Timo's Book List of Popularized Natural and Behavioral
I feel that in education it is of utmost importance not only to know
one's own special field but also to have a general knowledge of
science in some other disciplines. This will help one to structure
and analyze many kinds of information for a better understanding our
existence on this planet. Here is for your edification my personal
long list of enjoyable readings in (mostly) popularized natural and
behavioral sciences material. This list out of my domestic
book-shelves could be useful to enhance one's general knowledge in
science. Most, but not quite all of the material is in English.
[To the latest addition]
Agel, Jerome, ed. (1970). The Making of Kubrik's 2001. 367. Agel
Publishing Company Inc. (An account of Arthur C. Clarke's epic
science fiction book/movie about our origins. It is also a story
of and speculation of artificial intelligence.)
Andreadis, Athena (1998). To Seek out New Life. The Biology of Star
Trek. 274. Crown Publishers, Inc., New York. (A book by a
neurology assistant professor at Harvard Medical School that is a
mix between science and entertainment. The subject is to speculate
what would be correct and what incorrect in scientific terms in
the popular Star Trek television series and films. She writes very
well in terms of biology, knowledge of the series, and a large
vocabulary that is uncommon with a writer born to another native
language. Throughout the book she manages to slip in a
considerable amount interesting of biology, molecular biology,
Darwinism and even some sound sociological knowledge and views.
Despite of being somewhat of an entertaining fan book of the Star
Trek series, the book does very well on the scientific aspect.)
Aronson, Elliot (1973). The Social Animal. 368. W.H. Freeman and
Company, San Francisco and London.
Isaac (1963). The Human Body: Its Structure and Operation.
320. Houghton Mifflin Company. (Although often primarily thought
of as a science fiction writer, the late Isaac Asimov also was an
associate professor of biochemistry and an amazingly prolific
popularizer, sometimes even a simplifier of natural sciences as
you will see from the huge number of his books on this list. Dr.
Asimov died on the 6th of April, 1992. By that time the number of
his published books exceeded 460 on all possible walks of life and
science. A feat that is unlikely to be surpassed by any other
popular science writer. No slight to his science fiction, but he
definitely was at his best as a lucid writer of science fact.)
Asimov, Isaac (1963b). View from a Height. 224. Discus Books edition
Asimov, Isaac (1964). Adding a Dimension. 205. Discus Books edition 1975.
Asimov, Isaac (1964b). From Earth to Heaven. 253. Discus Books
Asimov, Isaac (1964b). Opus 100. 280. Dell Publishing Co., Inc., New
York, New York.
Asimov, Isaac (1965). Of Time, Space and Other Things. 223. Discus
Books edition 1975.
Asimov, Isaac (1966). Neutrino: Ghost Particle of the Atom. 188.
Discus Books edition 1975.
Asimov, Isaac (1966b). The Universe: From Flat Earth to Quasar. 351.
Asimov, Isaac (1970). The Solar System and Back. 253. Discus edition
Asimov, Isaac (1972). The Tragedy of the Moon. Coronet edition 1975,
Asimov, Isaac (1973). Please Explain. 191. Coronet edition 1978,
Asimov, Isaac (1974). Earth: Our Crowded Spaceship. 174. Fawcett
Publications, Inc., Greenwich, Connecticut.
Asimov, Isaac (1974b). Today and Tomorrow. 176. Coronet edition
Asimov, Isaac (1974c). Towards Tomorrow. 173. Coronet edition 1977,
Asimov, Isaac (1974d). The Stars in their Courses. 222. White Lion
Asimov, Isaac (1975). Jupiter: The Largest Planet. 247. Ace Books,
Asimov, Isaac (1975b). The Left Hand of the Electron. 236. White
Lion Publishers Ltd.
Asimov, Isaac (1976). Only a Trillion. Revised edition. 221. Ace
Books, New York.
Asimov, Isaac (1976b). Quasar, Quasar Burning Bright. 221. Discus
Asimov, Isaac (1976c). Science Numbers and I. 226. Ace Books, New
Asimov, Isaac (1976d). The Planet that Wasn't. 237. Discus edition
- Asimov, Isaac (1976e). Twentieth Century Discovery. Revised
edition. 159. Ace Books, New York.
Asimov, Isaac (1977). The Beginning and the End. 253. Pocket Books
Asimov, Isaac (1979). A Choice of Catastrophes: The Disasters that
Threaten Our World. 365. Hutchinson.
Asimov, Isaac (1979b). Opus 200. 426. Dell Publishing Co., Inc., New
York, New York.
Asimov, Isaac (1979c). The Book of Facts, Volume 1. 333. Coronet
Asimov, Isaac (1979d). The Book of Facts, Volume 2. 345. Coronet
Asimov, Isaac (1981). The Sun Shines Bright. 268. Nightfall Inc.
(There is one chapter in particular in this books which I would
like every budding researcher to read. It is the fourteenth,
called "Alas, All Human". It discusses scientific integrity in
reporting and presenting one's measurements and findings.)
Asimov, Isaac (1982). Exploring the Earth and the Cosmos: The Growth
and Future of Human Knowledge. 339. Penguin Books.
Asimov, Isaac (1983). Counting the Eons. 254. Nightfall Inc.
Asimov, Isaac (1984). 'X' Stands for Unknown. 218. Nightfall, Inc.
Asimov, Isaac (1984). Opus 300. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.
Asimov, Isaac (1987). Far as Human Eye Could See. 267. Nightfall
Asimov, Isaac (1987b). Frontiers: New Discoveries about Man and his
Planet, Outer Space and the Universe. 390. Nightfall Inc.
Asimov, Isaac (1989). A 30 Year Retrospective 1959-1989. 393.
Asimov, Isaac (1991). Atom: Journey across the Sub-Atomic Cosmos.
319. Nightfall Inc.
Asimov, Isaac (1991b). Isaac Asimov's Guide to Earth and Space. 274.
Asimov, Isaac (1994). Asimov's Chronology of Science & Discovery.
791. HarperCollins Publishers.
Asimov, Isaac (1997). The Rowing Mind. New Edition (published
posthumously). 350. Prometheus Books, Amherst, New York. Preface
by Paul Kurtz. With Tributes by Carl Sagan, Stephen Jay Gould,
Arthur C. Clarke, Frederick Pohl, Martin Gardner, L. Sprague de
Camp, Kendrik Frazier, Harlan Ellison, James Randi, Donald
Goldsmith, and E. C, Krupp. (A befitting tribute to and a last
tour de force by the great, late popularizer of science.)
Attenborough, David (1979). Life on Earth: A Natural History.
