California Literary Review

Science

Empire of the Stars by Arthur I. Miller

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June 10th, 2007

So why did Eddington savage his young colleague nine years later? Jealousy? Racism? A threat to his own work? The answer seems to have been a little of all these and more, but not one clearly more than the rest.

The Electric Life of Michael Faraday by Alan Hirshfeld

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June 10th, 2007

He was a discoverer and an inventor, a physicist and a chemist, intensely focused on his own research and equally involved in disseminating rational awareness among the laity, a champion of scientific outlook and devoutly attached to organized religion.

Gen·e·sis: The Scientific Quest for Life’s Origin by Robert M. Hazen

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May 27th, 2007

In all the recent noise over the higher steps of evolution and the proper way to teach them in American schools, it’s easy to forget that science hasn’t established the first big step: how the basic building blocks of life—the nucleotides that make up Watson and Crick’s celebrated reverse spiral staircase—organized into life proper.

Many Worlds in One: The Search for Other Universes – by Alex Vilenkin

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April 22nd, 2007

As childhood gave way to adulthood, I came to the realization that my greatest attraction to astronomy was cosmology. However, our sense and intuition for the sublime does not have to end with our trek through the years.

The Lobotomist: A Maverick Medical Genius and His Tragic Quest to Rid the World of Mental Illness – by Jack El-Hai

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April 22nd, 2007

Walter Jackson Freeman was a man gifted with energy, optimism and an ice pick.

Bedrock: Writers on the Wonders of Geology by Lauret E. Savoy, Eldridge M. Moores, Judith E. Moores

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April 11th, 2007

How do we understand the natural forces that literally shape our world? How, over time have we attempted to explain sometimes spectacular, sometimes mysterious events?

The Athena Factor by W. Michael Gear

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April 10th, 2007

In The Athena Factor W. Michael Gear explores the compelling and in many ways horrifying world of biotech engineering, principally in the form of DNA research and manipulation. While this book is fictional, what the author describes is not.

An Interview with Michael Ruse

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April 3rd, 2007

“I do not think it appropriate to teach non-science in a biology class – especially non-science that is really a form of literalist Christianity in disguise. Even if it were appropriate, I would not want the kind of conservative evangelical religion taught, that I think ID represents. But it is not appropriate and in the US is illegal.”

Tim Flannery Discusses Global Warming

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March 30th, 2007

“Getting nations to cooperate is important, but I think a quicker solution will come from what I call a carbon tax break. This involves taxing pollution at its source, whether it is generated by an oil company or a coal burning energy plant. The money raised by this carbon tax would be distributed to citizens who would then use it to purchase energy. Since gas or coal-produced energy which emit high levels of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere would be highly taxed and thus more expensive, people would naturally buy the cheaper, and lower carbon emitting, forms of energy.”

An Interview With Biographer James Connor

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March 30th, 2007

“This means that we are a people who now live in that shadow world of quasi-existence. What matters to us is not necessarily what is real, but what is possible given the state of things. This is a big change, and constitutes a fundamental shift in the way we understand the world.”

The Strange World of Quantum Entanglement

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March 30th, 2007

“Entanglement is a strange feature of quantum physics, the science of the very small. It’s possible to link together two quantum particles – photons of light or atoms, for example – in a special way that makes them effectively two parts of the same entity. You can then separate them as far as you like, and a change in one is instantly reflected in the other. This odd, faster than light link, is a fundamental aspect of quantum science…”

Goethe and Tagore – Unexpected Interests

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March 26th, 2007

Goethe and Tagore, separated by time and contexts, but joined in their great felicity over the literary idiom, show similar quests in the understanding of the sciences. It is alluring to jump to the conclusion of a phony and fashionable unity; that science and arts are the same after all; and literature, music, mathematics, and the physical sciences are all manifestations of the common muse.

America’s Race to the Moon

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March 26th, 2007

During the Apollo 15 mission, an anonymous viewer phoned his local TV station to suggest that a large rock discovered by the astronauts should be named in honor of “a taxpayer selected at random from the computers of the Internal Revenue Service.”

Nuclear Power Is Not the Answer

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March 26th, 2007

Meanwhile, every billion dollars spent on the supremely misguided attempt to revivify the nuclear industry is a theft from the production of cheap renewable electricity. Think what these billions could do if invested in the development of wind power, solar power, cogeneration, geothermal energy, biomass, and tidal and wave power, let alone basic energy conservation, which itself could save the United States 20% of the electricity it currently consumes.

Jays, Films, and Georg Steller

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March 25th, 2007

O’Brian based Aubrey on a Royal Navy captain of two centuries ago, Thomas Cochrane. Lord Cochrane’s exploits were at least as great as those of the fictitious Aubrey, and hardly less than those of Britain’s greatest naval hero, Lord Nelson. But while O’Brian admitted that Cochrane was the inspiration for Aubrey, he did not tell us before he died in 2000 whether he had a real-life model for Maturin. The answer, I think, lies in the handsome bird that I see now beyond our sun room window.

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