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Kristina
04-17-2003, 08:25 PM
Here at UCLA I'm a social science major (poli sci to be precise) so I have taken a series of "science for non-science people" classes. We kicked off this amazing quarter reading the play Arcadia which taught us the lesson that you cannot seperate art from science or reason from intellect. So this is basically the theme of our class and the last book we read was Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman. It is an incredible book that just blew my mind. It was putting different concepts Einstein's theory of relativity and time into fictional worlds. I just sat there in awe after reading it because it made me think so much and garner a new found appreciation for science. I think literature is a good medium to learn scientific concepts for people like me.

So...talking in tigerbolt today, I learned that a lot of you all have read some great science-oriented pieces and I want to know what they are and why you love them. These kinds of books I guess you can say are out of my norm since I'm used to reading the classics but I would love to read more from this genre.

Adam Y.
04-17-2003, 08:45 PM
So...talking in tigerbolt today, I learned that a lot of you all have read some great science-oriented pieces and I want to know what they are and why you love them. These kinds of books I guess you can say are out of my norm since I'm used to reading the classics but I would love to read more from this genre.
My physics teacher recommends reading Flatland by Edwin Abbott. He says it makes understanding forth dimensional space really easy.:D

Yan Wang
04-17-2003, 08:48 PM
Contact by Carl Sagan

A) He's from Ithaca, NY.
B) The book's simple concepts pretty much either make you say, 'finally, someone who gets it' or 'you lying @*&%$! How could you make such profound statements'? The book is basically focused on science vs/with religion and ... well, it's really good; below is an excerpt:

"God can make a signal come from the bunghole of the Little Bear if He wants. Rankin's face was becoming bright red. Excuse me, but you've gotten me riled up. God can do ANYTHING.

Anything that you don't understand, Mr. Rankin, you attribute to God. God for you is where you sweep away all the mysteries of the world, all the challenges to our intelligence. You simply turn your mind off and say God did it."

And um, around 400 pages of other good quotes too :)

srjjs
04-18-2003, 03:01 PM
What is the name of this book?
R. Smullyan

Kris Verdeyen
04-18-2003, 03:39 PM
Flatland and Contact are both great reccomendations - I second both.

Others that you might want to look at are Hyperspace by Michio Kaku and Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofsteader. Both of these are non-fiction, so they might lie outside what you're asking for, but they are both fantastic books.

Hyperspace explores some of the same themes as Flatland (in fact, it references Flatland extensively). In the early chapters especially, it explores the concept of extra-dimensional space in art and culture, but it also paints an exciting picture of the newest theoretical physics.

GEB:EGB is the best book most computer science majors have ever read (if you indulge stereotypes). It explores a wide array of topics in mathmatics, Computer science, psychology, art, music, cognitive science, and biology, and links them together so as to give you an amazing viewpoint. After each chapter is a short dialogue that illustrates the previous chapter's subject. The material is pretty advanced, I first started reading it my sophomore year in college, and put it down after I realized I was out of my element. When I picked it back up my senior year, I was amazed. So if you can't "get it" right now, don't let it bug you too much.

And check out The Hot Zone, as well.

jon virgi
04-19-2003, 12:06 AM
you guys should watch the movie called: Cube 2: Hypercube. Its a great movie about people stuck in a 4 dimensional hypercube. Definitely rent it or maybe catch it on the sci fi channel.

George1902
04-19-2003, 01:36 AM
Originally posted by verdeyw
Godel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofsteader.

GEB:EGB is the best book most computer science majors have ever read (if you indulge stereotypes). It explores a wide array of topics in mathmatics, Computer science, psychology, art, music, cognitive science, and biology, and links them together so as to give you an amazing viewpoint. After each chapter is a short dialogue that illustrates the previous chapter's subject. The material is pretty advanced, I first started reading it my sophomore year in college, and put it down after I realized I was out of my element. When I picked it back up my senior year, I was amazed. So if you can't "get it" right now, don't let it bug you too much.

GEB is still one of the best books i've ever read. not many books can totally change your worldview... well, this one did for me.

i don't look at the world the same way as i did before i read GEB =-]

FotoPlasma
04-19-2003, 01:50 AM
GEB: EGB is a great book.

I third the suggestion.

indieFan
04-19-2003, 02:16 AM
While it's not science in the way you are probably asking for, my book recommendation is Frank Herbert's _The White Plague_. This is a book that is about the implications of a society that advances too quickly for itself scientifically (using genetic engineering as the basis of the story), as well as the emotional repercussions of one man's revenge on the individual and society at large.

_The White Plague_ essentially serves as a warning to the scientific community.

indieFan

Brandon Martus
04-19-2003, 02:22 AM
An interesting discussion on Artificial Intelligence and computing in general .. past/present/future:

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence by Ray Kurzweil

[amazon link (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0140282025/qid=1050733253/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_1/102-8523762-6789769?v=glance&s=books&n=507846)]