319. William Collins and the British Broadcasting Corporation.
(The first of Attenborough's trilogy of natural histories.
Explains the advantages of the diverse solutions in the different
species made in the history by the natural selection process since
about three thousand million years ago.)
Attenborough, David (1984). The Living Planet: A Portrait of the
Earth. 320. Fontana/Collins. (The second of Attenborough's trilogy
of natural histories. Considers the effect of the different
environments on the evolution of the animals.)
Attenborough, David (1990). The Trials of Life: A Natural History of
Animal Behavior. 320. Collins/BBC Books. (The third of
Attenborough's trilogy of natural histories. Studies animal
behavior in connection with evolution's alternative solutions to
life's major challenges: birth, growing up, finding food, hunting
and escaping, homing, nest-building, coexistence, fighting,
communicating, courting and passing on one's genes. Shows the
adaptability and versatility of evolution to the environment and
Barnett, Lincoln (1950). The Universe and Dr. Einstein. Revised
edition. 128. Bantam Books, Inc., New York, New York.
Becklake, J. (1977). The Science Museum Exploring: Man on the Moon.
27. Raithby, Lawrence & Company Limited, Leicester and London.
Beier, Ernst G. and Vales, Evans G. (1975). People-Reading: How We
Control Others, How They Control Us. 316. Warner Books, Indiana.
Berger, Bob (1994). Beating Murphy's Law: the amazing science of
risk. 221. Dell Publishing, New York, New York. (A marginally
humorous cross between a courtship novel and risk, statistics and
probability popularization. A lightweight, but fairly readable.)
Biddle, Wayne (1998). A Field Guide to the Invisible. 185. Henry
Holt & Company Inc., New York. (A journey through all kinds of
things invisible. Including radiation, bacteria, gaseous
chemicals. Factual, but a bit pedestrian. Written at places with a
touch of wry humor. Fairly readable even if a bit repetitive at
Blackmore, Susan (1999). The Meme Machine. 264.
Oxford University Press. (About the new science of memetics, i.e.
the propagation of claims, ideas and concepts in human societies.
How they survive and replicate. A bit like the genes in the
genetics model. Competes and complements the explanations
presented in sociobiology. Unfortunately, the author has had
difficulties in deciding between writing popularized science and a
meriting scientific product. The end-result therefore is properly
neither. Furthermore, the introductory part (about half of the
book) is far too long-winding a repetition of the basics of
genetics vs. memetics before actually getting to the point. The
point being the memetic model and the explanations of behavior.
Besides, at times the obvious hero-worship of Dawkins (of "the
selfish gene", the initiator of memetics) by Blackmore comes a bit
too much through. Nevertheless, the basic idea is so intriguing,
novel and sound that the book most certainly is worth reading for
anyone who wishes to understand the modern backgrounds of human
behavior. The most interesting part of the book is the memetic
explanation for the persistent existence of various cults and
religions throughout history including the present technological
age, even if they objectively are so obviously false figments of
mass imagination. Likewise the analysis of the effect of the
Internet, and the many other well-presented ideas. The last half
of the book is decisively better than the first half. However, in
the very last chapter about the nature of human consciousness
through mimes Blackmore gets lost. Her theory in that respect
simply is not yet ready for presentation.)
Bova, Ben (1981), The High Road. 292. Pocket Books, New York. (Ben
Bova is best known as a writer of hard-science adventure-type
science fiction. He is a staunch proponent of the colonization of
space both in fiction and fact.)
Bragg, Melvyn with Ruth Gardiner (1998). On Giants' Shoulders. Great
Scientists and Their Discoveries - from Archimedes to DNA. 365.
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, Chichester, Weinheim, Brisbane,
Singapore, Toronto. (An exceptionally interesting book about the
lives, achievements and the influence of eleven acknowledged
scientist and one very controversial. The book portrays well the
cumulative nature of scientific contributions. Recommended generic
evening readings for at least any doctoral student for a wider
Bramson, Robert (1981). Coping with Difficult People. 226. Dell
Publishing, New York, New York. (Not just a trick book even if
that, too. Interesting insights in the human behavior of difficult
individuals and into facing up to them.)
Brockman, John [editor] (2002). The Next Fifty Years, Science in the
First Half of the Twenty-First Century. 301. Vintage Books, A
division of Random House, Inc., New York. (A collection of
speculation essays of a very uneven quality about the expected
developments in human knowledge. The more interesting ones are
towards the end concerning the future of medicine and biology. On
the other hand, one clearly sees that some of the middle essays
are half-hearted, forced journeys into the discipline of the
respective authors, who have forcibly come of with anything.
Selectively, however, worth reading.)
Bronowski, J. (1973). The Ascent of Man. 448. Science Horizons Inc.
Calder, Ritchie (1968). Man and the Cosmos: The Nature of Science
Today. 285. The Pall Mall Press.
Calder, Nigel (1978). Spaceships of the Mind. 144. Penguin Books.
Arthur C. (1967). The View from Serendip. 237. Pan Books,
London and Sydney.
Clarke, Arthur C. (1973). Profiles of the Future. Second revised
printing. 249. Pan Books Ltd, London. (Although certainly best
known as the number one science fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke
has written some good science fact books. He is well acclaimed for
having foreseen the idea of communication satellites. In science
fiction many consider his "2001: A Space Odyssey" the best novel
in its genre, and a start of a new era in film industry.)
Clough, Bryan and Mungo, Paul (1992). Approaching Zero: Data Crime
and the Computer Underworld. 242. faber and faber, London, Boston.
(Interesting anecdotes, myths, stories and legends of infamous
Collins, Carolyn and John C. Brant (1995). Hubble Vision. Astronomy
with the Hubble Space Telescope. 252. Cambridge University Press.
Cooper, Henry, S.F., Jr. (1972). Moonwreck. 156. Panther. (An
account of the Apollo 13 flight. No, this is not of the film with
Cooper, Henry, S.F., Jr. (1976). A House in Space. 156. Panther.
(The Skylab story.)
Couper, Heather and Henbest, Nigel (1985) The Planets. 144. Pan
Books, London and Sydney.
Crick, Francis (1966). Of Molecules and Men. University Washington
(1995). River out of Eden. A Darwinian View of Life. 196. Phoenix.
(This is undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best written
popular science book about the modern knowledge about Darwinism.
We all are familiar with the basic principle of Darwinism, but
this book lucidly explains and applies what is currently known in
genetics about how the DNA code works in natural selection. It is
a good lesson even for a scientist to be able to consider ones
observations detached from one's potential, subjective beliefs.
Also, books like this effectively dismantle creationism-type of
present-day pseudo sciences.)
