it would be quite overwhelming. The more I learn about the history of science, the more I realize why it has such a precarious, semi-mystical reputation with so much of the general public by now; because when the modern “scientific process” was first formed in the s, the first few generations of “scientists” were starting almost Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.


It would be really nice if she could just present the science without all of the metaphors and analogies.

Okay, whatever, but then one sentence later, “If you bought a euphorbia and nicknamed nataliee Saguaro, your aunt from Tucson might not see any cause to correct you. The description struck me as overly fanciful, and if she had stopped there i would anguer given a nod to the poetry and continued to read. This book sets out an alternative pantheon. In fact, this is easily the most annoying book I’ve ever read, not because the science is poor or the topics contrived.

What sort of texts every scientist must have read? If they had been, it would have made the book so much better. Overall, I found ‘The Canon’ to fall short of expectations and I hope that I find a book that delivers on it’s promise to make the basics of science interesting and accesible. How nice would it be, then, to have a simple yet smart guide to just the basics of science all over again, the building blocks of each field first discovered back during the Renaissance and Enlightenment by the exact proto-scientists just mentioned, the same material covered in school during childhood but in this case written expressly for grown-ups.

In fact, the subject areas Angier chooses to describe are somewhat intuitive and logically ordered for the most part. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.

The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier

Still, The Canon makes a valiant attempt. Xanon 08, Elazar rated it did not like it. Jan 26, Katie rated it really liked it Shelves: It has taken me a long time to finish it because science is not something I read for fun. My first bite was all I remembered and dreamed it could be. 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 an imbalance to be redressed.


First, Angier cannot go more than two paragraphs without throwing in some want-to-be-clever non sequitur. While her style can become a bit draining after a while, it is easy to see how much she loves science.

I don’t see how any adult can possibly not feel like a second grader while reading this. Smart, fun, friendly book about the sciences, with a separate chapter for each: The second law is the reason why either you or a hired professional must expend considerable effort to clean you house, but if you leave the place alone for two weeks while on vacation, it will get dirty for free.

Jul 31, Kaylee rated it did not like it.

The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science

She has obviously limited herself to a strictly American audience by including so many cultural markers, but even as an American myself, her references spanned so many topics and generations that I lost more than a few myself.

Back then I evaded chemistry by taking an earth science course Rocks for Jocks. There are further successes elsewhere. The author obviously loves language and finds ways to bring pop culture references in to help non-scientifically minded readers understanding.

So I found the chapter on molecular biology especially interesting. Look no further – there’s your should.

I have always been an “arts and letters” person, and faked my way through high school chemistry with lots of help and free answers from a friend.

If only science teachers at my high school had been as engaging as this writer. I was especially curious about her writing on molecular biology I have a PhD in this field and get frustrated with poorly written newspaper articles on mol.