Archive for the 'physics' category

Reading Diary: The jazz of physics: The secret link between music and the structure of the universe by Stephon Alexander

Oct 11 2016 Published by under book review, music, physics, science books

The jazz of physics, the physics of jazz, the chemistry of jazz, the jazz of chemistry, the jazz of computer science, the computer science of jazz, the math of jazz, the jazz of math, the jazz of biology, the biology of jazz, the jazz of engineering, the engineering of jazz.

And why not the jazz of history and the history of jazz? The sociology of jazz and the jazz of sociology? The jazz of political science, the political science of jazz. The jazz of philosophy, the philosophy of jazz, the literature of jazz, the jazz of literature.

And why not the jazz of religion, the religion of jazz, the theology of jazz and the jazz of theology.

All of which would make fantastic books, each and every one of them. Art and science are interrelated, inevitably interrelated really, when you think about. Humans exist in a world that can (contingently) be described by science, humans themselves being subject to that description. Art is something that humans do, so studying how humans do art is part of science. Science is the subject of art, and not just peripherally -- witness the genres of science fiction or lablit for example.

Which brings us to the absolutely wonderful book by Stephon Alexander, The jazz of physics: The secret link betweetn music and the structure of the universe. A rare beast, a scientific and artistic autobiography. A memoir of discovery, both of jazz and theoretical physics.

The most wonderful thing about the book is how perfectly it fits in the "how I learned and grew and experienced the thing I became really good at mostly thanks to mentoring and educational opportunities." Common in both science and art, with recent examples being Bruce Springsteen and Hope Jahren. I've read the Jahren and it's also beyond wonderful (review coming, I promise) while the Springsteen is so new I haven't had a chance yet. It's an Xmas holiday read it there ever was one.

In fact, if I had to pick my two science books of the year, they would be Jahren's Lab Girl and The Jazz of Physics.

So what kind of books are all these? Well, on the science side they are the stories of how someone became interested in their scientific field and the trials and tribulations of studying the subject, becoming situated in the culture of the field and, ultimately finding one's place in that field, usually in academia but also in other walks of life as well. And of course, finding the kind of success in the field that will lead someone to want to write a book about that process. That description certainly fits The jazz of physics. Alexander recounts in fascinating detail how he overcame all the obstacles set before him and overcame his limitations and became a professional physicist.

But the book is also like a good music biography in that we also learn about Alexander's immersion into the jazz field, how he learned to play an instrument, how he learned to improvise, the joys and challenges of the jazz bandstand. But uniquely to this book, Alexander can ultimately show us that these two processes are really the same. Learning to be an artist and learning to be a scientist are really the same thing, with similar obstacles and similar rewards, at least intellectually.

And most importantly, if there's one message that I think Alexander wants us to take from his book and his life experiences, is that the creativity and mind-set that drive scientific and artistic accomplishment are really the same. That the dedication and drive, the improvisational and creative mindset that make a jazz musician successful is ultimately the exact same as will make a physicist successful. Musical or mathematical or physical or rhythmic, it's really the same. Vibration, resonance, symmetry, the biggest and the smallest. It's all there in both domains.

I recommend this book without hesitation to any academic, public or high school library.

Alexander, Stephon. The jazz of physics: The secret link betweetn music and the structure of the universe. New York: Basic Books, 2016. 272pp. ISBN-13: 978-0465034994

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Reading Diary: Serving the Reich: The Struggle for the Soul of Physics under Hitler and Planck: Driven by Vision, Broken by War

Serving the Reich: The Struggle for the Soul of Physics under Hitler by Philip Ball and Planck: Driven by Vision, Broken by War by Brandon R. Brown are two of the best history of science books I've read in a very long time. And even though they're both about World War II, some seventy years in the past, they've both also very topical because they are both very much about the relationship between politics and science. In a sense, what comes first, the political chicken or the scientific egg. Are scientists responsible for how their work is put to use by their political "masters?" Do scientists' responsibilities as citizens outweigh their curiosity and inquisitiveness?