Dawkins, Richard (1996). Climbing Mount Improbable. 340. W.W. Norton
& Company, Inc., New York. (Based on Dawkins's lectures on the
gradual persistent nature of evolution. Looks things from the
point of view of the DNA. At places a bit repetitive and technical
for a popularized text. Simulation and especially gaming are used
as conceptual tools for the book.)
Dawkins, Richard (1996). The Blind Watchmaker. Why the evidence of
evolution reveals a universe without design. 358. W.W. Norton
& Company, New York, London. The 1996 edition. First edition
1986. (Dawkins explains at excruciatingly slow pace and needless
repetition how natural selection is based on the process on
gradual cumulative selection where the seemingly astronomically
improbable designs in life has arisen. This is a very important
and correct defense of Darwinism against deliberate modern-day
scientific folly and distortion such as creationism. It is most
unfortunate that Dawkins uses at least three times more pages than
is necessary in endless repetition of the same theme. In that
sense, while scientifically very sound, the book is badly written
from the point of reader friendliness. Dawkins, no doubt is lucid,
but his writing style in this book cannot help being a tedious and
boring overkill of repetition. Fortunately his other books, which
I have read, are not quite as bad in this respect even of the same
problem occurs to an extent.)
Dawkins, Richard (1998). Unweaving the Rainbow. Science, Delusion
and the Appetite for Wonder. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York,
New York. 337. (More guaranteed Dawkins's basically cold but
absolutely solid reasoning about science and evolutionary biology.
This time, however, with personal touches. One small, but
interesting diversion in a single paragraph is that professor
Dawkins does not consider economics an academic deductive science.
So even a respected, rational scientist can display amazing
ignorance and scientific prejudice. I diametrically disagree with
him on that one point.)
Dawkins, Richard (2003). A Devil's Chaplain. Selected Essays. Edited
by Latha Menon.310. Phoenix.
Dawkins, Richard (2006). The God Delusion. 406. Bantam Press. (A
strong rebuttal of religion and its attempts to replace modern
science. Going all the way to advocating atheism. The arguments as
such are well-founded and thoroughly argued. However, in literary
terms the book is written outright boringly. The author has been
unable to decide whether he is writing a treatise or popularized
science. Consequently, it does well on neither. He has missed a
really golden opportunity on an extremely important subject to
have a say that would reach a wide audience.)
Editors of Time-Life Books (1989). Spacefarers. 144. Time-Life
Editors of Time-Life Books (1989b). The Far Planets. 144. Time-Life
Editors of Time-Life Books (1989c). The Near Planets. 144. Time-Life
Editors of Time-Life Books (1989d). The Third Planet. 144. Time-Life
Ehrensvärd, Gösta (1971). Före - efter, en diagnos.
Engelbrektson, Sune (1975). Stars, Planets, and Galaxies. Knowledge
through Color. 159. Bantam Books, Toronto, New York, London.
(2004). Vien rucolan takaisin. 153. Werner Söderström
Osakeyhtiö, Helsinki. (Essays on science, philosophy and
culture by a professor of cosmology. Written with admirable
knowledge of even small details and with nice, wry humor. But at
some places a bit self-aware and at others occasionally overly
specialized. In any case, written in style. Entertaining reading.)
Fast, Julius (1971). Body Language. 190. Pan Books, London and
Sydney. (Understanding our non-verbal, and often unconscious
Fast, Julius (1977). The Body Language of Sex, Power and Aggression.
190. Jove HBJ Books, New York.
Fischer, Daniel and Buerbeck, Hilmar (1996).
Hubble; A New Window to the Universe. Originally: Hubble: Ein
neues Fester zum All. Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 175. (The
history of, and the observations and the astronomy/cosmology
science of the Hubble Space Telescope HST. Especially, if you have
some earlier knowledge of astronomy this book and its color
photographs will be of interest even if it naturally lacks the
later events and observations.)
Francis, Peter (1981). The Planets: A Decade of Discovery. 411.
Frazier, Kendrik and The Editors of Time-Life Books (1985). Solar
System: Planet Earth. 176. Time-Life Books, Amsterdam.
Gardner, Martin (1959). Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions. 155.
Gardner, Martin (1961). More Mathematical Puzzles and Diversions.
155. Penguin Books.
Gardner, Martin (1971). Space Puzzles: Curious Questions and Answers
about the Solar System. 129. Pocket Books, New York.
Goldsmith, Donald (1977). Scientists Confront Velikovsky: Evidence
against Velikovsky's theory of worlds in collision. 183. W.W.
Norton & Company, New York and London. (Instead of just the
usual shrugging off of such crackpot fringe sciences, this books
exposes the Velikovsky cult shredding it to pieces step by step by
Gross, Paul R. & Norman Levitt & Martin W. Lewis [eds]
(1996). The Flight from Science and Reason. 593. The New York
Academy of Sciences, New York, New York.
Hapgood, Fred (1979). Space Shots: An Album of the Universe. 79.
Tree Communications Inc.
Harva, Urpo (1973). Aikuisten opettaminen: Adrodidaktiikan
peruspiirros. 2. painos. 148. Kustannusosakeyhtiö Tammi,
Hawking, Stephen W. (1988).
A Brief History of Time. 211. Bantam Books, New York, Toronto,
London etc. (The science book everyone reputedly claims to have
read through, but haven't. I make the same claim, but have. It is
a deep insight about black holes, the concept of singularity and
their relation to the origin of the universe.)
Hellman, Hal (1998). Great Feuds in Science. Ten of the Liveliest
Disputes Ever. 240. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York,
Chichester, etc. (As the title says. A review of the greatest
disputes starting from the days of Galileo. Looks into the
disputes, their frameworks, and into the personal histories of the
persons involved. Much of the subject matter of the book should be
familiar to any professional scientist, but the personal histories
and the tales of the other actors involved has many interesting
less known nuances. It shows how the gravest of the disputes
involve religion, power and even modern day ignorance and
intolerance such as the cases of Galileo versus the Catholic
church, and Darwin versus his contemporaries and later versus all
kinds of religious fundamentalists, especially in the United
States education. Some feuds are over precedence of ideas as in
the case of Newton versus Leibniz concerning calculus. Some are
about the difficulty of accepting revolutionary new explanations,
as in the case of Wegener and the plate tectonics driving the
continental drift. Many are basically over differing philosophical
viewpoints. Some are over interpretation of sociological
observations as in the case of Mead versus Freeman. The scientific
level of the book is kept at a fairly popular level, and is not
always very strong on that aspect. But altogether, it makes very
interesting reading in its story telling role.)
Henbest, Nigel (1994) The Planets: Portraits of New Worlds. 208.
