Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Category: 570s

575: The Panda’s Thumb by Stephen Jay Gould

DDC_575

575.0162: Gould, Stephen Jay. The Panda’s Thumb: More Reflections in Natural History. New York: W.W. Norton, 1980. 323 pp. ISBN 0-393-30819-7.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 500: Science
  • 570: Biology
  • 575: Specific parts of and physiological systems in plants
  • 575.0162: Natural selection (Darwinism)

Stephen Jay Gould’s Panda’s Thumb is a collection of thirty-one essays all looking at how the natural world has adapted to its circumstances and how we as humans perceive, interpret, and understand those adaptations. Gould’s work on evolution helps to show that sometimes scientists get it wrong, and other times, scientists get it very wrong. Even the science of evolution is evolving, which is the overall premise of this collection. We see how the early investigations of those with Down Syndrome changed the way people viewed doctors and men of science, how Mickey Mouse’s changes over the years mirror the growth of human beings, and how history of organisms on this planet is not a steady affair.

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570: Signs of Life by Ricard Sole and Brian Goodwin

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570: Sole, Ricard and Brian Goodwin. Signs of Life: How Complexity Pervades Biology. New York: Basic Books, 2000. 303 pp. ISBN 0-465-01927-7.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 500: Science
  • 570: Biology

If you’ve ever seen an array of beetles in a natural history museum or gone snorkeling, you have no doubt marveled at just how complex biology can be. There are millions upon millions of species on Earth, each following their own patterns. Those patterns encounter and interfere with other patterns to create the massive biosphere we have today. Ricard Sole and Brian Goodwin, in Signs of Life, try to parse out those patterns and how the science that occurs at the intersection of chaos, mathematics, and biology.

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576: Evidence of Evolution by Mary Ellen Hannibal

DDC_576

576.8: Hannibal, Mary Ellen. Evidence of Evolution. New York: Abrams, 2009. 117 pp. ISBN 978-0-8109-4924-9.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 500: Science
  • 570: Life sciences (biology)
  • 576: Genetics and evolution
  • 576.8: Evolution

In a word, Evidence of Evolution is exquisite. Mary Ellen Hannibal’s discussion of evolution and genetics pairs wonderfully with Susan Middleton’s crisp photographs of collected specimens from the California Academy of Science. Hannibal goes through a brief history of Darwin’s expedition to the Galapagos Islands and highlight the basic lines of thought leading up to the theory of evolution. From there are dual treatises on the processes and patterns in evolution in the natural world.

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572: Brave Genius by Sean Carroll

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572.8092: Carroll, Sean B. Brave Genius: A Scientist, a Philosopher, and their Daring Adventures from the French Resistance to the Nobel Prize. New York: Crown. 576 pp. ISBN 978-0-3079-5233-2.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 500: Science
  • 570: Biology
  • 572: Biochemistry
  • 572.8: Biochemical genetics
  • +092: Biography

Two unlikely fellows became friends during World War II. One, a writer whose athletic career was sidelined by a nasty bout with tuberculosis, and the other, a scientist trying to figure his life out, got caught up in the war effort on the side of the French Resistance. Sean B. Carroll’s Brave Genius tells the tales of Jacques Monod  and Albert Camus from the perspective of the war. Each helped to defend their fellow countrymen without ever donning a military uniform. Luckily, they survived. Without them, the world would have a little less rich.

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573: Unraveling Piltdown by John E. Walsh

DDC_573

573.3: Walsh, John Evangelist. Unraveling Piltdown: The Science Fraud of the Century and Its Solution. Bath, UK: Bath Press, 1997. 219 p. ISBN  0-679-44444-0.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 500: Science
  • 570: Life Sciences
  • 573: Specific physiological systems in animals, regional histology and physiology in animals
  • 573.3: Anatomy and general biological processes

With the bitter winter winds blowing about, my training runs have been postponed until it at least climbs over 30 degrees F outside. That said, it gives me more time to hunker down and get through another book. Today’s selection looks at fraud in the scientific world. Now, we’ve all heard of art forgery and corporate fraud, but deliberate deception in the scientific world takes on a different aura. Not only do scientific frauds set back discovery, they also cast doubt on all those involved, guilty or not, for a long time afterwards. This is one such tale.

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577: The Tapir’s Morning Bath by Elizabeth Royte

577.340972875: Royte, Elizabeth. The Tapir’s Morning Bath: Solving the Mysteries of the Tropical Rain Forest. Boston: Mariner, 2002. 323 pp. ISBN 0-618-25758-6.

Dewey Construction:

  • 500: Mathematics and Science
  • 570: Life Sciences
  • 577: Ecology
  • 577.3: Forest ecology
  • 577.34: Rain forest ecology
  • +0972875: Panama Canal

Every time the news media or a PSA talks about the environment and humankind’s ambivalence, the rain forest is used as an example. Untold thousands of acres of rain forest are destroyed each year and (the TV screen tells us) that has far-reaching effects on the planet. Elizabeth Royte’s The Tapir’s Morning Bath is a quest to find out what exactly the effects are.

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