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Cover art for The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science

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

Written by Natlie Angier

This book should really be subtitled ďAll of those things that I should have learned in high school but didnít, which (in retrospect) is all my fault and not my teachers'.Ē This book lays out the basics of science Ė scientific thinking, probability, measurement Ė and then uses them to cover the major scientific disciplines: physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and astronomy. Angier manages to explain the deeply theoretical and practical with equal ease and shows how science impacts our lives every day and how important it is. She is also adept at showing the ways that all of these disciplines, taught separately in the classroom, interact and affect each other. Every time I sat down to read this book I felt smarter, because I finally understood what was going on in things Iíve been taking for granted my entire life.

That being said, Angier's writing style is not for everyone. Her use of metaphors, similes, and stories to explain different phenomenon means the prose sometimes tips from the merely flowery to the completely overwhelming. To paraphrase another reviewer, Angier never met a metaphor that she didnít saddle up and ride like the wind, often to exhaustion. While the writing is mostly enjoyable and sometimes distracting, her ability to explain science is first-rate.

Recommended by Andi



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