Sunday, March 6, 2022

Sneak peek

 Do you know what I suspect are every author's least favorite questions? (Certainly, they're *my* least favorite.) "What’s your favorite book?" And, "If I were to try one of your books, which should it be?"

They're both like asking a parent, "Who's your favorite child?"

But guess what? Pretty soon, I'll have an answer for the non-child questions. As in ... the forthcoming career-spanning collection of my most acclaimed short fiction. More news as it happens, but meanwhile, a cover reveal.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

The Scientists

 I recently finished reading The Scientists: A History of Science Told Through the Lives of Its Greatest Inventors, by John Gribbin. This was, unquestionably, among the most fascinating nonfiction books I've read -- and so thoroughly enjoyed -- in years.

Amazon link
In a nutshell, Gribbin reviews 500 years of scientific history, basically from 1500 to 2000 -- centuries that saw the emergence of astronomy, physics, chemistry, geology, and biology. He covered many familiar people, of course: Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, and Einstein. Darwin, Wallace, Mendel, and Crick and Watson. Bohr, Schrodinger, Pauli, Pauling, Dirac, and de Broglie. Lyell and Wegener. Avogadro, Lavoisier, and Mendeleev. Halley, Herschel, and Hubble. And so many more. 

Why start around 1500? Because that was a watershed. The ancient Greeks (as Gribbin points out) had some profound insights. Because they didn't have the scientific method, those insights -- and some glaring misunderstandings -- came of pondering and philosophizing, without confirmation (or invalidation) from experiment or observation. The ancient Romans -- as terrific as they were as engineers -- added little to those earlier musings. The so-called Dark Ages and Middle Ages similarly saw some significant engineering advances, but nothing we'd understand as science.