Penguin Books, Fromme and London. (A tour guide with pictures to
the nine planets of the solar system. Mostly descriptive but
tangents how the observations fit our knowledge of how the planets
were born. Also briefly reflects on the importance of
understanding the processes that made the climates of Venus, Mars
and Neptune because they would facilitate understanding Earth's
greenhouse phenomenon, the ice ages and the weather.)
Heppenherimer. T.A. (1977). Colonies in Space. 321. Warner Books.
Horgan, John (1996). The End of Science. Facing the Limits of
Knowledge in the Twilight of the Scientific Age. 322. Broadway
Books. (A book by an award-winning senior science writer at
Scientific American on a crucial subject. Has basic science
reached its limits with all the most important discoveries already
made [Newtonian mechanics, Darwinism, relativity, DNA structure,
etc.] The book considers the current situation in many fields,
including philosophy, physics, cosmology, evolutionary biology,
social sciences, and chaos and complexity research with interviews
from world's leading scientists in each field. Is science facing
an unprecedented and irrevocable change? Is it now a time for a
golden era of applied research and technology? The answer seems to
be a qualified yes. While this is a very well-written and
thought-provoking book, it gives perhaps a disproportionate
emphasis to border-line and even charlatan philosophies in various
disciplines. But on the other hand resorting to maverick science
is a sign of the present-day difficulties of making genuine
scientific contributions. ... It is clear that Mr. Horgan is a
very good science writer who has had access to an impressive
number of world's top and other scholars in the major fields.
Considering this, his attitude towards his subjects is strange.
While interpreting often brilliantly lucidly their thoughts,
Horgan is conspicuously unfriendly towards his subjects. True,
scientists can be strange as persons, but Horgan's descriptions of
his interviewees as persons becomes more and more obnoxious and
insulting. A subliminal inferiority complex? The book is too long.
After the promising first half the author gradually loses it
towards to the end by imagining himself the hero of the scene. The
afterword of the book reveals a crushing critique towards the
earlier edition. This does not come as a surprise. Despite these
partly critical comments it also must be said that the language
usage of the book is exemplary.)
(1964). Of Men and Galaxies. University Washington Press. (Fred
Hoyle is a controversial figure in astronomy. His much debated
ideas include the steady-state model of the universe and the
suggestion that life originated within interstellar gas clouds. He
also is a science fiction writer. His best-known science fiction
novels are the classics The Black Cloud in 1957, and A for
Andromeda in 1961 with John Elliot.)
Huff, Darren (1954). How to Lie with Statistics. 118. Victor
Huikari, Olavi (1999). Puun ihme. 154. Terra Cognita, Hakapaino,
Helsinki. (The Miracle of Wood. In Finnish. A somewhat dryish, but
yet interesting book on the biology and structure of trees as
living organisms. Emphasizes the versatility and dominant nature
of of trees and their ability to use and store solar energy. The
writing is characterized by the author's obvious enthusiasm about
his subject, the wood. Definitely worth reading for elaborating
one's general knowledge in this subject area, historically very
important to the economy of Finland. The treatment is oriented
towards a listing of technical facts and details. A more problem
and research oriented approach would probably have had made the
book more interesting and usefully educational.)
Hutchings, Edward (ed.) 'Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!' :
Adventures of a Curious Character. (A biography of physicist Richard P. Feynman.
Shows how a celebrated Nobel-price-winning scientist can also be
an impish human being.)
Häyry, Heta, Hannu Karttunen & Matti Virtanen, eds (1989).
Paholaisen asianajaja. Opaskirja skeptikoille. 312. Ursa,
Isaacs, Alan (1972). Introducing Science. Second edition. 256.
Jones, Brian (1991). Exploring the Planets. 96. Brian Todd
Publishing House Limited.
Ketonen, Oiva (1976). Se pyörii sittenkin: Tieteenfilosofian
peruskysymyksiä. 201. Werner Söderström
Osakeyhtiö, Porvoo, Helsinki.
Kidder, Tracy (1981). The Soul of a New Machine. 254. Penguin Books.
(The story of the making of the 32-bit mini computer at Data
General. A story of hectic microcoding and a team finally gone
wasted. Incidentally, this book has later been hailed an
interesting case research story even if a systematic analysis is
Kline, Morris (1953). Mathematics in Western Culture. 543. Penguin
Laaksonen, Juha and Pyykkö Minna (2003). Ihmeitä Suomen
luonnossa. 176. Gummerus Kustannus Oy, Jyväskylä.
Larkin, Sonya and Bernbaum, Louise (1976). The Penguin Book of the
Natural World. Penguin Books.
Larkin, Sonya and Bernbaum, Louise (1976b). The Penguin Book of the
Physical World. Penguin Books.
Laurikainen, K. V. (1973). Atomistiikan aatemaailma ja sen
heijastumia aikamme ideologiassa. 226. Werner Söderström
Osakeyhtiö, Porvoo, Helsinki.
Laurikainen, K. V. (1991). Filosofiaa fyysikon silmin. 155.
Lederman, Leon and Teresi, Dick (1993). The God Particle: If the
Universe is the Answer, What is the Question? 435. Houghton
Mifflin Company, New York, New York. (Best parts and insights by
the Nobel Prize winner Leon Lederman are at the beginning. Loses
touch towards the end by becoming too specialized particle physics
in the later chapters. The book would have been excellent
condensed to two hundred pages.)
Lehtonen, Johannes (1994). Mielen kellareissa:
Tieteidenvälisiä tutkimusretkiä. 133.
Yliopistopaino, Helsinki. (This book factually contains three
separate sections. The first ponders the potential similarities of
psychoanalysis and neurophysiology despite the fundamental
differences in their doctrines, the hermeneutic approach and the
classic natural science approach. This section stresses that these
two can be reconciled, and constantly repeats the theme without
truly managing to make progress beyond a (sound) personal
conviction. The second section looks into the role of dreaming in
a framework of satisfaction of basic needs. The third section,
while short, is absolutely the best in the book. It is an incisive
analysis of the psychological dimension of the environmental
problems of mankind.)
Lorentz, Konrad Z. (1975). Eläimet kertovat: Eläinten
käyttäytyminen tiedemiehen tulkitsemana. 225. Translated
from: Er redete mit dem vieh, den vögeln und den fichen.
