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Volume 96 | Number 4 | July-August 2008


Life of Pief

Silvan S. Schweber

A review of Panofsky on Physics, Politics and Peace: Pief Remembers, by Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky. Wolfgang Panofsky was one of the few scientists of his generation to create an environment that nurtured scientists who could influence not only fellow scientists but also the public at large. Reviewer Silvan S. Schweber asks who is nurturing this essential tradition now

How To Be Objective

Jan Golinski

A review of Objectivity, by Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison. This is an ambitious, deeply thoughtful, thoroughly researched and beautifully illustrated book, says Golinski, written to help us understand the nature of objectivity and how it has worked in scientific practice

Programs and Probabilities

Brian Hayes

A review of Digital Dice: Computational Solutions to Practical Probability Problems, by Paul J. Nahin. Nahin suggests writing computer programs based on the Monte Carlo method to solve probability puzzles; Hayes finds that taking this useful approach can provide insights if you poke at the problem hard enough

Handmaiden to the Science?

Michael Ruse

A review of Re-engineering Philosophy for Limited Beings: Piecewise Approximations to Reality, by William C. Wimsatt, Integrating Evolution and Development: From Theory to Practice, edited by Roger Sansom and Robert N. Brandon, and Evidence and Evolution: The Logic Behind the Science, by Elliott Sober. Excellent work is being done in the field of philosophy of science, as these three very different titles show, says Ruse

Saturn's Earthlike Moon

Fred Taylor

A review of Titan Unveiled: Saturn's Mysterious Moon Explored, by Ralph Lorenz and Jacqueline Mitton. Lorenz and Mitton's account of the spacecraft Cassini's voyage to Saturn and of the Huygens probe's descent to the surface of Titan is personalized by inclusions of excerpts from the diary Lorenz kept as he helped build Huygens and interpreted data from it

Achieving Immortality

David Walker

A review of The Biology of Human Longevity: Inflammation, Nutrition and Aging in the Evolution of Lifespans, by Caleb. E Finch. Finch offers a comprehensive overview of the effects of free radicals in aging and age-related diseases; he also integrates the free-radical theory with what is known about other forms of damage, particularly inflammation

Know-How

Michael Lynch

A review of Rethinking Expertise, by Harry Collins and Robert Evans. Collins and Evans's typology of expertises includes what they refer to as a "parasitical" form, characterized by an ability to "talk the talk" without being able to "walk the walk"

Sea Change

Elizabeth Tyler

A review of The Unnatural History of the Sea, by Callum Roberts. Roberts offers a moving glimpse of the amazing abundance of marine life in earlier times and of the reasons for its decline, says Tyler, but in her view, the book’s policy recommendations leave a lot to be desired

Blighted Hopes

David Vandermast

A review of American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree, by Susan Freinkel. The American chestnut has been mourned by many since being decimated by blight in the first half of the 20th century. Despite ongoing restoration efforts, Vandermast thinks it unlikely that the species will ever recover

DIY Science

David Schneider, Kristen Greenaway, Dane Summers

Short takes on three how-to books: Eccentric CubicleStomp Rockets, Catapults, and KaleidoscopesAmazing Rubber Band Cars. Sometimes the best way to understand science is to make something by hand. These three books offer a variety of projects for adults and young people to try

 

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