Book Writing

Category archives for Book Writing

Naming Names in QED

I’m doing edits on the QED chapter of the book-in-progress today, and I’m struck again by the apparent randomness of the way credit gets attached to things. QED is a rich source of examples of this, but two in particular stand out, one experimental and the other theoretical. On the experimental side, it’s interesting to…

One of the chapters of the book-in-progress, as mentioned previously, takes the widespread use of statistics in sports as a starting point, noting that a lot of the techniques stat geeks use in sports are similar to those scientists use to share and evaluate data. The claim is that anyone who can have a halfway…

Science Is Not Solitary

There was another round of the “who counts as a scientist?” debate recently, on Twitter and then on the Physics Focus blog. In between those, probably coincidentally (he doesn’t mention anything prompting it), Sean Carroll offered a three-step definition of science: Think of every possible way the world could be. Label each way an “hypothesis.”…

One of the great frustrations of my intellectual life, such as it is, is the problem of the disappearing quote. This is a function of having acquired a broad liberal education (in the sense of “liberal arts college” not the sense of “person to the left of Rush Limbaugh”) in a somewhat haphazard manner. My…

260 Million Scientists a Month

The day I bought my iPad, as I was taking it out of the box, SteelyKid (then 3) came bopping into my office, spotted it, and declared “I want to play Angry Birds!” It’s a remarkable demonstration of the genius of their product: not only have they created a game that a three-year-old can play,…

For the last several months, I’ve been poking along on the book-in-progress in a very constrained manner– basically, I get to work on it in three-hour chunks on Tuesdays when I don’t have class (and this term, Thursdays as well). This is, as you might imagine, incredibly frustrating, though I do get some book-related stuff…

The book-in-progress (which is coming along, albeit slowly, thanks for asking) is built around making analogies between scientific discoveries and ordinary activities. This necessarily means telling a lot of historical stories, which is both good and bad. The bad part is that actual history is way messier than the streamlined version you get to use…

As you may or may not know, I’m currently at work on a book called How to Think Like a Scientist. This raises the fairly obvious question in the post title, namely, why should people think like scientists? What’s the point? In a sense, this is (as Ethan Zuckerman pointed out at lunch the other…

How to Think Like a Scientist

I have made allusions to a work-in-progress at various points recently, but my general policy is not to reveal any details until things become official. Well, as you can see from the above photo of signed contracts, it’s official: I sold the work-in-progress to Basic Books, my publisher for How to Teach Relativity to Your…

I’ve got a bunch of browser tabs open on my various computers that have been there for weeks, one of which is Alastair Reynolds on writing science fiction. This is mostly a response to a not-terribly-interesting complaint that the science fiction genre has been “exhausted,” but there was a bit in there that resonated with…