Kustannusosakeyhtiö Tammi, Helsinki. (Konrad Lorenz is a
respected researcher of animal behavior before the time of the
major animal behavior research popularizers like Attenborough and
Macdougal, J.D. (1996). A Short History of Planet Earth. Mountains,
Mammals, Fire, and Ice. 266. Wiley Popular Science, John Wiley
& Sons, Inc., New York, Chichester, Brisbane, Toronto and
Singapore. (A well written, interesting and concise geologic and
paleontological overall 4.6 billion year history of our planet's
past. Very instructive about the importance of evidence in the
field, and in any discipline at that. Looks at the broad outlines
of its subject. On the geologic side the plate tectonics have a
crucial role. On the paleontological side the great extinctions at
the geologic time boundaries feature dominantly. The only
criticism is that the subtile of the books is not well-chosen.
Maybe "A Geologic and Paleontological View" would have been
Meadows, Donella H., Meadows, Dennis L., Randers, Jorgen and
Behrens, William W. III (1972). The Limits to Growth: A Report for
the Club of Rome's Project on the Predicament of Mankind. 207.
Signet. (A classic. The most important initiator of the resource
and environmental concerns.)
Moore, Patrick (1976). The Next Fifty Years in Space. 144. William
Moore, Patrick (1990). Mission to the Planets: The Illustrated story
of man's exploration of the solar system. 128. Cassell.
Moore, Patrick and Hunt, Gary (1983). The Atlas of the Solar System.
464. Mitchell Beazley International Ltd, London.
Morris, Desmond (1967).
The Naked Ape. 219. Gorgi. (The famous popularized, perceptive
insight into man as an animal species. This is what we are
irrespective of whatever haze religions have tried to cast. Of
course, in the light of the more recent results e.g. in
evolutionary psychology some of Morris's conclusions are outright
misleading, but it does not diminish in any way the value of the
seminal basic concept.)
Morris, Desmond (1969). The Human Zoo. 222. Gorgi. (A sequel to The
Naked Ape looking at man's society.)
Morris, Desmond (1971). Intimate Behavior. 222. Gorgi.
Morris, Desmond (1977). Manwatching: A Field Guide to Human
Behavior. 320. Triad/Panther Books, Frogmore St Albans, Hetz.
Morris, Desmond (1979). Animal Days. 320. Triad.
Morris, Desmond (1981). The Soccer Tribe. 320. Jonathan Cape Ltd,
London. (Explores the phenomena on and off the soccer field in
terms of man's tribal origins.)
Morris, Desmond (1985). Bodywatching: A Field Guide to the Human
Morris, Desmond (1986a). Catwatching and Catlore. 232. Arrow. (No, I
am not at all into cats as pets. But I am interested in the
explanations and patterns of the behavior of the different
species, including ours.)
Morris, Desmond (1986b). Dogwatching, 130. Jonathan Cape Ltd,
London. (Now what does this have to do with general science. Quite
much, in fact, if one looks at it from the scientific enquiry
angle. The book explores and explains canine behavior based in the
lupine ancestry. This is a clear case of a model time and again
fitting and supported by the observations.)
Morris, Desmond (1990). Animalwatching. 256. Crown Publishers, Inc.,
Morris, Desmond (1990b). The Animal Contract: Sharing the Planet.
169. Gorgi. (Explores the relationship and coexistence of man and
animals in terms of a contractual model.)
Morris, Desmond (1992). Babywatching. 214. Brown Publishers, Inc.,
New York. (A popularized scientific look at the first year of
human life. Highly interesting in shedding light on what parts of
the early behavior of our species are hard-wired in our genes and
which are learned. Also explains and strongly criticizes the many
incredibly ignorant doctrines in child care, the totally barbaric
tradition circumcision as the most flagrant abuse example.)
Morris, Desmond (1994). The Human Animal. A Personal View of the
Human Species. 224. BBC Books, London. (In effect a summary of
Morris's other books and his results on human behavior explained
in terms of our genetic behavior as an animal species. To be
highly recommended if you wish to understand this subject, but
want only to read a single book on the subject.)
Morris, Desmond (1997). The Human Sexes. A Natural History of Man
and Woman. St. Martin's Press, New York. (An educational book
based on a TV series. It looks at the genders based on evolution's
cooperative model. Morris puts forward how the unnatural gender
inequality is a product of the changes caused by the rise of the
agricultural society about ten thousand years ago. The text leads
the reader analytically throughout the different aspects of the
gender roles in the readable style typical of Morris. The book is
well-founded call for equality between the genders.)
Morris, Desmond (2004). The Naked Woman; A Study of the Female Body.
276. Vintage, Reading, Berkshire. (A treatise of female anatomy
and the evolutionary processes that have shaped it. Despite of its
somewhat marketing-oriented title, this is a straight, serious
popularized science book.)
Morrison, David (1993). Exploring Planetary Worlds. 238. Scientific
American Library, NY New York, Oxford. (A nice exposition of the
solar system and its development in a novel perspective. The
system is considered in its logical order of development from the
original nebula. It considers first the gaseous planets, then the
rocky inner planets and finally the moons.)
Myers, Eldon, consultant ed. (1993). Rainforests. 160. Time-Life
Myers, Eldon, consultant ed. Mountains. 160. Time-Life Books,
Nicolson, Iain (1970). Exploring the Planets. 160. Hamlyn, London.
Niitemaa, Vilho toim. (1974). Luonnontieteellisen tutkimuksen
historiaa. 294. Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö,
Northrop, Eugene P. (1944). Riddles in Mathematics. 240. Penguin
Oja, Heikki (2000). Saturnuksen taakse: 1990-luvun
löytöretket aurinkokunnassamme. 160. Ursan julkaisuja
74. Tähtitieteellinen yhdistys
Ursa ry. Gummerus Kirjapaino Oy, Jyväskylä 2000. (A
fascinating account in Finnish on the space probe missions since
1990. Makes interesting reading for the layman about the history
and fate of these data gathering flights and their complicated
trajectories. However, a scientifically oriented reader would like
to know a bit more about the scientific use and analysis of the
observations collected, and about the calculations required for
devising the trajectories. If not in the actual text, in
Paasonen, Seija (2001). Sää. 166. Werner
Söderström Osakeyhtiö, Helsinki. (A nice "easy
reader" in Finnish about the basics of weather phenomena.)
Palviainen, Asko & Heikki Oja (2010). Maailmankaikkeus:
Tähtitieteen vuosikirja 2011-2012. 11. vuosikerta. 208.
Tähtitieteellinen yhdistys Ursa ry.
ISBN 978-952-5329-84-1. (The yearbook of astronomy in Finnish.
Despite of its name largely contains interesting basic astronomy
knowledge all throughout planets to cosmology. A select number of
the year's astronomy images. A summary of the main space events of
from Summer 2008 to Spring 2010.)
Pietiläinen, Antti (2002). ...Sanoi tiedemies. Terra Cognita
Oy, Helsinki. 179. ISBN 952-5202-60-7. (Aphorisms, sayings and
witticisms on science. An entertaining collection.)
