New Books Network

Michael D. Gordin, “The Pseudo-Science Wars: Immanuel Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe” (University of Chicago Press, 2012)
“No one in the history of the world has ever self-identified as a pseudoscientist.” From the very first sentence, Michael D. Gordin’s new book introduces readers to the characters, plotlines, and crises that have shaped the narratives of fringe science since the early twentieth century. Focusing on Cold War America... Read More
Katy Price, “Loving Faster Than Light: Romance and Readers in Einstein’s Universe” (University of Chicago Press, 2012)
You were amused to find you too could fear “The eternal silence of the infinite spaces.” The astronomy love poems of William Empson, from which the preceding quote was taken, were just some of the many media through which people explored the ramifications of Einstein’s ideas about the cosmos in... Read More
David Sepkoski, “Rereading the Fossil Record: The Growth of Paleobiology as an Evolutionary Discipline” (University of Chicago, 2012)
In Rereading the Fossil Record: The Growth of Paleobiology as an Evolutionary Discipline (University of Chicago Press, 1012), David Sepkoski tells a story that explains the many ways that paleontologists have interpreted the meaning and importance of fossils in the light of evolutionary theory. Starting with Darwin and his dilemma... Read More
Chris Cooper, “Run, Swim, Throw, Cheat: The Science Behind Drugs in Sport” (Oxford University Press, 2012)
This past August, the saga of Lance Armstrong came to its inglorious end. The seven-time champion of the Tour de France and Olympic medalist ended his defense against charges that he had engaged in blood doping during his cycling career. In the judgment of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the end... Read More
Robert Westman, “The Copernican Question: Prognostication, Skepticism, and Celestial Order” (University of California Press, 2011)
This is an extraordinary book written by one of the finest historians of science. Ringing in at nearly seven hundred oversized, double columned pages Robert Westman‘s The Copernican Question: Prognostication, Skepticism, and the Celestial Order (University of California Press, 2011) exhaustively examines the science of the stars in order to... Read More
Anjan Chakravartty, “A Metaphysics for Scientific Realism: Knowing the Unobservable” (Cambridge UP, 2007)
Near the opening of his book A Metaphysics for Scientific Realism: Knowing the Unobservable (Cambridge University Press, 2007; paperback 2010), Anjan Chakravartty warns readers: snack before reading! Though the occasional exemplary slice of pumpkin pie and chocolate fudge brownies do sweetly sprinkle the narrative, fear not, intrepid reader: most of... Read More
P. Kyle Stanford, “Exceeding Our Grasp: Science, History, and the Problem of Unconceived Alternatives” (Oxford UP, 2006)
Should we really believe what our best scientific theories tell us about the world, especially about parts of the world that we can’t see? This question informs a long history of debates over scientific realism and the extent to which we trust what contemporary and future scientific theories tell us... Read More