The Big Think

June 24, 2007

Current Reading

Filed under: Current Reading — jasony @ 1:40 pm

Frederik Pohl, “Chasing Science: Science as a Spectator Sport

Great book so far! I picked it up at Half-Price Books a few years ago (if you ever wonder what to get me for a birthday or Christmas, a gift cert to HPB is a slam-dunk winner). Pohl has been a science fiction writer his whole career, but never a bona fide scientist. In his book he tours around the country and visits a bunch of labs and describes his love of science from a spectator’s viewpoint. He also talks about which labs a person can visit and tour (Leon Lederman’s wonderfully open Fermilab is at the top of my list). Like many people, I share Pohl’s outsider view of science. My relationship to the science world is a lot like a good amateur’s relationship with music. They may play an instrument with some proficiency, read biographies of Monk and Mozart, and even gig occasionally, but they make their bread in their “real jobs”. I dabble in science (and Mad Science!) but make my living as a, er, musician.

I have a friend who loves to go to music festivals and listens to all kinds of music (something that feels like work to me), but my idea of a perfect vacation would be to travel the country taking tours of various labs and talking/interviewing scientists about what they’re doing. Maybe my physicist friend Matt could show me around once he’s a rich and famous particle physicist/quantum theorist/prosthetic designer. That is, if he doesn’t forget me from all the fame and groupies.

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