Sunday, March 29, 2009

blinding me with science

Purloined writes:

This week I've been obsessed with science.

Why? I'm an environmentalist who wants to understand some of those scientific articles that stretch my education to its maximum. On top of that, I am a homeschooling mom of a kid who asks all kinds of questions I cannot answer. And yes--I'll admit it proudly: I am a total nerd.

So here are my favorite finds this week:

I've been completely drawn in by Natalie Angier's fabulous book, The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science. It is funny, clever, thoughtful, and easy for a history major with absolutely no college science to understand. Angier discusses the scientific method, statistics and probability, physics, chemistry, molecular and evolutionary biology, geology, and astronomy. I highly recommend it. If you know as little as I do, you'll have many hours ahead of you where you simultaneously laugh out loud and feel your brain growing.

Ready for something lighter but with almost as much cleverness? Check out Rough Science, currently available for streaming on Netflix. In this reality show, a group of scientists--including a pair of physicists, a chemist, a botanist and a biologist, and later a geologist--gather together. Stripped of their scientific gadgets and high-tech tools, they navigate challenges thrown their way using only their knowledge and ingenuity--and a trunk of "bits and bobs" (such as a sheep's fleece or a 5-pound bag of sugar). I love watching these clever folks figure out how to use their skills in a simple world without all the bells and whistles of contemporary science. Although some of their activities aren't always environmentally friendly, others explore issues of special interest to environmentalist (such as an episode on a retreating glacier).

Finally, if you still are hungry for more science, check out these two lighthearted podcasts that nevertheless do some intellectual heavy-lifting: the Naked Scientists and the This Week in Science: the Kickass Science Podcast.


pink dogwood said...

must get this book - thanks for the recommendation.

EcoBurban said...

LOL, that last podcast might even get my kids interested in science. Love this list!

JessTrev said...

Thanks! I am interested in science but have such a layperson's understanding of it. These are right at my level!


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