Mysteries of Life and the Universe: New Essays from America's Finest Writers on Science

William H. Shore, Editor
William H. Shore, Editor Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $24.95 (317p) ISBN 978-0-15-163972-4
Reviewed on: 11/02/1992
Release date: 11/01/1992
Thirty contributors, including Diane Ackerman (on the Grand Canyon and geologic time), Martin Gardner (on artificial life) and James Trefil (on Neanderthal man) give this amiable collection of personal reflections a pleasantly challenging range. While surely not all of our ``finest'' science writers are represented, readers will find essays that spark and satisfy their sense of wonder in this assortment. Most of the pieces are fairly cozy, around-the-campfire observations in which the author reflects on his or her own experience: physicist Hans Christian von Baeyer contemplates nature while walking his dog; neurologist Harold Klawans stubs his toe and rediscovers the simplicity of pain as phenomenon. A few essays, such as David Freedman's ``Quantum Liaisons,'' are models of expository writing on deep science for a general audience. Shore is executive director of Share Our Strength, a hunger relief organization based in Washington, D.C., to which profits from this volume will be donated. (Nov.)
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