The Faber Book of Science
Carey (John), Ed.
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Amazon Book Description

  1. The Faber Book of Science introduces hunting spiders and black holes, gorillas and stardust, protons, photons and neutrinos.
  2. In his acclaimed anthology, John Carey plots the development of modern science from Leonardo da Vinci to Chaos Theory. The emphasis is on the scientists themselves and their own accounts of their breakthroughs and achievements.
  3. The classic science-writers are included - Darwin, T.H. Huxley and Jean Henri Fabre tracking insects through the Provencal countryside.
  4. So too are today's experts - Steve Jones on the Human Genome Project, Richard Dawkins on DNA and many other representatives of the contemporary genre of popular science-writing which, John Carey argues, challenges modern poetry and fiction in its imaginative power.


Faber & Faber, 1996, Paperback

"Carey (John), Ed. - The Faber Book of Science"

Source: Carey (John) - The Faber Book of Science

  1. Prelude: The Misfit from Vinci
    Leonardo da Vinci
  2. Going inside the Body
    → Andreas Vesalius
  3. Galileo and the Telescope
    Galileo Galilei
  4. William Harvey and the Witches
    → Geoffrey Keynes
  5. The Hunting Spider
    → Robert Hooke and John Evelyn
  6. Early Blood Transfusion
    → Henry Oldenburg and Thomas Shadwell
  7. Little Animals in Water
    → Antony van Leeuwenhoek
  8. An Apple and Colours
    → Sir Isaac Newton and others
  9. The Little Red Mouse and the Field Cricket
    → Gilbert White
  10. Two Mice Discover Oxygen
    Joseph Priestley
  11. Discovering Uranus
    → Alfred Noyes
  12. The Big Bang and Vegetable Love
    → Erasmus Darwin
  13. Taming the Speckled Monster
    → Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and Edward Jenner
  14. The Menace of Population – 54
    Thomas Malthus
  15. How the Giraffe Got its Neck – 5 8
    → Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, George Bernard Shaw and Richard Wilbur
  16. Medical Studies, Paris 1821 – 65
    → Hector Berlioz
  17. The Man with a Lid on his Stomach – 67
    → William Beaumont
  18. Those Dreadful Hammers: Lyell and the New Geology – 71
    Charles Lyell
  19. The Discovery of Worrying – 79
    → Adam Phillips
  20. Pictures for the Million – 81
    → Samuel F. B. Morse and Marc Antoine Gaudin
  21. The Battle of the Ants – 85
    Henry David Thoreau
  22. On a Candle – 88
    Michael Faraday
  23. Heat Death – 93
    John Updike
  24. Adam’s Navel – 95
    Stephen Jay Gould
  25. Submarine Gardens of Eden: Devon, 1858-9 – 106
    → Edmund Gosse
  26. In Praise of Rust – 110
    John Ruskin
  27. The Devil’s Chaplain – 114
    Charles Darwin
  28. The Discovery of Prehistory – 129
    → Daniel J. Boorstin
  29. Chains and Rings: Kekule’s Dreams – 137
    → August Kekule
  30. On a Piece of Chalk
    T.H. Huxley
  31. Siberia Breeds a Prophet
    → Bernard Jaffe
  32. Socialism and Bacteria
    → David Bodanis
  33. God and Molecules
    → James Clerk Maxwell
  34. Inventing Electric Light
    → Francis Jehl
  35. Bird’s Custard: The True Story
    → Nicholas Kurti
  36. Birth Control: The Diaphragm
    → Angus McLaren
  37. Headless Sex: The Praying Mantis
    → L. O. Howard
  38. The World as Sculpture
    William James
  39. The Discovery of X-Rays
    → Wilhelm Roentgen, H. J. W. Dam, and others
  40. No Sun in Paris
    → Henri Becquerel
  41. The Colour of Radium
    → Eve Curie
