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Elegance in Science: The Beauty of Simplicity

Ian Glynn
Publisher: 
Oxford University Press
Publication Date: 
2010
Number of Pages: 
271
Format: 
Hardcover
Price: 
29.95
ISBN: 
9780199578627
Category: 
General
[Reviewed by
Dennis Lomas
, on
09/25/2010
]

Glynn presents a range of elegant scientific theories and experiments. He remarks on, for example, “[t]he simple elegance and staggering wide-ranging explanatory power of Newton’s law of universal gravitation and his three laws of motion.” (p. 59) (See the table of contents for scientific fields from which Glynn draws his examples.)

Elegant solutions can be mistaken, a problem acknowledged and briefly discussed at the end of the book in an epilogue. Further development along this line would have been welcome.

The book is quite readable and would appeal to a broad audience.


Dennis Lomas has studied computer science, mathematics, and philosophy.

1. The meaning of elegance
2. Celestial mechanics
3. Bringing the heavens down to Earth
4. So what is heat?
5. Elegance and electricity
6. Throwing light on light
7. How do nerves work?
8. Information handling in the brain
9. The genetic code: a hundred years of decoding
10. Epilogue: a cautionary tale

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