Brief book reviews: four popular science and history of science books

A while back I asked y’all for recommendations for popular science books that a scientist would enjoy. Meaning, not written a too low a level, not too hype-y, etc. There were so many great recommendations that it was hard to choose! But in the end, I decided to start with: The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: The (Mostly) True Story Of The First Computer by Sydney Padua The Book That Changed America: How Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution Ignited A Nation by Randall Fuller (note: this one didn’t come up in the thread; I bought it on impulse at the bookstore) Brief reviews below the fold. tl;dr: The first three are all well worth your time. The Book That Changed America is a bait and switch and eminently skippable. How I Killed Pluto is by the Caltech astronomer who’s discovery of numerous planet-like bodies in our solar system eventually led to Pluto (the largest of such bodies) being demoted from “planet” status. Wonderful little book–funny, charming, and insightful. Gives the blow-by-blow of Brown’s planet hunting, which was widely seen as a wild goose chase (including sometimes by Brown himself). Brown interleaves the science with stories from his life–he got […]

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