I am self-absorbed and...oh wait this isn't an e-mail to my therapist. hehe I love the Science and Technology section here, it's my favorite. I hope to write my reviews at least well enough to peek the interest of a few listeners to the point where they will shift their tastes more toward educational literature, knowing that(after receiving some insight from me) they can be just as entertaining, if not more so than mainstream fiction
I have read so many books recently in the realm of physics. And all the books I have read have there highlights. Usually those highlights come in the form of an explaination of something that I previously read and even found fascinating but couldn't grasp which finally becomes something I can wrap my head around. Well that said, I believe this book "Science Matters" does that very thing for me more than many other books!
The section I found most educational is the chemistry. Fasinating how you can still see correlations between atomic shapes and macro-affects. So much in here to enjoy! The segways from section to section are smooth making everything seem just as important as the next.
I greatly appreciate what these two fellows have done here. I am sure many others are responsible for such a great work, but I would like to thank James Trefil and Robert M. Hazen for there contribution to the furtherance of mankind. It all starts with education.
Gen-Xer, software engineer, and lifelong avid reader. Soft spots for sci-fi, fantasy, and history, but I'll read anything good.
I enjoyed this book. Robert Hazen starts from the beginning and describes how the Earth formed from starstuff, its crust and minerals crystallizing from cooling magma. He covers the planet’s storied relationship with its moon, the importance of tectonic plates, the formation of the seas, and the magnetosphere. We learn about the chemistry that provided a basis for proto-life-as-we-know-it, and, eventually, the real deal. We learn about the complex feedback loops that govern the climate system, the revelation that the entire planet may have once been covered in ice.
Hazen emphasizes the interdependence of the planet’s features and life itself: “geology influences life and life influences life”. Eons of metabolizing, respiring, and dying plants and animals have unquestionable altered the features and chemical makeup of the Earth’s surface, and, more importantly, the climate. Hazen also takes some time to identify instances of past natural climate change, triggered by imperfections in the Earth’s rotation, changes in the sun, volcanic activity, feedback loops caused by clouds/ocean/ice, and the emissions of the biosphere. Deniers of man-made climate change often refer to such events (usually with limited understanding of what caused them) to minimize the idea that human activity makes any difference, but Hazen points to the past as evidence that the equilibrium is delicate and *can* be changed, sometimes with catastrophic consequences for the ecosystem.
Finally, I’ve often wondered how scientists *know* about things that happened millions or billions of years ago -- I mean, I was aware that they had methods, but I couldn’t have explained them in much depth. Well, this book provides some good answers.
A worthwhile read. Informative and sweeping without being too dense.