All difficult questions with perhaps no right answer. But both Ball and Brown deal with those issues very directly in their books. Ball looks at how physics and physicists thrived, survived and struggled under Hitler, covering a lot of ground but basically concentrating on the story through the lives of a few key people: Werner Heisenberg, Peter Debye and Max Planck. Heisenberg and Planck are, of course, well known figures but the choice of the Dutch-borh Debye as a focal point of the book was very interesting. In Heisenberg we see the opportunist, someone who perhaps played with fire a little and tried to wiggle a bit at the end of the war. In Planck, we see someone who tried to be apolitical and "do the right thing" in a political world but in his eighties perhaps lacked the energy and perceptiveness to truly see the more just path. But Debye's story is different. Without giving too much away, it's filled with nuance and uncertainty. Who knew what and when? Why did he do that particular thing? What were his true motives? There's lots to explore and his chapters were very interesting and certainly was a very new part of the story for me.

In fact, there was lots here that was new too me, even after having read John Corwell's Hitler's Scientists a few years ago, mostly because of the way Ball really focuses on the story of physics under the Nazis, the men and the institutions and the political wrangling.

But mostly the strength of Ball's book is the way it surfaces questions about the role of science in politics, how society should see science and mostly how scientists could perhaps see their roles in a complex and dangerous world. Is science free from human concerns? When scientists insist they should be free to do pure science and not be concerned with politics or morality, are they just being delusional? What is the nature of collaboration and co-operation with the authorities of your own country in wartime? It allows us to see our own moral challenges and failings through the lens of an admittedly extreme situation. As stereotypical as the charge of "Godwining" is, the extreme lens is useful.

Brown on the other hand, does a kind of deep dive, and takes a look at the struggles Max Planck dealt with while under Nazi rule during the last decade or so of his long and illustrious career. Planck: Driven by Vision, Broken by War does cover all of Planck's life but mostly focuses on his final years, from 1933 when the Hitler came to power until he passed away, a broken old man but still honored and revered, in 1947.

If Ball treated the issues of science and politics from a relatively high level, Brown uses a microscope, looking at the challenges that Planck undertook as the proud standard bearer and leading light of the German physics establishment. Under the Nazis, science was to be put in the service of war; to what extent was someone like Planck able to see the dark, evil side of the Nazi regime and to what extent was his stiff upper lip essentially leading to a go along to get along attitude? So this is a book about weakness -- Planck's inability to come to grips with the deeper reality of Nazi rule is a theme. But it's also about the human side of weakness too, as Planck is presented as a principled, moral man whose weakness was deeply embedded in a culture of obedience to the state and a rigid conception of how scientists should relate to their political "masters."

At the end of the day, these are both terrific books that I would recommend to any library that collects in the history of science and technology or the history of World War II.

Ball, Philip. Serving the Reich: The Struggle for the Soul of Physics under Hitler. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014. 320pp. ISBN-13: 978-0226204574

Brown, Brandon R. Planck: Driven by Vision, Broken by War. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. 272pp. ISBN-13: 978-0190219475

(Review copy of Planck book provided by the publisher.)

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Reading Diary: Are We All Scientific Experts Now by Harry Collins and To Explain the World by Steven Weinberg

Science! What's it good for? Working towards better knowledge about the natural world!

Under review today are two books that approach what science is and what it's good for from very different angles. Steven Weinberg is a Nobel laureate in physics and in his book To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science he uses the example of the development of physics and astronomy in modern times to show how the scientific method has been developed and evolved over time. Harry Collins is a sociologist who was instrumental in developing the fields of science studies and the sociology of science. In his book Are We All Scientific Experts Now?, Collins takes what the scientific method has given us and explores how society should take advantage of the resulting knowledge and expertise.

In a sense, we have two sides of the coin here, a way to approach the contingent, temporary, evolving "truths" of science. How did we come to know what those truths are and how should the citizens of modern society view those truths. Both Weinberg's and Collins' approaches are valuable and interesting, however one of them is more successful in terms of what we actually have before us as finished books.

The Harry Collins book is the more successful of the two and is actually one of the best examples of "practical philosophy of science for regular people" I have encountered. Collins' career project is understanding expertise, particularly scientific expertise, and this book is a kind of career capstone for him. He looks at different kinds of expertise in the book. In particular he evaluates scientific expertise how those regular people should evaluate the experts and make use of the expertise.