Pihkala, Juha & Esko Valtaoja (2004). Nurkkaan ajettu Jumala?
keskustelukirjeitä uskosta ja tiedosta. 304. Kirjapaja Oy,
Helsinki. (Twenty discussion and debate essays of correspondence
about faith and religion between an enlightened believer a bishop
and an agnostic a professor of astronomy specializing in cosmology
and general science writing. The discourse is between two highly
civilized, entertaining and openly-writing thinkers. The main
theme, even if perhaps not always explicitly stated is that of the
origins of human responsibility, faith, kindness and evil. It is
much less a discussion about science than a personal discussion
about the various facets of religion. Even with that slight
imbalance it is exceptionally important and well-written book,
certainly to be recommended to religious and non-religious alike.)
Pizzey, Stephen (1977). The Science Museum Exploring: The Solar
System. 27. Raithby, Lawrence & Company Limited, Leicester and
Rainio, Kullervo (1971). Informaatiosota ja vapaa ihminen. 75.
Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö, Porvoo, Helsinki.
Raudseep, Paul toim. (1993). Suuntana Mars: Kertomus sodanjumalan
nimellä ristityn punaisen Mars-planeetan nykytutkimuksen
vaiheista nähtynä suomalaisten tutkijoiden silmin. 317.
Oy Raud Publishing Ltd., Helsinki.
Rinne, Juhani & Jarmo Koistinen & Elena Saltikoff toim.
(1998). Suomlainen sääkirja; etanasta El Niñoon.
253. Otava, Keuruu. (In Finnish. An interesting book of facts
about the weather with an emphasis on the Finnish climate.
Research is only briefly touched in explaining observation
recording and weather prediction computer models. Fairly well
written and definitely worth leisurely reading.)
Russell, Bertrand (1978). The Conquest of Happiness. First published
in 1930. 191. Unwin Paperbacks, London.
Russell, Bertrand (1975). Bertrand Russell's Best: Silhouettes in
Satire. Selected and Introduced by Robert E. Egner. First
published in 1958. 191. Unwin Paperbacks, London.
Saarenheimo, Eero toim. (1967). Aikamme kaksi kulttuuria:
Humanistisen ja luonnontieteellisen kulttuurin välistä
rajankäyntiä. 142. Werner Söderström
Osakeyhtiö, Porvoo, Helsinki.
Carl (1973). The Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial
Perspective. 274. Coronet Books, Hodder Paperbacks Limited,
Sagan, Carl (1974). Broca's Brain: The Romance of Science. 426.
Sagan, Carl (1975). Other Worlds. 160. Bantam Books, Toronto, New
Sagan, Carl (1977). The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the
Evolution of Human Intelligence. 263. Coronet Books. (This book
won the late professor Sagan the Pulitzer Price in 1978.)
Sagan, Carl and Druyan, Ann (1992). Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors.
505. Ballantine Books, New York. (This is poignantly Darwinian and
a realistically atheistic account of the long history of DNA and
the consequent status of life on our planet. If there is one book
that can best convey the background of our existence, this is it!
The book comes uncomfortably close to being a rational scientist's
Sagan, Carl (1994). Pale Blue Dot. A Vision of the Human Future in
Space. 429. Random House, New York. (A tour of the solar system
research from the number one planetary scientist. Strongly extols
the necessity of human colonization of space and the continuation
of funding for SETI to the point of disturbing the flow of the
text. A reminder of today's species-threatening environmental and
technological hazards. It is an interesting book in its inside
knowledge of planetary science and the robotic missions. Also,
there is a very important embedded lesson to be learned from the
book for case research. It demonstrates how much the knowledge of
the Earth's climate system models have gained from studying the
climate systems of Venus and Mars. That is from being able to
compare the original case with other instances. The one-case
advocates would do well to pay careful attention to the crucial
addition of knowledge brought in by the comparisons.)
Sagan, Carl (1995). The Demon-Haunted World. Science as a Candle in
the Dark. 457. Random House, New York. (The late professor Sagan
writes at considerable length of the folly of various
superstitions ranging from the middle-ages witch-hunts to the UFO
and alien abductors loonies and other new age religions of today.
Unfortunately he unnecessarily drags on for hundreds of pages with
detailed accounts of these various superstitions. The crucial
points could have been amply made in a fourth of the space used.
But it still is an important book with its solid, scientific
views. One of the highlights of the book is Sagan's baloney
detection kit in the chapter called "The Fine Art of Baloney
Detection". In his book professor Sagan is very critical of the
American education system and its failures in science teaching. At
the end of the book he turns more to politics with an emotional
and unqualified support of the U.S. first amendment.)
Sagan, Carl (1998). Billions and Billions. Thoughts on Life and
Death at the Brink of the Millennium. 246. Headline. (The last
book from the late professor Sagan. It is a strong, but also a
somewhat repetitive collection of semi-political essays with an
emphasis on the environmental problems and the nuclear arms race
and disarmament. The political agenda is a realistically green
one. The book also contains a poignant personal account of
professor Sagan's terminal illness.)
Savolainen, Veli-Antti & Himanen, Pekka (1995). Kohtaamis-
yhteiskunta. Kirja mahdollisuudesta. 189. Oy Edita Ab, Helsinki.
(An interesting analysis of the computer communications
revolution. The next historical step of the modern society on this
way from first the agricultural revolution, then the industrial
revolution and now the communications revolution. Much emphasis on
considering the best survival stragegy for the Finnish economy in
the coming transition to the Global Electronic Village. In
particular, a remote univerisity like the University of Vaasa
simply cannot afford to ignore this development if it does not
wish to fade into an abject obscurity.)
Science News: The Weekly Newsmagazine of Science. Science Service
Inc., Washington D.C., Marion, Ohio.
Selin, Risto, Marketta Tiilikainen & Ilpo V. Salmi, eds (1997).
Paholaisen asianajajan paluu. Opaskirja skeptikoille. 206.
Skepsis, Tähtitieteellinen yhdistys Ursa, Helsinki. ISBN
Shanks, Niall (2006). God, the Devil and Darwin. A Critique of
Intelligent Design Theory. 273. Oxford University Press. (Exposes
and counters religion driven creationism, which step by step
strives to replace scientific enlightenment and democracy with
religious theocracy. A worrying trend which is manifesting itself
especially in the USA. But also of interest purely from its points
on the knowledge on evolution and cosmology.)
