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The Best American Science Writing 2012 by…

The Best American Science Writing 2012

by Michio Kaku (Editor), Jesse Cohen (Series Editor)

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While certainly a collection of interesting science ideas presented to the public in 2012, this collection is certainly not an example of the best science writing produced during that time. The articles almost exclusively come from such large publications as The New York Times and Science, which suggests that the editor did not go out of their way to find the best examples of writing and rather settled for high-profile pieces. After reading Michio Kaku's introduction, which is a general feel-good piece about how /amazing/ science is, I was skeptical about the choice of him as editor for this volume. It would seem the articles were chosen because they were close to fields he was familiar with (physics, about 1/3 of the book) and topics he found interesting (medicine, another 1/3 of the book), with little regard as to the merit of the work itself. Some of the pieces also display a clear bias, such as an scare-article about nuclear power written in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, and others have little to do with science at all, such as a lengthy piece attacking the ideas and career of Sam Harris.
Overall, if you're looking for an uninvolved read about some new ideas in the world of science back in 2012, this book will pass the time. If you're looking for examples of excellent writing, I would recommend either another volume in this series or The Best American Science and Nature Writing, which in my experience presents much better examples of interesting and modern work by a variety of authors. ( )
  samlives2 | Feb 15, 2017 |
There are some interesting scientific topics covered in this collection, particularly in the biology section. But none of these articles impressed me as stand-out examples of good science writing. In fact, several of them I wouldn't even call science writing at all; they're opinion pieces. And while I might be willing to give a pass on that score to P. J. O'Rourke's lament for the current state of the US space program, I can't help but wonder what the hell Jackson Lears' long, vicious critique of "New Atheist" writer Sam Harris is doing here. No doubt there is a place for such things, but I really don't think this is it.

That aside, it's not a bad collection, but compared to The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2011, which I read a while back, it was a bit disappointing. ( )
  bragan | May 19, 2014 |
A strange collection of articles this year, some quite impenetrable, a characteristic which I have not come to expect from this series. In particular, every single article on astrophysics and quantum theory was too general for experts, too full of jargon for us laypeople, and too diffuse for just about anyone. Also surprising was the inclusion of Jeff Goodell's sensationalist screed from Rolling Stone on the Fukushima disaster. I'm on his side, but this temper tantrum of an article is not helping. The biology & psychology articles in the collection are really exciting, though, and make the book quite worth it! ( )
  flexatone | Jan 19, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kaku, MichioEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cohen, JesseSeries Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062117912, Paperback)

Edited by Michio Kaku, cofounder of string field theory, theoretical physicist, and New York Times bestselling author, The Best American Science Writing 2012 is the latest edition of the popular annual series dedicated to collecting the most crucial, thought-provoking, and engaging science writing of the year. Culled from a wide variety of publications, these selections of outstanding journalism cover the full spectrum of scientific inquiry, providing a comprehensive overview of the most compelling, relevant, and exciting developments in the world of science. From climate change to public health, the origins of the universe to the wiring of the human brain, parallel universes to artificial intelligence, the world of science is vast and diverse, offering endless challenges and possibilities that provide new understanding of ourselves, our world, and our universe. Provocative and engaging, The Best American Science Writing 2012 reveals just how far science has brought us and where it is headed next.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:13 -0400)

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