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The Search for E. T. Bell. By Constance Reid (MAA, 384pp, 1993) HS-Adult. “An account of one of the century's most colorful mathematicians. Bell's Men of Mathematics (1937) presented mathematics and mathematicians in a way that had never been done before, fascinating many of his colleagues, irritating others, and inspiring young people to become mathematicians. Bell was also widely known as the science fiction writer John Taine. As a result of biographer Reid's discoveries about his early life, almost every statement now in print about Bell's family background and early life will have to be revised, and a new look taken at his extensive mathematical work and his science fiction.”


Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! By Richard Feynman. (Norton, 350 pp, reprints) GFBR **** General audience. “A series of anecdotes shouldn't by rights add up to an autobiography, but that's just one of the many pieces of received wisdom that Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman (1918-88) cheerfully ignores in his engagingly eccentric book, a bestseller ever since its initial publication in 1985. Fiercely independent (read the chapter entitled ‘Judging Books by Their Covers’), intolerant of stupidity even when it comes packaged as high intellectualism (check out ‘Is Electricity Fire?’), unafraid to offend (see ‘You Just Ask Them?’), Feynman informs by entertaining. It's possible to enjoy Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman simply as a bunch of hilarious yarns with the smart-alecky author as know-it-all hero. At some point, however, attentive readers realize that underneath all the merriment simmers a running commentary on what constitutes authentic knowledge: learning by understanding, not by rote; refusal to give up on seemingly insoluble problems; and total disrespect for fancy ideas that have no grounding in the real world. Feynman himself had all these qualities in spades, and they come through with vigor and verve in his no-bull prose. No wonder his students--and readers around the world--adored him.”


What Do You Care What Other People Think? Further Adventures of a Curious Character. By Richard Feynman  (Norton, 256 pp, 2001) GFBR **** General audience. A Nobel-Prize Winning physicist tells stories about his own life and experiences. Both books are permeated by his inquisitive nature, and describe ways of applying math and science to everyday life situations in a common-sense manner. This second book details his involvement in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster; Feynman is the one who figured out that it was an O-ring failure.



Beautiful Swimmers. By William W. Warner.(Little Brown, 304 pp, many editions) GFBR*****. General Audiences. An amazing natural history of the blue crab in general and of the Chesapeake Bay in particular. ‘Beautiful Swimmers’ is a translation into English of the Greek/Latin name of the blue crab: Callinectes Sapidus.


The Beauty of the Beastly; New Views of the Nature of Life. By Natalie Angier. (Houghton Mifflin, 278 pp, 1995) GFBR***. HS-Adult. “The beauty of the natural world lies in the details, and most of those details are not the stuff of calendar art. … I have made it a kind of hobby, almost a mission, to write about organisms that many people find repugnant: spiders, scorpions, parasites, worms, rattlesnakes, dung beetles, hyenas. I have done so out of a perverse preference for subjects that other writers generally have ignored, and because I hope to inspire in readers and appreciation for diversity, for imagination, for the twisted, webbed, infinite possibility of the natural world.”


The Biology of Doom: The History of America's Secret Germ Warfare Project . By Ed Regis (Owl, 259 pp, 2000)  General audiences. “Regis ... interested himself in what the

Science and Math Books You Can Read – page 8 out of 30

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