One of the longest-running jokes on the scientific scene, the "Daedalus" column began in New Scientist in the mid-1960s and transferred to Nature in the 1980s. Each week it offers a new scheme to challenge accepted notions of scientific principles, schemes that are neither feasible nor completely absurd. Always entertaining, the Daedalus schemes often have a serious purpose and raise crucial questions about science (sample title: "A Womb with a View, or At Least a Phone").
This delightful book compiles roughly one hundred of David Jones's popular columns, each of which exhibits a keen and approachable mixture of entertaining and thought-provoking material. Like the collection of articles that came before it, this work will appeal to a broad audience of the scientifically curious.
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From Scientific American:
David Jones is an independent science consultant to industry and the media, providing--among other things--ideas, brainstorming services, and scientific demonstrations for television. He now and again conducts research into physical chemistry as a guest member of the staff at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
Jones, who has turned out the weekly "Daedalus" column in British publications since 1964, sees himself as "the court jester in the Palace of Science." Each of his columns proposes some scientific scheme designed to confront accepted notions of technical feasibility. Appearing in New Scientist from 1964 to 1988, in Nature and the Guardian until 1996, and in Nature alone since then, the columns now number more than 1,700. From them, Jones has chosen 101, revised them, added comments, and drawn pictures or diagrams to accompany most of them. He says the columns aim at "a region of scientific humour whose appeal lay in its closeness to reality." And so he goes on about such topics as the solid-liquid diet, a dance to the music of space-time, and herbal petrol. The columns will evoke plenty of chuckles from the reader while dispensing plenty of sound scientific information.
EDITORS OF SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN
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