The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing is a rich and vibrant anthology that captures the poetry and excitement of scientific thought and discovery.
Boasting almost one hundred articles and book excerpts, The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing is a breathtaking celebration of the finest writing by scientists—the best such collection in print—packed with scintillating essays on everything from "The Discovery of Lucy" to "The Terror and Vastness of the Universe."
Edited by best-selling author and renowned scientist Richard Dawkins, this sterling collection brings together exhilarating pieces by a who's who of scientists and science writers, including Stephen Pinker, Stephen Jay Gould, Martin Gardner, Albert Einstein, Julian Huxley, and many dozens more. Readers will find excerpts from bestsellers such as Douglas R. Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach, Francis Crick's Life Itself, Loren Eiseley's The Immense Journey, Daniel Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea, and Rachel Carson's The Sea Around Us. There are classic essays ranging from J.B.S. Haldane's "On Being the Right Size" and Garrett Hardin's "The Tragedy of the Commons" to Alan Turing's "Computing Machinery and Intelligence" and Albert Einstein's famed New York Times article on "Relativity." Readers will also discover lesser-known but engaging pieces such as Lewis Thomas's "Seven Wonders of Science," J. Robert Oppenheimer on "War and Physicists," and Freeman Dyson's memoir of studying under Hans Bethe.
Part I: What Scientists Study
• 3 James Jeans from THE MYSTERIOUS UNIVERSE
• 4 Martin Rees from JUST SIX NUMBERS
• 11 Peter Atkins from CREATION REVISITED
• 16 Helena Cronin from THE ANT AND THE PEACOCK
• 18 R.A. Fisher from THE GENETICAL THEORY OF NATURAL SELECTION
• 22 Theodosius Dobzhansky from MANKIND EVOLVING
• 27 G.C. Williams from ADAPTATION AND NATURAL SELECTION
• 30 Francis Crick from LIFE ITSELF
• 35 Matt Ridley from GENOME
• 40 Sydney Brenner 'THEORETICAL BIOLOGY IN THE THIRD MILLENNIUM'
• 48 Steve Jones from THE LANGUAGE OF THE GENES
• 53 J.B.S. Haldane from 'ON BEING THE RIGHT SIZE'
• 59 Mark Ridley from THE EXPLANATION OF ORGANIC DIVERSITY
• 61 John Maynard Smith 'THE IMPORTANCE OF THE NERVOUS OF THE
NERVOUS SYSTEM IN THE EVOLUTION OF ANIMAL FLIGHT'
• 66 Fred Hoyle from MAN IN THE UNIVERSE
• 69 D'Arcy Thompson from ON GROWTH AND FORM
• 78 G.G. Simpson from THE MEANING OF EVOLUTION
• 82 Richard Fortey from TRILOBITE!
• 86 Colin Blakemore from THE MIND MACHINE
• 89 Richard Gregory from MIRRORS IN MIND
• 96 Nicholas Humphrey 'ONE SELF: A MEDITATION ON THE UNITY OF
• 103 Steven Pinker from THE LANGUAGE INSTINCT and HOW THE MIND
• 110 Jared Diamond from THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD
• 114 David Lack from THE LIFE OF THE ROBIN
• 115 Niko Tinbergen from CURIOUS NATURALISTS
• 123 Robert Trivers from SOCIAL EVOLUTION
• 127 Alister Hardy from THE OPEN SEA
• 130 Rachel Carlson from THE SEA AROUND US
• 138 Loren Eisley from 'HOW FLOWERS CHANGED THE WORLD'
• 143 Edward O. Wilson from THE DIVERSITY OF LIFE
Part II: Who Scientists Are
• 151 Arthur Eddington from THE EXPANDING UNIVERSE
• 152 C.P. Snow from the foreword to G.H. Hardy's A MATHEMATICIANS
• 157 Freeman Dyson from DISTURBING THE UNIVERSE
• 161 J. Robert Oppenheimer from 'WAR AND TH£ NATIONS'
• 168 Max F. Perutz 'A PASSION FOR CRYSTALS'
• 172 Barbara and George Gamow 'SAID RYLE TO HOYLE'
• 174 J.B.S. Haldane 'CANCER'S A FUNNY THING'
• 176 Jacob Bronowski from THE IDENTITY OF MAN
• 179 Peter Medawar from 'SCIENCE AND LITERATURE,' 'DARWIN'S
ILLNESS,' 'THE PHENOMENON OF MAN,' the postscript to
and 'D'ARCY THOMPSON AND GROWTH AND FORM'
• 188 Jonathan Kingdon from SELF-MADE MAN
• 190 Richard Leakey and Roger Lewin from ORIGINS • RECONSIDERED
• 195 Donald C. Johanson and Maitland A. Edey from LUCY
• 200 Stephen Jay Gould 'WORM FOR A CENTURY, AND ALL SEASONS'
• 211 John Tyler Bonner from LIFE CYCLES
• 214 Oliver Sacks from UNCLE TUNGSTEN
• 219 Lewis Thomas 'SEVEN WONDERS'
• 226 James Watson from AVOID BORING PEOPLE
• 229 Francis Crick from WHAT MAD PURSUIT
• 232 Lewis Wolpert from THE UNNATURAL NATURE OF SClENC£.
