benzine ring (c6h6)

About

The book of science

Tom Sharp


The book

The book of science contains poetry and commentary reflecting on milestones of the history of science. This book deals with many sciences—acoustics, aerodynamics, anatomy, astronomy, atmospheric sciences, bacteriology, behavioral science, biology, biostatistics, botany, cartography, cell biology, chemistry, comparative anatomy, computer science, cosmology, cryptography, demography, ecology, electromagnetism, embryology, entomology, epidemiology, ethnography, evolution, food science, game theory, genetics, geodesy, geography, geology, geometry, geophysics, glaciology, gravimetry, horology, ichthyology, immunology, infographics, kinematics, linguistics, logic, manufacturing, mathematics, mechanics, medicine, metabolism, metallurgy, metrology, molecular biology, neuroscience, optics, paleontology, parasitology, pathology, pharmacology, philosophy of science, physics, plate tectonics, pneumatics, political science, protistology, psychology, psychometrics, probability, quantum mechanics, sociology, spectronomy, stratigraphy, stoichiometry, telecommunication, thermodynamics, toxicology, tribology, virology, zoology, and zymology.

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).

The plan

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 Wikipedia.com, 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.

Why did I do it?

This is a big book, too big too long too tedious for a book of poetry. At the time of writing, I have written 1760 poems about 557 scientific milestones, referencing the work of 894 scientists. Therefore, one might ask, “Why did I do it?” Alternatively, “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. Also, I had often found that having a use for my reading resulted in better learning, so writing about milestones of science resulted in better retention.

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 only 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 have 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.

About Elements of science

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.

About Elements of elements of science

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.

About The booklet of science

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.

The book of science - cover

How is this a book?

This book is not printed, but it is, nevertheless, a book.

  • Like any book of poetry, this book has a cover, front matter consisting of a table of contents, a copyright, a graphic design, literary elements and elements that relate to the world we live in, indexes, and an author.
  • It is not printed on a bound set of paper pages.
  • Its pages can be as long as I want them to be.
  • It is interactive. Instead of turning pages, you click on links. You may put your computer mouse over the periodic table to see details on an element, and click on the element to jump to the page about it. You may have the server search for a word or phrase in the book.
  • Instead of page numbers, this book has file names.

How to get around in this 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:

  • Alt+Up (Option+Up on a Macintosh) – go to the previous milestone
  • Alt+Down (Option+Down on a Macintosh) – go to the next milestone
  • Shift+Alt+Up (Shift+Option+Up on a Macintosh) – go to the previous element by atomic number
  • Shift+Alt+Down (Shift+Option+Down on a Macintosh) – go to the next element by atomic number

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.

Links in menu bars

These links appear in menu bars, not necessarily in this order:

  • The book of science, go to the introductory page of the book
  • Contents, go to the main table of milestones, arranged chronologically
  • Scientists, an index of scientists whose work is mentioned
  • Sciences, an index of sciences listing related milestones
  • Eponymous, an index of milestones named after scientists
  • About, go to this page
  • Search, where you can search the book for words or phrases
  • Elements, tables and index of chemical elements
  • Also, in a milestone page :
    • Previous, go to the chronologically previous milestone
    • Next, go to the chronologically previous milestone
    • Atomic number - 1, (for a chemical element) go to the previous element
    • Atomic number + 1, (for a chemical element) go to the next element

Links in indexes

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:

Year Poems and
Commentary
Scientists  
1747Go to the milestone page Benjamin FranklinGo to this scientist in the index of scientists electromagnetismGo to this science in the index of sciences Electric chargeGo to the milestone page
1750Go to the milestone page LondonAntonio de UlloaGo to this scientist in the index of scientists, Charles WoodGo to this scientist in the index of scientists, William BrownriggGo to this scientist in the index of scientists, William Hyde WollastonGo to this scientist in the index of scientists, Smithson TennantGo to this scientist in the index of scientists elementsGo to this element in the index of elements Platinum Pt 78Go to the milestone page

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.

Scientist Year Milestone
Agricola, GeorgiusOpen the wikipedia article about this scientist 1529Go to the entry for this milestone in the chronological table of milestones FluorineGo to the page on this milestone (atomic number 9Go to the element in the index of elements by atomic number)
1548Go to the entry for this milestone in the chronological table of milestones BismuthGo to the page on this milestone (atomic number 83Go 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.

Science Year Milestone Scientist
parasitologyOpen the wikipedia article about the science 1668Go to the entry for this milestone in the chronological table of milestones ParasitesGo to the page on this milestone Francesco RediGo to this scientist in the index of scientists
1897Go to the entry for this milestone in the chronological table of milestones Malarial parasiteGo to the page on this milestone Alphonse LaveranGo to this scientist in the index of scientists, Patrick MansonGo to this scientist in the index of scientists, Ronald RossGo to this scientist in the index of scientists

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.

LondonLocation of the discovery (for a chemical element).
Go to this element in the index of elements by atomic number
Henry CavendishGo to this 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.

Subscribe

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: http://feeds.feedburner.com/Thebookofscience.

Make a suggestion, ask a question, give encouragement

if you discover an error, have a question, wish to make a suggestion, or would be pleased to encourage this effort.

The author

[Tom Sharp at the rim of Haleakala]

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 books.