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How was the earth formed? How big is an atom? What is a quantum leap? Most of us, however well educated, still find it impossible to answer even the most basic questions about science. It is something we associate with childish pleasures (trips to the Science Museum, a love of dinosaurs); we leave it behind in adolescence to pursue the canon of literature and the arts. But a truly cultured adult, Natalie Angier argues, should know the classic ideas of physics and evolutionary biology as well as the classic works of Beethoven and Shakespeare.
In The Canon , Angier takes us on a dazzling joyride through the 'beautiful basics of science'. With great energy and passion, she tackles each of the main scientific disciplines – from Chemistry to Astrology – using familiar examples, memorable analogies and a considerable amount of good humour to illuminate and entertain. She draws on interviews with hundreds of eminent scientists to create a vivid, informative primer for scientific literacy.
The Canon is vital reading for anyone who's ever been the slightest bit curious about how our world works. It's for anyone who wished they understood the great issues of our age – global warming, stem-cell research, nuclear arms – or for parents who panic when their child ask them how electricity works. It's the essential guide to the ideas that underpin our universe – a book that will enrapture, enlighten and inspire.
Natalie Angier writes about biology for the New York Times, for which she has won a Pulitzer Prize and other honours. She is the author of The Beauty of the Beastly, Natural Obsessions and the New York Times bestseller Woman: An Intimate Geography. Angier lives with her family in Washington, D.C.