He comes to the conclusion that scientific expertise that is based on evidence and established community practices within science should generally be trusted by the general public. The question in the title of his book, "Are we all scientific experts now?" That he basically answers with a resounding No. While skepticism is important to science and citizens should be skeptical, when we look at so many of the major issues of the day where there is widespread disagreement between citizen skeptics and the consensus of the scientific community -- vaccines and climate change being the two biggest examples -- it's not contest. Evidence and expertise are fundamentally important.

Collins' book is an incredibly important contribution to the discussion on the place of science in society and the formulation of public policy based on science. I can't imagine a library at any level that wouldn't benefit from this book. It is a quick read and very accessible and is suitable for even high school or middle school libraries.

The Weinberg book by contrast isn't as successful as I would have hoped. The goal of the book is to demonstrate the development of the scientific method through the historical development of the major scientific ideas in astronomy and physics. This is actually a very interesting goal. The scientific method is often presented as a kind of fait accompli is explanations of how it works, as if scientists always used it and always understood its power.

Of course, that's no where near the case. And Weinberg does a pretty good job of using the history of scientific ideas to tease out the history of the scientific method. But a potential pitfall is all too obvious here -- finding the right balance between explaining the content and details of those scientific theories and ideas versus pulling together the progression of the philosophical ideas embedded in the discovery of those ideas. Too much either way and the risk is diluting the complementary goal. Too much philosophy and too little science will have no grounding. Too much science and too little philosophy will produce a book too similar to shelves and shelves of other history of science books.

Unfortunately Weinberg puts too much emphasis on the science.

This is a book that could easily have been fifty pages shorter and still made the same points. I often found my attention wandering wadding through the "facts" and looking forward to the context. Weinberg often got bogged down in the "What" rather than the "why" or "how." Overall a pretty good book, I would recommend it for academic libraries that have popular science collections. Large public library systems would probably also find an audience for this book.

Collins, Harry. Are We All Scientific Experts Now? Cambridge: Polity, 2014. 140pp. ISBN-13: 978-0745682044

Weinberg, Steven. To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science. New York: Harper, 2015. 432pp. ISBN-13: 978-0062346650

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Reading Diary: Wizards, Aliens, and Starships: Physics and Math in Fantasy and Science Fiction by Charles L. Adler

Aug 08 2014 Published by under book review, physics, science books, Uncategorized

Only rarely in my life as a reviewer do I get books that seem to be absolutely perfectly suited for me. This is certainly the case with Charles L. Adler's Wizards, Aliens, and Starships: Physics and Math in Fantasy and Science Fiction, a book that combines my love for science and my love for science fiction.

The premise is an ingenious one, one that's probably not anywhere near exploited enough in the popular science literature: use science fiction and fantasy stories as a way of elucidating science. Sure, it's been done to death in all those "The Science of X" books where X is some movie or TV franchise, but much more rarely though non-series science fiction and fantasy, and in particular using the literary forms of those genres as opposed to the visual.

So when my contact at Princeton University Press (Hi Jessica!) offered me this book, I jumped at the chance.

The real challenge of combining science and science fiction is to do it well. And overall, with a few caveats, I have to say that Adler does a very good job of using sf & f stories to explain scientific concepts to the lay audience. The two caveats revolve around what stories he uses and the detail in which he explores the science. But those are relatively minor and we'll come back to them in a moment.

But first, the many strengths of this book. In general, I really appreciate how Adler mixes up sf and fantasy and uses specific stories as a jumping off point for detailed explanations of physical phenomena. He does it in a way that would surely be very helpful for physics instructors looking for examples for their classrooms. The way he often integrates "back of the envelope" style calculations brings a lot of vitality to the examples. There are great explanations of conservation of mass works, as well as good stuff explaining equations, orders of magnitude, time dilation and many other aspects of physics.

The focus, of course, is on what we can learn of real physics from the realish physics in fiction. So there are chapters looking at aspects of space travel such as space vacations, colonies, space elevators, the practicality of interstellar travel, advance propulsion systems. The potential existence of extraterrestrials is also explored as is world-building and communication with aliens. Some of the most interesting chapters are at the end where Adler talks about the prospects for the survival of human civilization.

