Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist

Chad Orzel. Basic, $17.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-465-07496-9
We all have an inner scientist, and Orzel, a professor of physics at Union College, says we put those inner scientists to work every day—whether we realize it or not. Orzel winnows down science to four basic steps: “Looking” involves collecting observations and searching for patterns, as Darwin did to create his theory on the origin of species. “Thinking” means reviewing your data and coming up with an explanation—a model—for what you’ve seen, the way Dmitri Mendeleev studied chemical properties of different substances to create the periodic table of the elements. “Testing” means devising experiments to test your model, as physicists did to determine what atoms are made of. “Telling” is sharing the story of your work with others. His vivid examples include pop culture touchstones Iron Chef and Where’s Waldo?, fantasy sports leagues, and the citizen-scientist organization Zooniverse. Orzel also enlivens the work with glimpses of fascinating scientists such as physicist Richard Feynman and astronomer Vera Rubin, whose work allowed scientists to deduce the presence of dark matter in galaxies. This fun, diverse, and accessible look at how science works will convert even the biggest science phobe. Agent: Erin Hosier, Dunow, Carlson, and Lerner. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/06/2014
Release date: 12/01/2014
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