Singh, Simon (1999). Code Book. The Secret History of Codes &
Code-breaking. Fourth Estate, London. 402. (A fascinating mix of
history, storytelling, biographies, mathematics and finally
computers. A professional look with a scientific flavor into the
long race between codemakers and codebreakers in cryptography. It
is a prime example how a difficult subject can be explained in an
understandable and enjoyable manner.)
Stevenson, Robert E. and Talbot, Frank H., consultant eds (1993).
Oceans. 160. Time-Life Books, Amsterdam.
Story, Ronald (1974). The Space-Gods Revealed: A Close Look at the
Theories of Erich von Däniken. 157.
Taipale, Kalle and Parviainen, Jouko T. (1995). Jokamiehen Geologia.
Kirjayhtymä Oy, Helsinki. 160. (An everyman's geology by two
Finnish geologists. It shows how very difficult it is to write
popularized scientific information in an interesting manner. The
book is too much a dullish parade of a huge amount of geology
terminology. It totally fails to convey any excitement of
scientific research and principles. What little interest it has
comes for local (Finnish) the understanding of the central role of
the ice ages in forming Finland's landscape. There are some
details and anecdotes on Finnish nature that just save the book so
that a Finn can wade through it. Compare the book with Macdougal,
J.D. (1996) and there you'll see a well-written, thoroughly
interesting approach in the same area.)
Tammisalo, Osmo (2005). Rakkauden evoluutio; Ihmisen parinvalinnan
biologiaa. 499. Terra Cognita Oy, Helsinki. ("The evolution of
love; The psychology of human pair selection." A frank
presentation of the sexual selection in the human animal in the
light of modern knowledge of evolution's processes. A popularized,
but a very thorough, at places even a repetitive presentation. Yet
highly recommended for any serious layman on subject.)
Taylor, F.W. (2001). The Cambridge Photographic Guide to the
Planets. 305. Cambridge University Press. (Although there is a
photographic section after each of chapter, he title may give a
misleadingly modest of an impression of the main subject matter of
this book. Above all it is a thorough popularized presentation of
the meteorology, geology, formation history, and chemical
composition presentation of the nine planets of the solar system.
Contrary to many modern books on the solar system planets it
mostly skips the details of the space flight history. This is a
good choice to avoid too much diversion from the main emphasis
chosen. The writing style is a bit dry being maybe even too
factual and list-like. But for anyone with deeper interest in the
present state of knowledge about the facts of the planets, Taylor
presents a compelling work. In this sense the book is factual
readings at it best for a layman specialist.)
Taylor, Gordon Rattray (1970). The Doomsday Book. 320. Panther.
Tudge, Colin (1996). The time before history: 5 million years of
human impact. Scribner, New York, London, Toronto, Sydney,
Singapore. 366. (Definitely the book for anyone who wishes to
understand how and why we came about as a species. An excellent
account of the modern view into the nature of evolution and of the
evolutionary history leading to the ascent of man, Homo Sapiens.
Emphasizes the effect of the change in the environmental factors
as the driving force in what otherwise would become of
evolutionary status quo. By far the best no-nonsense account of
our ancestry that I have read. Mostly well written with the
exception of at places assuming too much advance knowledge from
the reader on the classifications of the species categories. The
writer occasionally gets too technical with his nouns forgetting
that he is writing for the general audience. Considers alternative
theories in an interesting matter with relationship to the nature
of the available evidence on the human development. Also has some
interesting and inventive speculations. Explains in a sensible
manner why the human species is unparalleled in its generalist
versatility and adaptability. Concludes with almost the compulsory
speculation into the future of man and the other species.)
Valste, Juha (2004). Apinasta ihmiseksi. Dark Oy, Vantaa 2004. 343
pages. ("From ape to man". On the evolution and archeology
research on the development of man as one of the hominid species.
An interesting subject and analysis. However, the book simply is
too long. There is an overabundance of boring verbal listings of
the excavation sites. The human interest and the stories are too
scarce. The conclusions are drawn towards the end of the book and
they are fine. The author should have concentrated on that and not
linger so much on the unessential and uninteresting excavation
recitals. I suspect that it has been too tempting to fill the
pages with them as easy way of bloating of book.)
Esko (2001). Kotona maailmankaikkeudessa. 333. Ursan
julkaisuja 80. 5. painos. Tähtitieteellinen yhdistys Ursa ry.
Gummerus Kirjapaino Oy, Jyväskylä 2002. (A Finnish award-winning
collection of essays, and for good reason. The main theme is
astrobiology, but covers the universe around us and the origins of
life also in a more general fashion. Tangents culture, sociology
and presents a good critique of the unhealthy phenomenon of
pseudo-sciences. Slightly, but not overly repetitive towards the
end. Written in a truly enjoyable style showing that good science
writing need not be dull.)
Valtaoja, Esko (2004). Avoin tie: kurkistuksia tulevaisuuteen. 275.
Ursan julkaisuja 93. Tähtitieteellinen yhdistys Ursa ry.
Kirjapaino Oy, Keuruu 2004. (An entertaining collection of peeks
into the future by a popular astronomy professor.)
Valtaoja, Esko (2007). Ihmeitä; Kävelyretkiä kaikkeuteen. 301. Ursan
julkaisuja 105. Otavan Kirjapaino Oy, Keuruu 2007. (A cross between
semi-confidential personal musings and natural and other sciences
anecdotes. Entertaining and with enough depth to rate also this book
as popularized science.)
- Valtaoja, Esko (2010).
Kosmoksen siruja. 335. Ursan julkaisuja 122. Otavan kirjapaino
2010. (Vintage Valtaoja. A collection of essays from over the
years, with postscripts. Interesting and entertaining. The style
with the personal anecdotes somewhat resembles that of the late
- Valtaoja, Esko (2012).
Kaiken käsikirja. Mitä jokaisen tulisi tietää. 222. Ursan
julkaisuja 129. Otavan kirjapaino 2013, Keuruu, 4p. (Valtaoja
ponders the nature of knowledge and his personal relationship with
it. Mostly entertaining, written in Valtaoja's easy-flowing,
Varteva, Risto (2001). Taas siellä on jono. 231. Terra Cognita.
Hakapaino, Helsinki. (A nice collection of brief science and
general interest essays.)
Venkula, Jaana (1989). Tieteen ilot. Edistyksen Päivät 88
-seminaarijulkaisu. 203. Edistyksellinen tiedeliitto ry,
Jyväskylä. (A collection of essays in philosophy on the
joys of doing scientific research. Most of the essays are a lucid
and give an interesting view into the approach of this discipline.
The best and longest essay is by Raimo Lehti into the mathematical
logic, philosophy and life of Bertrand Russel and Johannes Kepler.