  42. The Innocence of Radium
    → Lavinia Greenlaw
  43. The Secret of the Mosquito’s Stomach
    → Ronald Ross
  44. The Poet and the Scientist
    → Hugh MacDiarmid
  45. Wasps, Moths and Fossils
    → Jean-Henri Fabre
  46. The Massacre of the Males
    → Maurice Maeterlinck
  47. Freud on Perversion
    Sigmund Freud and W. H. Auden
  48. Kitty Hawk
    → Orville Wright
  49. A Cuckoo in a Robin’s Nest
    → W H. Hudson
  50. Was the World Made for Man?
    → Mark Twain
  51. Drawing the Nerves – 251
    → Santiago Ramon y Cajal
  52. Discovering the Nucleus – 260
    C.P. Snow
  53. Death of a Naturalist – 262
    → W. N. P. Barbellion
  54. Relating Relativity – 267
    Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell, Arthur Eddington and others
  55. Uncertainty and Other Worlds – 277
    → F. W. Bridgman and others
  56. Quantum Mechanics1: Mines and Machine-Guns 281
    Max Born
  57. Why Light Travels in Straight Lines
    Peter Atkins
  58. Puzzle Interest
    → William Empson
  59. Submarine Blue
    → William Beebe
  60. Sea-Cucumbers
    → John Steinbeck
  61. Telling the Workers about Science
    J.B.S. Haldane
  62. The Making of the Eye
    → Sir Charles Sherrington
  63. Green Mould in the Wind
    → Sarah R. Reidman and Elton T. Gustafson
  64. In the Black Squash Court: The First Atomic Pile
    → Laura Fermi
  65. A Death and the Bomb
    Richard Feynman
  66. The Story of a Carbon Atom
    Primo Levi
  67. Tides
    → Rachel Carson
  68. The Hot, Mobile Earth
    → Charles Officer and Jake Page
  69. The Poet and the Surgeon
    → James Kirkup and Dannie Abse
  70. Enter Love and Enter Death
    → Joseph Wood Krutch
  71. In the Primeval Swamp
    → Jacquetta Hawkes
  72. Krakatau: The Aftermath
    Edward O. Wilson
  73. Gorillas
    → George Schaller
  74. Toads
    George Orwell
  75. Russian Butterflies
    Vladimir Nabokov
  76. Discovering a Medieval Louse
    → John Steinbeck
  77. The Gecko’s Belly
    → Italo Calvino
  78. On the Moon
    → Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin
  79. Gravity
    → John Frederick Nims
  80. Otto Frisch Explains Atomic Particles
    → Otto Frisch, Murray Gell-Mann and John Updike
  81. From Stardust to Flesh
    Nigel Calder and Ted Hughes
  82. Black Holes
    → Isaac Asimov
  83. The Fall-Out Planet
    James Lovelock
  84. Galactic Diary of an Edwardian Lady
    → Edward Larrissy
  85. The Light of Common Day
    Arthur C. Clarke
  86. Can We Know the Universe? Reflections on a Grain of Salt
    Carl Sagan
  87. Brain Size
    → Anthony Smith
  88. On Not Discovering
    → Ruth Benedict
  89. Negative Predictions
    → Sir Peter Medawar
  90. Clever Animals
    → Lewis Thomas
  91. Great Fakes of Science
    Martin Gardner
  92. Unnatural Nature
    Lewis Wolpert
  93. Rags, Dolls and Teddy Bears
    D.W. Winnicott
  94. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
    Oliver Sacks
  95. Seeing the Atoms in Crystals
    Lewis Wolpert and Dorothy Hodgkin
  96. The Plan of Living Things
    Francis Crick
  97. Willow Seeds and the Encyclopaedia Britannica
    Richard Dawkins
  98. Shedding Life
    → Miroslav Holub
  99. The Greenhouse Effect: An Alternative View – 492
    Freeman Dyson
  100. Fractals, Chaos and Strange Attractors
    → Caroline Series and Paul Davies, Tom Stoppard and Robert May – 495
  101. The Language of the Genes
    Steve Jones – 505
  102. The Good Earth is Dying
    → Isaac Asimov – 508

