Tag Archives: PopularScience

Book Review: ‘Moving To Mars’ By Stef Wade, Illus. By Erin Taylor

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In this post, I would share my opinion about the second out of the three books meant for children that I have received for review. The book is titled Moving To Mars, written by Stef Wade and illustrated by Erin Taylor. The title is self-explanatory to a certain extent. This book is meant for children and is part picture book and part story book. Here space science or rather space exploration is presented as a potpourri of art, science, and humour. I haven’t yet come across any other book of this nature and never thought that science in general and space science in particular could be presented in such a charming manner. This book is unique on all accounts.

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Book Review: ‘How Science Saved The Eiffel Tower’ By Emma Bland Smith, Illus. By Lia Visirin

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In the last few posts, I had posted reviews of books which I had read for pleasure. Now I am back at my desk reviewing books in my specialisation — science and art. I start with the first out of the three books directed at young audience which I have received for review. All three books have the potential to enchant the young mind with their amalgamation of science and art, both in highest degree. I would give the details of the other two books in later posts, and restrict myself here only on the synopsis and criticism of the book How Science Saved The Eiffel Tower by Emma Bland Smith and illustrated by Lia Visirin.

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Book Review: ‘Beyond: Discoveries from the Outer Reaches of Space’ By Miranda Paul, Illus. By Sija Hong

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Everyone has a vision for the future — how to change the world and how to make it a better place to live. We are nobody to challenge anyone’s personal views, but some ideas look more sound and workable. For example, Nehru was of the opinion that the progress of India can be achieved primarily by science and technology. Post-independence, Prof Sarabhai envisioned harnessing space technology for India’s progress and growth. Indeed, if one looks forward to a bright future for oneself, society, nation or the world, then there doesn’t seem to be any other way than to invest in scientific temperament. Note that by scientific temperament I do not simply mean scientific and technological innovations and inventions, instead I use the term in a rather broad sense which implies looking at the world logically, critically and sensibly.

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Book Review: ‘Words Of Change — Climate’ By Christina Limpert

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Today I am sharing my views on the book Words of Change: Climate — Powerful Voices, Inspiring Ideas by Christina Limpert which I have received for review. This book is a collection of quotes by climate activists from different walks of life and is purportedly meant to encourage and motivate people to think seriously about climate crisis and to join the movement demanding necessary action. Before I give my opinion about this book, I would like to say few words which should help you in appreciating the motivation and scope of this book. When we talk about climate change, a question arises in nearly everybody’s mind — If climate crisis is such a big problem, why aren’t governments doing anything in that direction? Why such widespread and general apathy towards the biggest problem of our times? Yes, I do mean it — one single climate calamity can erase years of development and progress, pushing us several decades into the past. 

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Book Review: ‘Is It Serious?’ By Burton Paul

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Today I will tell you about the book Is it Serious? How to Search for Health Information on the Internet by Burton Paul. I did not find any negative points in the book, so this ‘review’ may appear to be a summary of what this book is about. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘The Fickle Finger: An Inventor’s Lot’ By Martin Fone

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One of the most depressing and frustrating things to witness in today’s world is society’s apathy towards science and scientists. It is true, even after centuries of technological progress, people don’t seem to appreciate what science and technology mean to them, and what life would be without them. Everyday things, objects, devices, gadgets, which they take for granted, they don’t seem to care how that came into being if not by technological innovation. Note that science and technology need not mean only explorations like nuclear energy or Apollo or Chandrayaan, but also something as simple and small as a safety pin, or a TV set, computer operating system, or Hansom cab. Or it need not be reflected in the form of a palpable device, instead a scientific explanation of some phenomena like nuclear fission, properties of gases or child mortality. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘101 Facts You Didn’t Know About Space’ By Mark Thompson

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Physics is generally called as the queen of all sciences, perhaps because of its elegance, beauty, charm and glamour. And among the various branches of Physics, from mechanics to thermodynamics, and from electromagnetism to acoustics, none attracts so much attention as astrophysics. It is true that astronomy and astrophysics are among the most glamorous branches of physics; most of the young students who choose physics do so mostly due to their infatuation with astronomy and astrophysics. Also, as we progress in our research career, sooner or later we do try to link our research work with the terrestrial and celestial worlds. That being said, astrophysics is also the subject to invoke if you want to attract young students to take up science education, in particular physics. After all, the lessons do start with star gazing and solar/lunar eclipses! But at the same time, it is also interesting to note how less do we know about space. No, here I am not commenting on how little do we know about space even after so many centuries of research. Instead, I am taking note of the various facts which are known, and is supposed to be in public knowledge, yet the general audience is either ignorant of it or oblivious to such information. Mark Thompson has compiled about a hundred such pieces in his book 101 Facts You Didn’t Know About Space. His aim is to bring the fascination of space science to general masses, and to educate them in an entertaining fun way. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘Bright Dreams: The Brilliant Ideas of Nikola Tesla’ By Tracy Dockray

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You have heard about scientists who were artists. In some of earlier posts, I have talked about collaborative efforts between artists and scientists. For example, the book Periodic Table presented scientific knowledge accompanied by beautiful graphic illustrations. Likewise, I talked about scenes from the movie 15 Park Avenue, which depicted struggles in the life of a physics professor. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success’ By Mark Jaccard

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Today I will share my views about The Citizen’s Guide to Climate Success: Overcoming Myths that Hinder Progress by Mark Jaccard. This is a very interesting book. The moment you open this book, you will be drawn into reading it in full. Honestly speaking, I found it really hard to put this book down after having started it. The tone is neither overly passionate nor dull. The writer maintains a balanced tempo throughout the book, and except for few scattered passionate outbursts, he does not leave it. He talks to you slowly, allowing you sufficient time to absorb the knowledge that he is trying to impart. He ensures not to feed you too much information with each morsel, while at the same time makes sure that every page contains something new to learn. This book was an eye opener for me, and even though I took about three months reading it, I would not mind reading it again. It is because the book contains so much stuff which would stay relevant for years to come. This book does not aim at entertainment as it is addressing a very serious issue. At the same time, nowhere does it create any impression of a boring treatise. At one place the writer acknowledges that scientists are poor communicators and this has been one of the reasons behind the knowledge gap between (climate) science and general public. This book will certainly fill that gap, and considering the scarcity of texts aimed at general audience, it will remain a valuable source to refer to. Continue reading

Book Review: ‘The Periodic Table’ by Tom Jackson

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This year we are celebrating 150 years of the Periodic Table of Elements. It is a landmark considering the pivotal and stellar position that this wonderful piece of scientific art or artistic science — whichever way you prefer to look at it — occupies in the progress, growth and development of science, especially modern science. The Periodic Table is the one entity which binds the two different branches of science — Physics and Chemistry together. It is also the first encounter of any school student with the fascinating world of science. If in doubt, consider how the study of Chemistry would look like had there been no such periodic classification of elements. That this classification exists, implies that you do not have to study and rote learn the properties of each individual element, instead just understanding the properties of a ‘group’ would suffice. It made the life of chemists and modern physicists so much easier! And not just that, the Periodic Table had provision (’empty slots’) for yet undiscovered elements. This way, it revealed the pattern in the nature around us and at the same time opened doors to the ingredients of the nature which were not yet known. Several names like Lothar Mayer, Dimitri Mendeleev and Moseley are associated with the history of the Periodic Table. While reading this history, every student participates in the logical reasoning and scientific thinking which went into the development of this process of classification. In a way it was all about observing and noting the pattern in the properties of elements found in nature. That everything fell into such an elegant piece of art must have been really exhilarating for the scientists of that time. Continue reading