The Art of Science, By Richard Hamblyn
Boyd Tonkin is Senior Writer and a columnist at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Literary Editor at The Independent, and before that Social Policy Editor and then Books Editor at the New Statesman magazine. He has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes and has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize. In 2001, he re-founded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for literature in translation, and serves on its judging panel every year.
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.
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
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