Popular Science

14th November 2003 at 00:00
How to Clone the Perfect Blonde: making fantasies come true with cutting-edge science
By Sue Nelson and Richard Hollingham
Ebury Press pound;12.99

How to Dunk a Doughnut: the science of everyday life
By Len Fisher
Phoenix pound;6.99

Both these books come with a stamp of quality assurance. The authors of How to Clone the Perfect Blonde are science presenters for BBC Radio and BBC News 24.

Len Fisher on the other hand, is a practising scientist - an honorary research fellow at Bristol University. He is a physicist with interests in biomedical research and in the science of gastronomy. Unusually for a scientist, he writes interestingly as well as authoritatively.

These books represent contrasting answers to the perennial question: how can science be made interesting to the non-scientist? Journalists, following their training and instincts, rush to the frontiers of science to report news of the latest discoveries. The premise of How to Clone the Perfect Blonde was to use eight "everyday" fantasies as the basis for explaining virtually all the big ideas in contemporary science, from cloning and genetics to black holes, time travel, teleportation, and the meaning of consciousness.

For anyone who would like to keep up with the pace of scientific advance but who cannot quite manage to get through their New Scientist every week, this is a godsend: a quick and cheerful overview of the most significant recent discoveries and developments.nbsp;nbsp;nbsp;

Read more in this week's TES Friday magazine

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