• 234 Julian Huxley from ESSAYS OF A BIOLOGIST
• 254 Daniel Dennett from DARWIN'S DANGEROUS IDEA and
• 259 Ernst Mayr from THE GROWTH OF BIOLOGICAL THOUGHT
• 263 Garrett Hardin from 'THE TRAGEDY OF THE COMMONS'
• 266 W.D. Hamilton from GEOMETRY FOR THE SELFISH HERD and NARROW ROADS OF GENELAND
• 273 Per Bak from HOW NATURE WORKS
• 276 Martin Gardner THE FANTASTIC COMBINATIONS OF JOHN CONWAY'S
NEW SOLITAIRE GAME 'LIFE'
• 284 Lancelot Hogben from MATHEMATICS FOR THE MILLION
• 289 Ian Stewart from THE MIRACULOUS JAR
• 297 Claude E. Shannon and Warren Weaver Weaver from THE
MATHEMATICAL THEORY OF COMMUNICATION
• 305 Alan Turing from COMPUTING MACHINERY AND INTELLIGENCE
• 314 Albert Einstein from 'WHAT IS THE THEORY OF RELATIVITY'
• 317 George Gamow from MR TOMPKINS
• 323 Paul Davies from THE GOLDILOCKS ENIGMA
• 332 Russell Stannard from THE TIME AND SPACE OF UNCLE ALBERT
• 336 Brian Greene from THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE
• 342 Stephen Hawking from A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME
PART IV: What Scientists Delight In
• 349 S. Chandrasekhar from TRUTH AND BEAUTY
• 352 G.H. Hardy from A MATHEMATICIAN'S APOLOGY
• 357 steven Weinberg from DREAMS OF A FINAL THEORY
• 362 Lee Smolin from THE LIFE OF THE COSMOS
• 367 Roger Penrose from THE EMPEROR'S NEW MIND
• 371 Douglas Hofstadter from GöDEL, ESCHER, BACH: THE ETERNAL
• 378 John Archibald Wheeler with Kenneth Ford from GEONS, BLACK
HOLES, AND QUANTUM FOAM
• 381 David Deutsch from THE FABRIC OF REALITY
• 383 Primo Levi from THE PERIODIC TABLE
• 390 Richard Fortey from LIFE: AN UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY
• 392 George Gaylord Simpson from THE MEANING OF EVOLUTION
• 394 Carl Sagan from PALE BLUE DOT
"It is a volume intended to celebrate rather than analyze modern science writing, and it fulfills this aim well: it is a book from which the love of science and the love of language shine."
— Science Magazine
"If you could only ever read one science book, this should probably be it."
— New Scientist
"Dawkins' frequently claims that there is a much richer contemplative nature to a scientific view of the universe than in a view dominated by a notion of a 'supreme being. This anthology delivers the punch to this claim and does so with an amazing spectrum of ideas ... It is prose for any lover of science, by some of the most eloquent and ardent scientists of our times (sans any topical contributions by Dawkins himself, by his own omission, though he nicely introduces each of the authors in the anthology and explains some of the reasons why they were chosen).
— (An Amazon reviewer)
"This excellent compendium nicely gives the lie to all sorts of literary, religious, and pseudoscientific philistines who fancy themselves to be on some sort of higher spiritual plane than offered by a naturalistic worldview."
— (An Amazon reviewer)
"The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing edited by Richard Dawkins, come up trumps ... It is to be hoped that many will not only read this excellent volume but will then go on to read in their entirety some of the individual works themselves. That is the ultimate success of any anthology."
— Mary Strickland. Chemistry World
"This isn't Dawkins as the centre of attention but as a benign and generous guide to the best science writing, with commentaries from the master."
— Peter Forbes, The Independent
"The book makes for a fascinating browse, but it could also inspire as a bed-time volume, filling the readers' dreams with exploding stars and tiny atoms."
— Peter Ranscombe, The Scotsman
"This is a superb collection ... it's a damn good read even if you're only marginally interested in science ... it's a must-read that will surely make a major contribution to the public understanding of science."
— BBC Focus (science and technology)
"For the science-savvy. it's like a gigantic prize-giving-cum-back-slap. For the science-phobic, it's a banner-waving call to come on in and give it a try."
— Jonathan Gibbs, Metro London
"A sparkling anthology."
— David Sinclair, Tribune
"Beautiful volume...A labour of love."
— Steven Poole, The Guardian
"A glorious celebration of literary scientists."
— Harry Richie Mail on Sunday
"It is a real treasure trove of unexpected pleasures."
— Sunday Telegraph