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Saturday, 27 January 2018

Resources for a Teenager – 'Natural Sciences'

The fifth in a series of posts detailing those resources I’m finding useful on my own particular (life) journey.


I did Biology A Level, back in the mists of time.

To much of how science is presented seems to be a fait accompli. I prefer to create my own understanding from the evidence that’s out there, and how it evolves over time.

The List

The rationale

  1. Chaos – I remember reading this and being inspired, daunted, and made tearful with frustration. Top notch popular science.
  2. Genius – Dick Feynman’s life combined tragedy, playfulness, profound insightful and periods when he lost his way. Another powerful account of leaders willing  to speak truth to power (i.e. the final chapter).
  3. Emergence – seemingly a ‘parallel’ track to Chaos. Another breakthrough and disruptive discipline in the Sciences. You might be spotting a theme here…
  4. The Fractalist – part autobiography, part inspirational story of survival, part the midwifery of a new branch of science / maths. Inspirational exposition of success in the face of huge challenges, combining a gentleness of manner with first-class determination and courage.
  5. You are the Placebo – important insights into the way we create our identity from within. The challenge is doing something about this, though
  6. Mycelium Running – a powerful story of how fungi

To read:

  • At Home in the Universe – I’ve started reading, but got side-tracked. More insights, this time from complexity theory (cf Emergence above)     
  • Gut – having a dairy  intolerance, I have an interest in things relating to my gut, the microbiome, and all things relating
  • Learning from the Octopus – I must get beyond the initial chapters. It’s about how we can learn from the natural world
  • Soft-Wired – there are too many determinists out there. Our brains alter according to how we use them.
  • The Arrow of Time – I need to read this to understand why time only goes one way
  • Relativity – I started this, but got stuck with time going faster and slower depending on where you are #drat
  • Quantum Theory – I want to understand more about entanglement et al.
  • Systems View of Life – how to bring things together as a whole
  • The Storytelling Animal – humans as narrative making and seekers


    The Task

    The Scientific Method offers powerful ways to understand ourselves and the Cosmos.

    However, scientists are humans – after all – so IMHO we should take responsibility for our own synthesis of whatever insights we have gleaned so far from the natural world, and beyond.

    Actually, my immediate task is to read more of these books – both on my Kindle, and from my bookshelf... #oops


    Any thoughts, additions, amendments – whatever – please add in respectful and constructive comments below. Thank you!


    I endeavour to record what I’m reading via my profile on Goodreads.
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