Overall, very good stuff. Interesting and engaging.

But the flaws. There are really two flaws here. The first is diversity of science fictional sources. The vast majority of science fiction texts that Adler chose were a bit on the old side. The book really would have benefited from more examples from the last 20ish years. Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars Trilogy was one series I thought was missing. In general, non-old-white-males authors were sorely lacking. Both those problems could easily have been solved with a little more attention to the science fiction scene of the last few decades. There are numerous best-of-year and thematic anthologies by the likes of David G. Hartwell and others that would have served well.

The other flaw is Adler's tendency to dive into perhaps overly detailed and overly technical physics a little too quickly in some areas. The book is a best fit for someone who already has a decent amount of math and physics but with a little more care the potential audience could have been greatly expanded.

As I say, I did quite like this book and would recommend it for any academic library that collects popular science or science fiction. Large public libraries would also find this book to be useful as would many high school libraries. It would also make a great gift to any young person (or not so young!) who loves science fiction and has a bit of scientific background.

Adler, Charles L. Wizards, Aliens, and Starships: Physics and Math in Fantasy and Science Fiction. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014. 377pp. ISBN-13: 978-0691147154

(Review copy provided by publisher.)

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Cyber Monday is Einstein Monday!

Dec 02 2013 Published by under physics, science books

While browsing through my various social media feeds this morning I noticed that Amazon is having crazy Cyber Monday Kindle sales. Not much science or technology is on offer -- it's mostly popular fiction -- but there is a very nice selection of Einstein books that you can purchase.

They are all $2.82 TODAY!

There are a few Rachel Carson and James Gleick books that people might find interesting, also at $2.82.

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Cool linky stuff for science undergrads (9)

Oct 02 2013 Published by under around the web, physics, ugrad links

I have a son who's starting his second year as a physics undergrad. As you can imagine, I occasionally pass along a link or two to him pointing to stuff on the web I think he might find particularly interesting or useful. Thinking on that fact, I surmised that perhaps other science students might find those links interesting or useful as well. Hence, this series of posts here on the blog.

By necessity and circumstance, the items I've chosen will be influenced by my son's choice of major and my own interest in the usefulness of computational approaches to science and of social media for outreach and professional development.

The previous posts in this series are here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.

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Books I'd like to read: Food, physics and horror

hardly ever does The Globe and Mail books section every Saturday feature more than one, maybe two, books that I'm interested in. They're pretty heavy on the Canlit side, with a heavy helping of the kind of public affairs books that don't really do it for me. The mystery roundup feature is usually my best bet. Well this week there were three -- count'em three -- books that really piqued my interest. And a pretty diverse bunch too, one physics, one horror fiction and another environmental non-fiction featuring the kind of intersection between food, science and policy that I find so interesting.

Here goes!

Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe by Lee Smolin (reviewed by Dan Falk) (Amazon)

Considering the esoteric nature of some of the material being presented, Time Reborn is relatively jargon- and equation-free. There are some challenging concepts, but nothing to deter the lay reader. (Smolin has said that he’s also working on a more technical book on the same subject, to be co-written with philosopher Roberto Mangabeira Unger.)

I hope this is the start of an exciting new chapter in theoretical physics. But I fear that Einstein was right, and that the ultimate explanation for time’s apparent flow might come from the realm of psychology or neuroscience rather than physics. Science, after all, has a track record of overturning our “common sense” beliefs about the world. Again and again, things that were “obvious” – that the sun revolves around the earth; that humans are fundamentally different from other animals – have been shown to be artifacts of an anthropocentric worldview. Maybe the “obvious” passage of time is another of these illusions.

NOS4A2: A Novel by Joe Hill (Reviewed by Ilana Teitelbaum) (Amazon)

Hill is the son of Stephen King and, with this new novel, he emerges as a literary inheritor of his father. (Hill’s brother, Owen King, also recently released a new novel, Double Feature.) NOS4A2 contains familiar elements for Stephen King fans, such as the twisting of something beloved (in this case, Christmas) into something pathologically scary, and a maliciously sentient car. But despite its roots in traditional horror, this is a book about the dangers of idealizing innocence and traditional values, a message with clear political implications.

