The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing
My introductory remarks are distributed through the book itself, so I shall here limit myself mostly to acknowledgements. The idea for an anthology of modern science writing was put to me by Latha Menon of Oxford University Press, and it was a pleasure to work with her on it. She and I had previously collaborated on a collection of my own occasional writings, and we slipped effortlessly back into the same synoptic vein as before. We disagreed only over whether or not to include anything from my own books. I won, and we didnâ€™t.
This is a collection of good writing by professional scientists, not excursions into science by professional writers. Another difference from John Careyâ€™s admirable Faber Book of Science is that we go back only one century. Within that century, no attempt was made to arrange the pieces chronologically. Instead, the selections fall roughly into four themes, although some of the entries could have fi tted into more than one of these divisions. My biggest regret concerns the number of excellent scientists that I have had to leave out, for reasons of space. I would apologize to them, did I not suspect that my own pain at their omission is greater than theirs.
The collection is limited to the English language and, with very few exceptions, I have omitted translations from books originally composed in other languages.
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