A pleasant surprise is the cogent essay by Simo Knuuttila into the
joys of theological research. The biggest disappointment is the
essay by the hugely popular domestic celebrity Esa Saarinen. I
must confess to a limited understanding of the finer points of
philosophy, but I detected little but idle ramblings, haphazard
quoting and name dropping with no rigid logic nor analytic
Vergara, William (1973). Science in the World around us. 262. Pocket
Books, New York.
Vergara, William (1980). Science in Everyday Life. 306. Sphere
Virtanen, Leea (1994). Arjen uskomukset. 280. Werner
Söderström Osakeyhtiö, Porvoo, Helsinki, Jurva.
(Entertaining, but lacks analysis. This is an example of data
collection, not research proper!)
Wallenquist, Åke (1975). Våra grannar i rymden: En
upptäcktsresa i solarsystemet. 219. Prisma. Stockholm.
Washburn, Mark (1977). Mars at Last! 243. Abacus.
Watson, James D. (1968). The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the
Discovery of the Structure of DNA. 143. Signet Books, New York,
New York. (The inside story of the unravelling of the structure of
DNA which is the key to the genetic code. This finding is the
basis of modern molecular biology, one of the fastest developing
and often a morally controversial discipline. It also is a story
of two different approaches to science, one of brilliant intuition
and one of patient investigation which led to the Nobel prices in
1962 to Maurice Wilkins, Francis Crick and James Watson. If you
are serious about science, read it.)
White, Michael and Gribbin, John (1992). Stephen Hawking: A Life in
Science. 304. Penguin Books. (A fan's biography of the scientist
who has managed to become a modern equivalent of Albert Einstein
in the public's eye. How much is due to his most unfortunate
personal adversity, is impossible to tell.)
Viitala, Jussi (2005). Vapaasta tahdosta? Käyttäytymisen
evolutiivinen perusta. 200. Atena Kustannus Oy,
Jyväskylä. (An interesting and easy-to-read coverage of
the various evolutionary aspects of the behavior of man as an
Williamson, Tom (1977). The Science Museum Exploring: Our Changing
Climate. 27. Raithby, Lawrence & Company Limited, Leicester
Wright, Robert (1994). The Moral Animal. Why we are the way we are:
The new science of evolutionary psychology. 466. Vintage Books,
New York. (This extraordinary book answers the most crucial
question of human behavior, i.e. why do we behave the way we do.
The basic model itself is strikingly simple underneath. An
individual is guided by emotions towards he kind of behavior that
increases the propagation of a species' genes, because such
emotions and strives get selected in the evolution. The central
areas where this principle comes to the fore are human sexual
behavior, kin selection, reciprocal altruism (i.e. the rationale
for mutual favors), and the strive for social status. It is almost
scary to realize how much of what one can observe around oneself
even in one's everyday life in broad terms fits neatly into the
explanation pattern. - The book covers the subject very
thoroughly. One could even say that at times the text drags on.
Much additional text arises from the author's choice to intervene
the general principles with an extensive case study of the life of
one individual, Charles Darwin, i.e. the originator himself of
understanding evolution. Despite of the slow pace at which the
author proceeds, the book is well written and highly interesting
throughout. You will not look at the behavior of yourself or your
fellow men quite the same way after reading these theories of the
relatively young science of evolutionary psychology. A truly good
piece of serious, popularized science. - Towards the end in one of
the chapters the book loses some of its grip, though. Behavior is
not as predestined as lead to believe, and the discussion on ethics
deviates into subjective fumbling. But the final chapter on the
origins of religion returns to the scientifically detached
treatment of the subject.)
Wynn, Charles M. and Arthur W. Wiggins (2001). Quantum leaps in the
wrong direction: where real science ends and pseudoscience begins.
226. Joseph Henry Press, Washington D.C. (A lucid and a fairly
easy-to-understand presentation of how scientific knowledge gained
and evaluated. A book that can be recommended as introductory
science readings to graduate students of any discipline.
Furthermore, the book uses the understanding and principles of the
scientific process to explain how pseudosciences go wrong both in
their methodology and usage of empirical data. At a few places the
choice of the terms used to describe the scientific process could
be debated, but most importantly the description of the process
and its usage to expose pseudoscientific subterfuge is very
sound and instructive.)
Yenne, Bill (1991). Solar System. 78. Bison Books Ltd. (A rather
standard, modern presentation of the solar system facts with some
Youngson, Robert M. (1998). Scientific Blunders; A brief history of
how wrong scientists can sometimes be... 338. Robinson, London.
(The concept is highly promising. And the book is well written.
But it does not live quite accurately up to its promise of
describing blunders within science. Yes, it does also that, but
more than anything it is about the schism between science and
pseudoscience, between knowledge and ignorance, between verifiable
observations and orthodox authority. As it is, the book is very
educational and useful in understanding science, but it indeed its
emphasis is slightly different than what its excellent title
portrays. It is yet another, very good book in the series about
the problems with human frailty and outright, deliberate
intellectual dishonesty in trying to impose one's own, unfounded
preconceptions on others. The wide range of the areas covered
warrants a positive note, ranging from the much covered cosmology,
evolution, physics, biology, and science versus religion to the
less frequently covered mathematics, medicine, technology and
psychology, and philosophy blunders.)
Zimmerman, Barry E. and Zimmerman, David J. (1993). Why Nothing Can
Travel Faster than Light ... and Other Explorations in Nature's
Curiosity Shop. 309. Contemporary Books, Inc., Chicago, Illinois.
(The first of the two books of light science essays by the
Zimmerman twins. Contains 31 essays in various fields. Some of the
essays are really interesting and well written like the one of
Isaac Newton. But the quality of this first collection is uneven
being at worst naive and outright misleading. The two worst essays
are on UFOs and reincarnation. No self-respecting scientist would
write such rubbish. But on the average the book by the Zimmermans
makes entertaining and at the same time educational reading.
Definitely worth reading but for the two awful flops.)
Zimmerman, Barry E. and Zimmerman, David J. (1995). Natures
Curiosity Shop: Explorations in the mysteries and wonders of
science. 340. Contemporary Books, Inc., Chicago, Illinois. (A
lucidly written collection of 14 essays by twin brothers. Biology,
medicine, physics and astronomy are visited. The level is a
well-chosen compromise between scientific rigor and entertaining
writing with some interesting speculations and occasional
witticisms. As good popularized science writing as anyone's. The
only essay I did not like was the one on alternative medicine
because in it the writers partly deviated from their otherwise
serious analysis into the realm of mild but conspicuous personal
indulgence in modern superstition. A detail. The summary heaping
economics among pseudosciences shows grave unfamiliarity by the
author with the discipline in question.)