Category Archives: Reviews

Science and the Founding Fathers

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Another post from the History Book Club. It seemed particularly appropriate for today (January 20th, Inauguration Day).

Science and the Founding Fathers: Science in the Political Thought of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and James Madison,
by I. Bernard Cohen, W.W. Norton & Company, 1995.

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Cornflakes and Bonti Knives

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Wikimedia Commons

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The Peloponnesian War

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Another post from the History Book Club.  Continue reading

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Socrates, Bad Guy

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The Death of Socrates, Jacques Louis David.
(From Wikimedia Commons)

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Gracefully Insane

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The Second French Revolution

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Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People

Another post from the History Book Club. Continue reading

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The Decision to Drop the Bomb

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Another post from the History Book Club.

(Why ‘atomic bomb’ rather than ‘nuclear bomb’? See this post.)

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The Making of the Atomic Bomb

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For a few years, I belonged to a history book club. Unlike many book clubs, we didn’t all read the same book. Instead, we’d pick a topic for the next meeting, at which the participants would each give short presentations on books of their choosing.

Recently I ran across my write-ups. As the internet has yet to run out of space, I thought I’d post them. I begin with two on the atomic bomb.

(Why ‘atomic bomb’, rather than ‘nuclear bomb’? See this post.)

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Epstein Relativity Diagrams

[This post is available in pdf format, sized for small and medium screens.]

Lewis Carroll Epstein¬†wrote a book Relativity Visualized. It’s been called “the gold nugget of relativity books”. I wouldn’t go quite that far, but Epstein has devised a completely new way to explain relativity. The key concept: the Epstein diagram. (I should mention that Relativity Visualized is a pop-sci treatment.)

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Review: Smullyan & Fitting, Set Theory and the Continuum Problem

The first sentence of Pollard’s review sums up my feelings perfectly: “This rewarding, exasperating book…” On balance, I found it more exasperating than rewarding. But it does have its charms.

I participated in a meetup group that went through the first two parts of S&F. My fellow participants possessed considerable mathematical knowledge and sophistication, but had only slight prior acquaintance with mathematical logic and none with axiomatic set theory. (The opinions here are strictly my own, but they reflect my experience in the meetup.) If I had just skimmed the book, glancing at familiar material, I would probably have a more positive impression.

I wrote an extensive set of notes for the meetup. This post is basically the last section of those notes.

I will begin with the book’s minuses, so as to end on a positive note.

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