Book Book Review, Title What Is Life?, Author Erwin Schrödinger, Rating 4.5,
What Is Life?
I recently re-read portions Erwin SchrÃ¶dinger's amazing little book What is Life, which was a post-war stimulus for a number of physicists to switch from physics to biology and look hard for a physical understanding of living organisms.
Flora of the Pacific Northwest, by Hitchcock and Cronquist, is an excellent dichotomous key of indigenous Pacific Northwest flora. It served as one of my texts for a class in Systematic Botany at Oregon State University, which I feared would be deathly dull (and so proved the lectures), but the laboratory turned out to be a memorable exploratory journey.
Book Book Review, Title The Origins of Modern Science, Author Herbert Butterfield, Rating 4.0,
The Origins of Modern Science
Herbert Butterfield tells the story of the development of modern science from the late Middle Ages until the advent of the French Revolution, emphasizing the development of the modern understanding of motion. This is a brilliant choice, as it was the construction of a robust physical and mathematical model of motion that allowed Newton to unite terrestrial and astronomical physics into a universal set of physical laws describing mechanics, and critically informed the modern pursuit of science.
Doctor Moriarty, that is physicist Phil Moriarty, holds forth on the various ways of misapplying quantum mechanics, to philosophy, religion, and just about anything but the world of the atom for which it was constructed.Â He is charmingly cranky about such "Woo".
I was asked once by someone close to me why I read the kinds of things I read, or why I would read some things more than once, when much of it didn't seem immediately useful.Â Upon some thought, I replied that I was simply curious, and that not everything of interest is necessarily or immediately of practical value.