Read e-book online Boojums All the Way through: Communicating Science in a PDF

By N. David Mermin

ISBN-10: 0511608217

ISBN-13: 9780511608216

ISBN-10: 0521382319

ISBN-13: 9780521382311

ISBN-10: 0521388805

ISBN-13: 9780521388801

Boojums throughout is a suite of essays that offers the difficulty of speaking glossy physics to either physicists and nonphysicists. a few addressed to a basic viewers, a few to scholars and others to scientists, the essays all percentage a preoccupation with either the substance and the fashion of written medical communique, and supply a special view of daily technological know-how or clinical perform with the purpose of elevated readability for the reader. the writer believes the culture of bland and impersonal medical writing during the last fifty years deprives scientists of strong instruments for boosting their readability and potential to speak complicated principles. A good famous theoretical physicist and winner of the 1st Julius Edgar Lilienfeld prize of the yankee actual Society, Mermin writes with wry humor and conveys advanced rules with startling simplicity.

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Example text

I thought (incorrectly, as we shall see) that Leggett's argument against "booja" was unassailable. Wells frowned on "boojum" for the same reasons that I did, and that left us only with "boojums", so "boojums" the plural became. It was pointed out to me more than two years later at Harvard by Wendell Furry (who, curiously enough, was on the committee that raked me over the coals at my PhD qualifying exam) that the question of the plural is definitively resolved by Carroll himself, the very first time the word appears in the poem: "For although common Snarks do no manner of harm, Yet I feel it my duty to say, Some are Boojums - " The Bellman broke off in alarm, For the Baker had fainted away.

Leafing through the section of greatest interest to me, I was mortified to read the expected configuration for a sphere is the "boogum" shown in Fig. 3. The careful reader of my letter to Daunt will notice that I tried to make the best of even a bad business like this, but here was clearly a new kind of trouble. The manuscript was being circulated prior to publication, but would assume an authoritative position when it did appear. It was essential to set the spelling straight. I thought I would simply cite Webster to Brinkman and, 14 Boojums all the way through being in my office rather than at home, went to the nearby Physical Sciences Library to look up the exact citation.

Hidari e magatte kudasa? " It worked perfectly, and I see no flaw in my solution, until the improbable day I find myself giving instructions in Japanese in a country where they drive on the right. Here's a second example of how careful analysis and imaginative experimentation can be put to work in your own lives. Suppose you add up the results of many measurements. Each has a certain error. How big is the error in the total? Well, you might think if you were adding up N items, the error in the total would just be TV times the error in each.

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Boojums All the Way through: Communicating Science in a Prosaic Age by N. David Mermin

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