Thursday, 28 June 2007

The Single Helix - Steve Jones

If you only ever read one pop science book, make it this one. I've been a fan of Professor Jones' since my UCL days (I fell asleep less frequently in his lectures than anyone else's. This was my first year, you see, and there was an awful lot of 'socialising' to be done). When I picked this book up I knew it was different from his other works, as it includes segments from his highly varied column published in the Telegraph.

His writing is utterly inspired, such as explaining how elements transition from one physical state to another using the Florida Electoral College from the 2001 US election as an example - pure genius. I also learned that slugs in Northern Europe are genetically identical, due to reproducing without the sex in which their southern cousins indulge to make baby slugs. Many other gems can be found within it, some of which are suitable for dinner conversation, although there are quite a few about snails. There are also some particularly good arguments to be tested on any creationists you may come across, with irrefutable examples of evolution to bolster the cause of science.

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