One of the standout qualities of Hill’s work is his ear for the rhythms of language, the creative metaphors that surprise and satisfy. His sentences crackle with wit and understated craftsmanship – the kind so skillful it is only visible if you’re paying attention. It is through language that Hill weaves the subtly disturbing atmosphere that permeates NOS4A2 even in its least threatening moments, such as in a description of a diner: “[She] didn’t like looking at the flypaper, at the insects that had been caught in it, to struggle and die while people shoved hamburgers into their mouths directly below.” Not long before, Hill describes the laughter of a group of girls as being “like hearing glass shatter.”

Consumed: Food for an Finite Planet by Sarah Elton (Reviewed by John Varty) (Amazon)

But I don’t think Elton’s all about casting off the “other side” with tidy dualisms. Indeed, she anticipates, even concedes, some of her critics’ main arguments. She’s aware that “conventional” agriculture tends to out-yield organic; she’s heard about studies challenging the energy efficiency of local food.

Trouble is, so many studies supporting industrial agriculture simply don’t provide a full-cost accounting. Yield, for instance, is clearly important; but preponderant evidence suggests that the total energy inputs of modern agriculture are not returned to us in calories. Not even close.

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Getting Your Science Online: Presentation at Brock University Physics Department

It seems that Brock University in St. Catherine's, Ontario really likes me. Two years ago, the Library kindly invited me to speak during their Open Access Week festivities. And this year the Physics Department has also very kindly invited me to be part of their Seminar Series, also to talk about Getting Your Science Online, this time during OA Week mostly by happy coincidence.

It's tomorrow, Tuesday October 23, 2012 in room H313 at 12:30.

Here's the abstract I've provided:

Physicist and Reinventing Discovery author Michael Nielsen has said that due to the World Wide Web, “[t]he process of scientific discovery – how we do science – will change more over the next 20 years than in the past 300 years.” Given the cornucopian nature of the Web, there’s a tool or strategy that will help most everyone with concrete goals in their research program. In this session we’ll take a look at some of the incredible opportunities the Web has opened up for scientists, from Open Access publishing, Open Notebooks and Open Data on the one hand, to blogs, Twitter and Google+ on the other.

It looks to be great fun! I'd like to thank Thad Haroun and the Brock Physics Department for kindly inviting me. I'll post the slides on the blog later this week.

The rest of this post is what I guess would count as "supplemental materials" for the presentation. The first chunk is a bunch of links on the main topics of the presentation, all the various "Open Whatever" topics. The rest is a long list of readings on blogs, Twitter and general social media for academics that I've assembled over the years and at least somewhat digested into the presentation, mostly based on a post from last year but will some extra and more recent items added.
Open Access

Open Access Mandates & policies

Open Access Repositories


Open Data

Open Notebook Science

Blogging networks


Blog Aggregators

Some physics & math blogs

And here are the blogs/twitter/social media resources I promised.

Feel free to add any suggestions in the comments.

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Best Science Books 2011: Discovery News

Jan 17 2012 Published by under best science books 2011, physics, science books

Another list for your reading, gift-giving and collection development pleasure.

Every year for the last bunch of years I've been linking to and posting about all the "year's best sciencey books" lists that appear in various media outlets and shining a bit of light on the best of the year.

All the previous 2011 lists are here.

This post includes the following: Discovery News: A Little Light Reading: 2011 in Physics Books.

  • The Infinity Puzzle: Quantum Field Theory and the Hunt for an Orderly Universe by Frank Close
  • The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World by Edward Dolnick
  • About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang by Adam Frank
  • The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene
  • Quantum Man: Richard Feynman's Life in Science by Lawrence M. Krauss
  • The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality by Richard Panek
  • Knocking on Heaven's Door: How Physics and Scientific Thinking Illuminate the Universe and the Modern World by Lisa Randall
  • Physics on the Fringe: Smoke Rings, Circlons, and Alternative Theories of Everything by Margaret Wertheim

I'm always looking for recommendations and notifications of book lists as they appear in various media outlets. If you see one that I haven't covered, please let me know at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or in the comments.

I am picking up a lot of lists from Largehearted Boy.

