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Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy.

Science Matters by Robert Hazen and James Trefil is, on the other hand, an actual guide to science literacy. Hazen is a research scientist at Virginia's George Mason University, and Trefil is a professor of physics there; both have written books on science before. Trefil was a coauthor of The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, one of the volumes that initiated the literacy-book boomlet. Trefil can also be heard as a commentator on National Public Radio; he is, for my money, the best and most original legitimate scientist with a public voice today, as insightful as Carl Sagan or Stephen Jay Gould, but without the affected image of the former or the grating egotism of the latter.

Hazen and Trefil's book is the one that someone longing for a basic grasp of science ought to buy. It begins with a clear explanation of the framework by which science attempts to fathom the natural world, then builds to thoughtful yet simple explanations of the principal theories and findings of the major disciplines. The text is ordered and accessible, never daunting, never jumping ahead of itself: a product of the book having been composed by two authors instead of 21. And while Science Matters lacks the rich reporting details of The New York Times Book of Science Literacy, the volume compensates by delivering what it promises. if you've always thought you could never understand science, Hazen and Trefil will show you you're wrong.
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Author:Easterbrook, Gregg
Publication:Washington Monthly
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 1, 1991
Previous Article:The New York Times Book of Science Literacy: What Everyone Needs to Know from Newton to the Knuckleball.
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