The book of science contains poetry and commentary
reflecting on milestones of the history of science. This book deals with
philosophy of science,
The logo is an abstract representation of a benzine ring using John Dalton’s symbols
for hydrogen (circles with dots) and carbon (circles with gray centers).
Generally, each posting presents three poems on a scientific milestone,
considered broadly. The first narrowly describes the milestone in the history of science,
the second broadens the scope in some way, such as biographically or culturally,
and the third usually develops a connection with my own life
or considers the idea in a metaphorical and unscientific perspective.
To identify many scientific milestones, I have used
The Science Book, ed. Peter Tallack,
100 scientific discoveries that changed the world from National Geographic Society,
and Science News, “90th Anniversary Issue,” 24 March 2012.
The main arrangement of milestones is chronological; however, I have not tried
to establish the day or month of any milestone, so I have typically put milestones
for the same year in the order that I wrote them.
This is a big book, too long for a book of poetry.
So far, I have written 1830 poems covering 578 scientific milestones,
referencing the work of 934 scientists. (I haven’t published all these, yet.)
Therefore, one might ask, “Why have I done it?”
“Why didn’t I stop sooner?”
When I started writing this book, my education in science was more limited than my interests in the area.
That is still true today; I have so much more to learn. Also,
I had often found that having a use for my reading
resulted in better learning, so my writing about milestones of science resulted in
As for several of my books of poetry, I chose a scheme
to provide subjects and ideas.
For my One Hundred and One Famous Poems,
there were only 111 poems in Cook’s anthology,
upon which each of my poems are based.
For my The Great Ideas,
Mortimer J. Adler described 102 great ideas.
For this book, I chose a scheme that also had a limited number of subjects,
because I originally thought that I would write about only subjects
that were included in The
Science Book, edited by Peter Tallack;
however, it was too tempting to add other milestones of science,
and these did not offer a safe limit.
At one phase of the process I resolved to write only about milestones
no later than the year I was born; however, there were too many milestones after 1952
that interested me. Now I have begun to feel there are many years left to this work.
The nature of this book is not accidental. The embodiment
of principles has sustained my efforts.
Elements of science
expands The book of science with a page for each chemical element.
Generally, I followed the same strategy of writing three poems on each element,
plus a commentary and related readings.
Elements of elements of science
is a subset of Elements of science,
containing only the last one or two of each set of poems on an element.
The booklet of science
is a subset of the full book of science, minus the pages on the elements,
containing only the last one or two of each set of poems on a milestone.
This book is not printed, but it is, nevertheless, a book.
The basic arrangement for this book is chronological;
therefore, each milestone, except for the first and the last,
has links in the menu bar to jump to the previous and next milestone.
Each milestone for a chemical element
also has links for the previous and next element by atomic number.
For a computer, with a keyboard and mouse,
you can click on these links using your mouse,
or you may use the following shortcut keys using the up and down arrow keys:
In addition to the links in the menu bar at the foot of page headers,
I have made liberal use of somewhat unobtrusive links,
which you can touch or click to jump to related parts of the book.
I say these are somewhat unobtrusive because they appear as normal text;
they are not presented in another color, and they are not underlined
unless you position your mouse pointer over them.
These links appear in menu bars, not necessarily in this order:
This book has multiple indexes and tables of contents:
For viewing on a computer with a keyboard and mouse,
move your mouse over each link in the sample table and index entries below to see what it links to.
For a mobile device, touch a link once to see what it links to,
and touch it again to follow the link.
Links in a row of a table of milestones help you jump to the page about the milestone,
to the individual poems and the commentary, to the index by atomic number (for a chemical element),
and to the index of scientists:
Links in a row of the index of scientists help you jump to the wikipedia article on the scientist,
to the row or rows in the table of milestones to which the scientist contributed,
to the milestone page or pages about the work of the scientist, and, for a chemical element,
to the element in the index of elements by atomic number.
Links in the index of sciences go to the wikipedia article on the science,
to parent or child branches of the science,
to the row or rows in the table of milestones,
and to the page or pages of poems and commentary.
Links in the index of eponymous science go to the milestone in the chronological table of milestones.
For each milestone page, in addition to the links in the menu bar at the foot of page headers,
which help you go to other pages,
there are links at the top to each poem and the commentary,
to this element in the index of elements by atomic number (for a chemical element),
and to the scientist in the index of scientists.
At the bottom of each milestone page, a commentary section has visible links to related milestones
in The book of science, to related articles in wikipedia,
and sometimes to other readings.
I will be adding a new set of poetry and commentary weekly.
To subscribe to
updates, click this link or paste it into your RSS reader:
if you discover an error, have a question, wish to make a
suggestion, or would be pleased to encourage this effort.
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Photo by Terry M. Sharp
Tom Sharp, Ph.D., holds twenty
patents, is retired from IBM, is a member of Seldovia Village Tribe, and is the
author of numerous