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The Sacred beetle and other great essays in science

by Martin Gardner;

  Book

The sacred beetle and other great essays in science (Martin Gardner)    (2013-01-12)

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by wppalmer

Review of The sacred beetle and other great essays in science chosen and introduced by Martin Gardner published by Oxford University Press, Oxford in 1985

Reviewer: Dr William P. Palmer

This is a useful and well balanced selection of science writings (a sumptuous feast, according to the editor) by some of the world's best scientists and writers. The book is 427 pages in length made up of thirty two contributions, all less than twenty five pages long. I have added the list of contents to show the extensive and wide-ranging nature of the pieces selected. Some pieces were chapters from books and some are articles from journals which would probably be quite hard to find. This gives a good reason for purchasing this book as it provides a treasure trove of useful materials in one place.

Gardner is extremely skilful in presenting the material in an order where a set of ideas expressed by an author in one article appears to lead naturally into the next article. Gardner gives a brief introduction to each piece which is very helpful in indicating the main themes and also providing biographical information about the author. I also think that a number of the articles are quite hard intellectual work and may require reading for a second or a third time in order to understand them fully.

The book is rewarding reading and is thoroughly recommended.

CONTENTS
Preface
Prologue
FRANCIS BACON The Sphinx (1609)
CHARLES DARWIN Recapitulation and Conclusion (1859)
JOHN DEWEY The Influence of Darwinism on Philosophy (1909)
STEPHEN JAY GOULD Nonmoral Nature (1982)
WILLIAM JAMES The Problem of Being (1911)
HAVELOCK EUJS What Makes a Woman Beautiful? (1905)
JEAN HENRI FABRE The Sacred Beetle (1918)
GILBERT KEITH CHESTERTON The Logic of Elfland (1908)
CARLSAGAN Can We Know the Universe? Reflections on a Grain of Salt (1979)
JOSEPH WOOD KRUTCH The Colloid and the Crystal (1950)
JOSE ORTEGA Y GASSET The Barbarism of "Specialization" (1932)
THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY Science and Culture (1893)
JOHN BURROUGHS Science and Literature (1889)
ISAAC ASIMOV Science and Beauty (1983)
ERNEST NAGEL Automation (1955)
JONATHAN NORTON LEONARD Other-Worldly Life (1953)
J. ROBERT OPPENHEIMER Physics in the Contemporary World (1955)
ALFRED NORTH WHITEHEAD Religion and Science (1925)
JOHN DOS PASSOS Proteus (1930)
JUUAN HUXLEY An Essay on Bird-Mind (1923)
ARTHUR STANLEY EDDINGTON The Decline of Determinism (1934)
ALDOUS HUXLEY Science in the Brave New World (1932)
RACHEL, CARSON The Sunless Sea (1951)
MAETERLINCK The Nuptial Flight (1901)
H. G. WELLS The New Source of energy (1914) Science and Ultimate Truth (1931)
LAURA FERMI Success (1954)
SAMUEL GOUDSMIT The Gestapo in Science (1947)
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON Pan's Pipes (1876)
SIGMUND FREUD Dreams of the death of Beloved Persons (1900)
BERTRAND RUSSELL The science to save us from Science (1950) The Greatness of Einstein (1955)
ALBERT EINSTEIN E=mc2(1946)
LEWIS THOMAS Seven Wonders (1983)
Index

BILL PALMER




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