Archive | January, 2013

Review of “Cosm” by Gregory Benford

Cosmology has always seemed to me to be a very strange discipline.  Although it makes extensive use of sophisticated mathematical formulations, its subject matter strikes a nonphysicist like me as beyond the realm of empirical tests.  As my knowledge and understanding of physics increased, I was struck by another facet of cosmology.  Unlike the core […]

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A Scientist’s Coming of Age

The coming-of-age novel or Bildungsroman is a well-established genre with such venerable examples of Voltaire’s Candide, Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, Dickens David Copperfield and Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye.  But there are almost no corresponding novels that focus on a young scientist growing up and mastering the practice and pursuit of a science.  That’s what […]

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The Problem of Explaining Science in Fiction

In my review of Carbon Dreams I went out of my way to warn readers that they might find some passages of the novel tough sledding.  Too much (dry? dull?) science, not enough action.  It’s a criticism I’ve heard from readers many times as I’ve written and rewritten Vanessa’s Curve of Mind.  I’m still learning […]

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Review of “Carbon Dreams” by Susan Gaines

Counting Intuition and The Gold Bug Variations, I’ve so far reviewed four novels set in a molecular biology laboratory.  Lest I give the impression that fiction about science can only be stories about molecular biologists, I turn now to another chemist in a completely different field.  Tina Arenas, the protagonist of Susan Gaines’s Carbon Dreams, […]

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