The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2003)

Posted by barb on Mar 24, 2004 in Books |

Edited by Richard Dawkins

This is a collection of articles published during 2002 on they topics of physics, astronomy, computer science, geology, environmental science, etc. Andrew had told me that previous editions were quite biology-heavy, but this one had several astronomy articles, so I started tithe this one.

The astronomy articles spanned quite a range of topics:

  • “At Home in the Heavens” by Tim Appenzeller covered the state of the search for extra-solar planets
  • “Astronomy’s New Stars” by Timothy Ferris discussed some of the contributions to astronomy by amateur astronomers
  • “A New View of Our Universe” by Dennis Overbye talked about the state of cosmology and the concept of the multiverse
  • “The Very Best Telescope” by William Speed Weed discussed a new optical interferometer

For the most part I enjoyed the articles in the book, even the non-astronomy ones :-). “What If It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie” by Gary Taubes sheds light on why the Atkins diet has been scorned by science funding agencies (pressure to promote the low-fat diet) and why it merits further study. “Memory Faults and Fixes” by Elizabeth F. Luftus discusses research into memory, reporting on research that shows how easy it is to alter humans’ memories.

There were a few articles I didn’t particularly enjoy, like “Terminal Ice” by Ian Frazier, which seemed to stretch out into forever. However, that’s to be expected in a large collection like this, and certainly I enjoyed more of the articles than not.

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