cover image Almost Everyone's Guide to Science: The Universe, Life and Everything

Almost Everyone's Guide to Science: The Universe, Life and Everything

John R. Gribbin / Author Yale University Press $40 (232p) ISBN

Any book attempting to explain topics as diverse as the inner workings of atoms and the origin of the universe, as well as everything in between, is bound to be superficial. Gribbin's is that, but it is also informative, providing a knowing, if idiosyncratic, view of many of the major contemporary issues in science. Gribbin (In Search of Schr dinger's Cat, etc.) has written ""a guide not so much for fans of science and the cognoscenti but more a guide for the perplexed--anyone who is vaguely aware that science is important, and might even be interesting, but is usually scared off by the technical detail."" He begins by paying attention to the work of physicists and their view of the atom, moving sequentially to chemists, biologists, geologists, meteorologists, astronomers and cosmologists. Topics as diverse as the nature of chemical bonds, the structure of biological molecules, evolution, plate tectonics, the greenhouse effect, stellar evolution and the big bang all touched on. Throughout, Gribbin emphasizes fundamentals of science and of the scientific method--particularly through the mantra, ""if it disagrees with experiment it is wrong."" Overall, this is a good bet for the would-be weekend scientist who favors breadth over depth and wants to know a lot in little time. (Sept.)