The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science. Natalie Angier. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science Book Cover The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science
Natalie Angier
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
May 1, 2007

With the singular intelligence and exuberance that made Woman an international sensation, Natalie Angier takes us on a whirligig tour of the scientific cannon. She draws on conversations with hundreds of the world’s top scientists and on her own work as a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for the New York Times to create a thoroughly entertaining guide to scientific literacy. People magazine said, “Angier has that rare dual talent: a true passion for science combined with a poet’s linguistic flair.” Those gifts are on full display in the canon, an ebullient celebration of science that stands to become a classic.

The Canon is vital reading for anyone who wants to understand the great issues of our time – from stem cells and bird flu to evolution and global warming. And it’s for every parent who has ever panicked when a child asked how the earth was formed or what electricity is. Angier’s sparkling prose and memorable metaphors bring the science to life, reigniting our own childhood delight in discovering how the world works. “Of course you should know about science,” writes Angier, “for the same reason Dr. Seuss councils his readers to sing with a Ying or play Ring the Gack: these things are fun, and fun is good.”

The Canon is a joy ride through the major scientific disciplines: physics, chemistry, biology, geology, and astronomy. Along the way, we learn what is actually happening when our ice cream melts and our coffee gets cold, what our liver cells do when we eat a caramel, why the horse is an example of evolution at work, and how we’re all made of stardust. It’s Lewis Carroll meets Lewis Thomas – a book that will enrapture, inspire, and enlighten.

Natalie Angier writes about biology for the New York Times, for which she has won a Pulitzer Prize, an American Association for the Advancement of Science journalism award, and other honors. She is the author of The Beauty of the Beastly, Natural Obsessions, and Woman: an Intimate Geography, which was a New York Times bestseller and a National  Book Award finalist and was named a Best  Book of the Year by the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, People, National Public Radio, the Village Voice, and Publishers Weekly, among others. Angier lives with her husband and daughter outside Washington, D.C.