"Ramon y Cajal (Santiago) - On Chess"

Source: Carey (John) - The Faber Book of Science

  1. As a distraction for the reader, …, I should like to tell here how I freed myself from a tenacious and inveterate vice, the game of chess, which seriously menaced my evenings.
  2. Knowing my fondness for the noble game of Ruy Lopez y Philidor various members of the Casino Militar invited me to join it.
  3. I was weak enough to do so; I made my debut with varying success measuring myself against players of considerable skill; and soon my skill increased and with it the morbid eagerness to overcome my adversaries. In my foolish vanity, I reached the point of playing four games simultaneously, against separate combatants, besides numerous onlookers who discussed at length the consequences of every move. There was one game that lasted two or three days. In my desire to shine at all costs and my confidence in my rather good visual memory, I even played without looking at the board.
  4. Needless to say, I acquired as many books on the aristocratic pastime as I could lay my hands on and I even fell into the folly of sending solutions of problems to foreign illustrated papers. Carried away by the growing passion, I found my sleep broken by dreams and nightmares, in which pawns, knights, queens, and bishops were jumbled together in a frenzied dance. After being defeated the evening before in one or several games, it often happened that I wakened with a sudden start in the early hours of the morning, with my brain burning and in a whirl, breaking out in phrases of irritation and despair and exclaiming: ‘I am a fool! I had a checkmate at the fourth move and did not see it.’ In fact, putting the board on the table, I proved with sorrow the delayed clairvoyance of my unconscious mind. which had been working within me during the few hours of repose.
  5. This could not continue. The almost permanent fatigue and cerebral congestion weakened me. If one does not lose money in playing chess, one loses time and brain energy, which are worth infinitely more, and one’s will is turned aside and runs through the wrong channels. In my opinion, far from exercising the intelligence, as many claim, chess warps it and wears it out. Conscious of the danger of my position, I trembled before the distressing prospect of becoming converted into of those amorphous types, sedentary and corpulent, who grow old unproductively and insensibly, seated at a card table or a chess table, .without arousing any sincere affection or exciting, when the inevitable apoplexy or the terrible uraemia comes, more than a feeling of cold formal commiseration. ‘Too bad about Perez! He was a good player! We shall have to look about for someone to take his place.’ – For the player at a club or casino is no more than a table leg, something like the common picture which occupies a place in the room imply to balance the others.
  6. But how was I to cure myself thoroughly? Feeling myself incapable of an inexorable, ‘I do not play any more,’ the possession of a will of iron; constantly excited by the eagerness for revenge, the evil genius of every player; the only supreme remedy which occurred to me was the similia similibus of the homeopathists: to study the works upon chess thoroughly and reproduce the most celebrated plays; and besides to discipline my rather sensitive nerves, augmenting the imaginative and reflex tension to the utmost. It was indispensable, also, to abandon my usual style of play, with consistently romantic and audacious attacks, stick to the rules of the most cautious prudence.
  7. In this way, expending my whole inhibitory capacity in the undertaking, I finally attained my desired end. This consisted, as the reader will have guessed, in flattering and lulling to sleep my insatiable self-love by defeating my skilful and cunning competitors for a whole week. Having demonstrated my superiority, eventually or by chance, the devil of pride smiled and was satisfied. Fearful of a relapse, I abandoned my place in the casino and did not move a pawn again for more than twenty-five years. Thanks to my psychological stratagem, I emancipated my modest intellect, which had been sequestrated by such stupid and sterile competitions, and was now able to devote it, fully and without distraction, to the noble worship of science.
  8. Source: Santiago Ramon y Cajal, Recollections of My Life, trans. E. Horne Craigie and Juan Cano, New York, American Philosophical Society, 1937.

Further Notes

In-Page Footnotes ("Ramon y Cajal (Santiago) - On Chess")

Footnote 1:

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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