The summary post for 2010 books is here and all the posts for 2010 can be found here. For 2009, it's here and here.

For my purposes, I define science books pretty broadly to include science, engineering, computing, history & philosophy of science & technology, environment, social aspects of science and even business books about technology trends or technology innovation. Deciding what is and isn't a science book is squishy at best, especially at the margins, but in the end I pick books that seem broadly about science and technology rather than something else completely. Lists of business, history or nature books are among the tricky ones.

And if you wish to support my humble list-making efforts, run on over to Amazon, take a look at Steve Jobs and consider picking that one up or something else from the lists.

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Reading Diary: Feynman by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick

Nov 21 2011 Published by under book review, culture of science, physics, science books

I like to think I'm developing a little niche here on Confessions of a Science Librarian, at least as far as some of my book reviews. And I like to think that niche is reviewing science-oriented graphic novels. And I've reviewed a few over the past couple of years. Logicomix (review), Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth (review) and The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA (review).

And now the amazing new graphic novel Feynman, written by Jim Ottaviani and art by Leland Myrick. (Colours by Hilary Sycamore).

Now when I first heard about this new biography of Richard Feynman in the media, I was quite interested in it. However, some of the early reviews I saw complained about it being a little too dry, a bit boring even, maybe with a bit too much science content. So I hesitated. Then an opportunity presented itself to get a copy for review from the publisher and I seized it. What the heck, how bad could it be?

Not bad at all, really, in fact it is quite terrific. The early reviewers were actually pretty off base with this one.

Now I was pretty familiar already with the details of Feynman's life, having read James Gleick's bio and a collection of Feynman's short essays. Raised in New York, worked on the Manhattan project during WWII, his time at Princeton and then Caltech, the Challenger inquiry, the Nobel Prize. Not to mention the personal quirks and oddities.

So perhaps the more you know about Feynman's life the better you'll like this particular biography. It does cover the basic biographical details quite well, if a bit superficially.

But what I really liked about this graphic novel isn't its attention to biographical minutiae, it's the way it captures Feynman's personality very well by using Feynman's own voice, his own words to tell the story. It's in those words that we find his vitality, his verve, his humour, his irreverence. And his seriousness about science and his insane and quite remarkable creativity. And there's a good bibliography at the end, to boot. The librarian in me always loves one of those.

And speaking of science and personality, there are a couple of quotes that really showcase Feynman's personality and his approach to science.

On page 202 he says to a lecture audience,

The thing that's exciting about this is that nature is strange...

I'm not going to simplify it. I'm going to tell you what it really is like and I hope you accept nature as she is -- absurd.

You don't like it? Go find another universe!

And on page 127-128, to Freeman Dyson,

The power of mathematics is terrifying and too many physicists give up trying to understand their equations. Well, I want to understand them. We claim they're simple, but you can't explain the fundamental laws of nature to a high school student. In what sense are they simple -- because we can write them in one line of math? But Ph.D. or no Ph.D., it took you and me a lotta years of college to understand the symbols.

So, are there any simple ideas?

...And I say nature does whatever it likes.

Like I said, great book. Feynman's life is a great story and it's told here with great wit and personality. I recommend this book without hesitation to every reader interested in science or the history of science. It would make a great gift.

As for libraries, it would fit great in any middle school or high school library as well as any public library of any size. Academic libraries that collect graphic novels should acquire it and probably any that tries to collect in the history of science or physics, although perhaps the book isn't academic or analytical enough for those types of collections.

So, publishers out there, if you have a sciencey graphic novel you're coming out with, drop me a line at jdupuis at yorku dot ca.

And by the way, my son Sam reviewed the book as well here.

Ottaviani, Jim and Leland Meyrick. Feynman. New York: First Second, 2011. 272pp. ISBN-13: 978-1596432598

(Copy supplied by publisher)

(And one more thing, something that drives me crazy in advertising, movies, comics and tv shows. You know how they always use chess-playing characters as a sign of intelligence and then have the chessboard they're playing set up wrong? You know, white square on the right and all that. Yeah, on page 7 the artist has the chessboard set up wrong, with the black square on the right of the players. Sigh. Really, I think Feynman knew how to set up a chessboard.)

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