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Download Oxford Dictionary of Scientific Quotations (Oxford Quick Reference) epub

by W. F. Bynum,Roy Porter

The original words announcing great scientific discoveries, from the first 'Eureka!' to the cloning of Dolly the sheep, can all be found in this fascinating addition to the world-famous Oxford Quotations series. An essential reference tool, put together over fifteen years with the assistance of a distinguished team of specialist advisers, it includes full author descriptions, exact sources, and a word-finding index for easy reference. Scholarly but accessible, it also presents the human face of science, as scientists reflect on achievements and failures in their own lives and those of others. For example, you've probably already hear Darwin's own thoughts on natural selection, but how about his assessment of the pros and cons of marriage? From Archimedes to Einstein and beyond, the Oxford Dictionary of Scientific Quotations charts the progress of the great ideas of science. It is an engaging and surprising read for all lovers of science, history, or wit.
Download Oxford Dictionary of Scientific Quotations (Oxford Quick Reference) epub
ISBN: 0198614438
ISBN13: 978-0198614432
Category: Reference
Subcategory: Dictionaries & Thesauruses
Author: W. F. Bynum,Roy Porter
Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press (September 7, 2006)
Pages: 736 pages
ePUB size: 1205 kb
FB2 size: 1128 kb
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 716
Other Formats: docx rtf lrf mbr

During a library visit I noticed another encyclopedia of scientific quotations, and then found this one. It is quite a piece of work. I've just started reading it, first by topic and now by the particular scientist's entry. The depth and breadth are excellent, and will be especially appreciated by people with a science background or those who have taken a philosophy of science course, either at college or by seeing a "Great Courses" video. The best way I can write about the unusually good quality of this book is to provide some quotes here:

John Dewey: "Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of imagination. What are now working conceptions … were once speculative hypotheses".
Denis Diderot: "I picture the vast realm of the sciences as an immense landscape scattered with patches of dark and light. The goal towards which we must work is either to extend the boundaries of the patches of light, or to increase their number. One of these tasks falls to the creative genius; the other requires a sort of sagacity combined with perfectionism." (this may relate to the "fox and the hedgehog" analogy, described by Freeman Dyson in "A Many Colored Glass" and by Isaiah Berlin in "The Crooked Timber of Humanity")
Sheldon Lee Glashow: "Tapestries are made by many artisans working together. The contributions of separate workers cannot be discerned in the completed work, and the loose and false threads have been covered over. So it is in our picture of particle physics." (this may, just possibly, remind some philosophy of science researchers of the ideal goal of keeping "World 3", or the world of ideas, clear of the imperfections of "World 1" and "World 2", the physical and social worlds, according to this model of knowledge and experience written about by Karl Popper. To put it another way, there have been some scientists and mathematicians, for example, Alan Turing, whose private life did, at least during the early part of the 20th century, temporarily impair the use of his ideas, which were actually found to be valuable by scientists working in later years, and in the early 21st century. Many more examples exist of the historical context of an early scientific idea being tainted, but which is then later used in the right way, in the right context, by other scientists, and even by scientists of later generations.
Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac: "I found the best ideas usually came, not when one was actively striving for them, but when one was in a more relaxed state … I usually take long solitary walks on Sundays, during which I tended to review the current situation in a leisurely way."
Erwin Schrodinger: "Thus, the task is, not so much to see what no one has yet seen; but to think what nobody has yet thought, about that which everybody sees".
If read and understood, the description is totally accurate.

True, if you want only zingers, this is not the book for you. Wit alone can give only a superficial view of science. But that is not the object of a reference book. Words can also be spellbinding.

But here, a quotation means the original words of the scientists talking of their own or other discoveries, and such quotes are fascinating. The wider your science education, you will recognize more and more names of the scientists in this compilation. By reading it, you will learn more about the history of science, and find more people that you are glad to hear of, and will care to know their contributions.

For example, in one lengthy quote you can read a description by Humphry Davy of his thrill upon breathing nitrous oxide, early after its discovery. Humphry Davy's name may be unfamiliar, but he was a leading experimental scientist at the Royal Institution and isolated several new elements. Davy nominated the brilliant Michael Faraday as his successor. These are both giants in the progress of chemistry and physics, yet how many high school graduates know their names? (Sad, that.)

On the other hand, there is Francis Arthur Freeth, who is quoted as saying, "I am Freeth, and I have come to apply the phase-rule to the ammonia-soda process." I didn't know who Freeth was. But these were his first words on joining the Brunner-Mond Company in 1907, where he diligently researched the large-scale processes for making ammonium nitrate in the industrial quantities need for explosives. Without his key contribution, Britain would have had a dire shortage of munitions for World War I. He literally helped win the war. Once you realise Freeth was such a hugely important scientist, though in one narrow field, the quote is precient. And I am glad to now know who Freeth was.

Francis and Crick are the household names in the discovery of the structure of DNA, but in this book you can read what Rosalind Franklin, their contemporary, had written as early as 1952 about her work - in her own words - also hinting at the helical structure of DNA.

Thus, if you have a life-long interest in science, this book should be on your shelf. It is unique. You can come back to it many times, and find new gems of insight each time. All of the 8000 quotes in the book are good quotes for this purpose. The book is a gold mine - you discover gold nuggets everywhere, if you have the eyes to see. It complements your knowledge of scientist biographies.

Buy this book.
This title delivers scientists' quotations that not only sum up the writer's life work but also epitomize their belief systems and rationale for doing their work, even on a higher level. Masterful selection of writers and their quotations. Open anywhere, and read! Makes an inspiring gift.--Jinna
There is a subject index that allows you to find quotes related to whatever you are trying to teach your students.
This is an astonishing book, jam-packed with the accumulated rational wisdom of humanity. It is also obviously a labor of love by the compilers. My hat is off to them. I am sure the reviewer who gave the book 1 star is an intelligent person, but his thinking is alien to me, and more than a bit worrisome. Why do we need "zingers" in a work that showcases the very best of what the human intellect has to offer? And the profundity is in the nature of the knowledge that has been laboriously hacked out of the mysterious sediments of nature.

Definitely buy this book.
There is only one line from the description which is not too misleading:
"Recommended for public and academic libraries."

It should be added: "Not recommended for individuals."

While there are a handful of great quotes in this book (perhaps 1 in a thousand), most of the quotes are very specific, are not "funny" not "zingers" not witty, not profound, and are just plain dry. There are about 20 good quotes and out of what must be about 8000 quotes in the book. I bought it based on seeing several good quotes given where the book is advertised. Well guess what! Those were half of the good quotes in the book!

Most quotes are from people you haven't heard of and don't care to hear of. Which would be fine, if the quotes were any good - but they are not. Do not buy this book.