Category: Science

Nov 15 2017

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson

In just over 200 pages, Neil deGrasse Tyson takes his readers, who are presumably in a bit of a rush, on a grand tour of the cosmos, with a refreshing emphasis on what scientists don’t know. He’s bumptious, conversational, unafraid of including personal opinions about people in the field and commendably clear even when describing …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2017/11/15/astrophysics-for-people-in-a-hurry-by-neil-degrasse-tyson/

May 11 2016

Einstein — His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson

“Did he have an interesting life?” asked a friend when I mentioned that I had started reading Einstein — His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson. Yes, he did, very interesting, and Isaacson is an able chronicler. More interesting than previously known, in fact; Isaacson used sources that were newly available at the time of writing …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2016/05/11/einstein-his-life-and-universe-by-walter-isaacson/

Apr 22 2015

What If? by Randall Munroe

What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90 percent the speed of light? If every person on Earth aimed a laser pointer at the Moon at the same time, would it change color? Is it possible to build a jetpack using downward-firing machine guns? If an asteroid was very small …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/04/22/what-if-by-randall-munroe/

Jan 20 2015

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

The protagonist of The Three-Body Problem is a Chinese woman named Ye Wenjie. She barely survived the Cultural Revolution in China, and is so disillusioned by her experiences that she takes the opportunity as a governmental scientist to hijack an official program that’s attempting to make contact with aliens. She succeeds in making this contact, …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2015/01/20/the-three-body-problem-by-cixin-liu/

Dec 05 2014

Parkinson’s Disease: A Guide for Patients and Families by William Weiner MD, Lisa Shulman MD, and Anthony Lang MD

A good source of information with a surprisingly optimistic outlook on a really terrible neurological disorder. There is still no cure, but there are drug treatments that can alleviate the symptoms. I hate to dwell on such an irrelevant detail, but there was significant commentary on the effects of Parkinson’s on the patient’s sex life. …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/12/05/parkinsons-disease-a-guide-for-patients-and-families/

Sep 28 2014

Journey Into the Heart by David Monagan

This is an incredible story. The daring, energy, and optimism of the men who pioneered cardiology in the twentieth century are truly extraordinary. This book focuses primarily on Andreas Gruentzig, the East German cardiologist who developed and refined angioplasty. The story becomes a Greek tragedy as success leads to hubris and hubris leads to nemesis. …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/09/28/journey-into-the-heart-by-david-monagan/

Sep 27 2014

Cystic Fibrosis by David Orenstein

Excellent book. I started this book expecting to be depressed by accounts of patients not living past childhood, but it turns out that with currently available medical care patients can expect to live into adulthood and even to old age. They will need regular treatments and may have to make many trips to the hospital …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2014/09/27/cystic-fibrosis-by-david-orenstein/

Jul 12 2012

Einstein by Walter Isaacson

I read this book several years ago; on rereading it I was much more interested in Einstein’s science than his life story. Yet the story is still inspiring; it is a testimony to what an unconventional mind and a lot of curiosity can accomplish. Einstein remained a determinist throughout his life, and on reading a …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2012/07/12/einstein-by-walter-isaacson/

Oct 22 2011

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

This is a marvellous book chronicling the history of science. The journey is fraught with heartache and tragedy, as it is an oft-repeated theme that scientists who have made great discoveries were never properly recognized in their lifetimes and died broken and unhappy. It is also an expose of the scientific world that debunks its …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2011/10/22/a-short-history-of-nearly-everything-by-bill-bryson/

Jul 29 2011

Microbe by Alan Zelicoff

Like all the books I have read on infectious disease, this book is highly alarmist in tone. It recounts several recent outbreaks, adding a good dose of medical science for good measure, in order to advance the thesis that we need to be more prepared for the next outbreak. The author is not arguing for …

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2011/07/29/microbe-by-alan-zelicoff/