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A Random Walk in Science by Robert L. Weber

A Random Walk in Science (1973)

by Robert L. Weber (Editor), E. Mendoza (Editor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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It's difficult to find a word to capture the spirit of this book, but calling it a "miscellany" gets close. It's a varied, wide-ranging collection of essays, anecdotes, joke papers, one-liners and thoughtful reflections on and by scientists - primarily physicists, but other disciplines, and engineers, get a look-in.

I'm eternally grateful to the physics teacher that brought this book to the attention of the class of 16/17 year-olds I was in at the time. It's a ideal book to leaf through at that age to make one realise that scientists are human and that science can be fun and thought-provoking and moving all at once.

There are about as many items as there are pages in the book - ranging from one-liners to essays of a few thousand words. There's the now-famous "Stress analysis of a strapless evening gown", Wood's account of the self-deception of scientists that caused them to believe in N-rays, "Standards for inconsequential trivia", and "Slidesmanship". There's limericks and songs and drawings, mock exam papers, and a proof of the theorem that Alexander the Great did not exist and rode a horse with an infinite number of legs. Something for everyone, in other words. To be appreciated by those that do science and those that don't.

An all-round excellent book. ( )
  kevinashley | Nov 21, 2008 |
The scientific mind at play. ( )
  FlyingSinger | Jan 26, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Weber, Robert L.Editorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mendoza, E.Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Cooper, WilliamForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I should like to speak to you for a moment about the problem of two cultures so eloquently formulated by C P Snow and more specifically about jam and marmalade.
A Conference Glossary: In Presenting Papers When They Say: Elegant, They Mean:A reference to work of an author whose work is to be attacked. When They Say: A surprising finding, They Mean: We barely had time to revise the abstract. Of course we fired the technician. When They Say: Preliminary experiments have shown that ..., They Mean: We di ti once but couldn't repeat it. When They Say: The method, in our hands ..., They Mean: Somebody didn't publish all the directions.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 085498027X, Hardcover)

This anthology provides an insight into the wit and intellect of the scientific mind through a blend of amusing and serious contributions written by and about scientists. The contributions record changing attitudes within science and mirror the interactions of science with society.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:36 -0400)

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