The Art of Science, By Richard Hamblyn
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
Saturday 10 November 2012
Treat this "natural history of ideas" as a lucky-dip, a vitamin shot or a course of study.
Hamblyn's scintillating mosaic is taken from millennia of scientific writings - Babylonian maths to the Large Hadron Collider.
It does more than prove that great scientists - and their expositors - can write with clarity and verve. This tapestry of extracts serves as a mind-sharpening invitation to dig deeper, from astrophysics to zoology.
Even byways charm: such as cryptographer Sarah Flannery's account of how a book ISBN number works.
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