Saturday, April 16, 2005

Scientists’ Nightstand (William Hirstein)

Scientists’ Nightstand
The Bookshelf talks with William Hirstein
(American Scientist)
What science book recommendations do you have for nonscientists?

Michael Shermer’s books (e.g., Why People Believe Weird Things [W.H. Freeman, 1997], The Borderlands of Science [Oxford University Press, 2001]) are fun and very accessible.

Name one book in your discipline that you would recommend for scientists outside your field. Explain your choice.

Phantoms in the Brain [William Morrow, 1998], by V. S. Ramachandran and Sandra Blakeslee, captures the thrill of working with a creative experimentalist such as Ramachandran. It also drives home the vital point that scientists are not forced to choose between boring tractable problems and interesting intractable ones; if one is clever enough, the interesting problems can be made tractable.

Antonio Damasio gets better with each book. Looking for Spinoza [Harcourt, 2003] is his latest effort. He combines a massive knowledge of the mind/brain with a very sensible approach to issues of consciousness and sense of self.

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