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Science of Discworld por Terry Pratchett
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Science of Discworld (original 1999; edição 2002)

por Terry Pratchett (Autor)

Séries: The Science of Discworld (book 1), Discworld (Science I)

MembrosCríticasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
2,694265,375 (3.86)82
Fantasy. Fiction. Science Fiction. Historical Fiction. HTML:

Not just another science book and not just another Discworld novella, The Science of Discworld is a creative, mind-bending mash-up of fiction and fact, that offers a wizard??s-eye view of our world that will forever change how you look at the universe.

Can Unseen University??s eccentric wizards and orangutan Librarian possibly shed any useful light on hard, rational Earthly science? 
 
In the course of an exciting experiment, the wizards of Discworld have accidentally created a new universe. Within this universe is a planet that they name Roundworld. Roundworld is, of course, Earth, and the universe is our own. As the wizards watch their creation grow, Terry Pratchett and acclaimed science writers Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen use Discworld to examine science from the outside. Interwoven with the Pratchett??s original story are entertaining, enlightening chapters which explain key scientific principles such as the Big Bang theory and the evolution of life on earth, as well as great moments in the history of science.
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Membro:paxber
Título:Science of Discworld
Autores:Terry Pratchett (Autor)
Informação:EBURY PRESS (RAND) (2002), Edition: Fully revised and updated with two new chapters, 400 pages
Coleções:A sua biblioteca
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The Science of Discworld por Terry Pratchett (1999)

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Inglês (25)  Polaco (1)  Todas as línguas (26)
Mostrando 1-5 de 26 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
An interesting idea and, after I got used to the odd flow of the Narrativium, it was one that worked well. Thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to the sequels. ( )
  CraigGoodwin | Jan 27, 2024 |
This book. I'm shaking my head over this book.

It boils down to three things:

The Discworld portion of the book, involving the Unseen University, is excellent; 4 stars. Pratchett's writing is always good, even when it's average for him, and the UU storyline doesn't disappoint. I loved the verbal interplay between the Archchancellor and the Dean. The librarian and Rincewind also kept me going when I was at risk of wandering away during the science-y chapters.

The Science part of the book was also, if distilled down to its essence, good. Solid. Accurate, if dated (even the revised edition is over 10 years old now). The explanation of some difficult concepts sometimes even reaches inspired in its clarity.

The rest of the science writing is... well. Hmph. The authors of the science sections decided to weave commentary throughout their chapters; I don't know if they were going for a whole Statler and Waldorf vibe, or really are the supremely condescending and arrogant gits they sound like, but either way - I didn't like them. At all. Which really in the grand scheme of things matters not a wit, except that I'll avoid anything else either of these two puts their name on, and that amounts to a raindrop in an ocean.

They started off with this whole ridiculous premise they call lies-to-children, which, if you've read any of my status updates so far, you'll be fed up to your eyeballs hearing about, so suffice it to say they don't understand the meaning of the word lie and leave it at that. Even though they don't, and proceed to condescend to the reader throughout the book, telling them they've been believing these lies-to-children all along; everything the reader thinks they know is wrong and then proceeds to explain the concepts using simplified terms in easy to understand ways. You know, lies-to-children.

The thing is, most of the time I did understand the concept just fine before they started in, and wasn't at all wrong about what I, in fact, knew thankyouverymuch. And maybe I'm not the target audience for this book; that's fair. But the hypocrisy of condescending to the reader out of one side of their mouths by telling them what they believe to know is wrong, while simultaneously condescending to them out of the other side of their mouths by re-explaining the concept in terms just as simplified is simply too rich.

I was worried about giving concrete examples of this hypocrisy because I'm crap at taking notes (as in: I don't.) while I read and figured I'd never find those examples again. But it just now occurred to me to check the index, and, sure enough, there's an index entry for lies-to-children. Excellent!

In chapter 26, Stewart and Cohan take exception to the term genetic code, conflating the term with genetic blueprint. To be fair, most people do and they're right, DNA is not a genetic blueprint. But it is genetic coding - something they later refer to and claim as being the only part of the DNA we do, at this time, understand. So... thanks for clearing that up.

In chapter 36 - on dinosaurs - they mention a bunch of fiction including the cartoon Fantasia, quote a psychologist named Helen Haste who claims that we all think of dinosaurs as icons of sex and power (you might, I sure as hell don't; they're just really cool, freaky-looking reptiles), and infer that these are the basis of our knowledge concerning dinosaurs. Really? Is this true? All I remember from Fantasia is Mickey doing his Sorcerer's Apprentice bit, and maybe something about hippos in tutus? And I've never read Wells or The Lost World, so I'm pretty sure the bulk of my knowledge about dinosaurs came from Discover Magazine as a kid and later, NewScientist.

There are other examples, I'm sure, and don't even get me started on the whole idea that they know what happens when life on earth ends. They are wrong by sheer dint that nobody knows what happens. You can feel certain within yourself that you know what will happen to you, but that is not empirical certainty and to believe otherwise is a...lie-to-children!

So - did not like the commentary. 2 stars for that. 3 star average. Won't be reading anymore of their stuff, although I'm with Pratchett until the wheels fall off.


Book themes for Newtonmas: Any science book. ( )
  murderbydeath | Jan 28, 2022 |
The title is misleading: I expected speculation about how the laws of physics would have to be adjusted to make Discworld plausible. But what this is is a highly opinionated survey of a number of fields of Thisworld science. A lot of which is interesting, but even I know that some of it is outdated: The book discusses speculation that the predictions of general relativity are wrong under certain conditions; but I have a later book that says that all experiments so far have borne out Einstein. And I happen to know an astrophysicist who says this is still true.
  sonofcarc | Sep 2, 2020 |
This is not a book that tells you how Terry Pratchett's Discworld works. This is a book that tells you how Earth as we know it was created with an inserted Discworld narrative.

I found this book to be entertaining and the science bits to be accurate (for what is provided) with pithy observations and witty sentences. However, the science is a rather basic summary in a somewhat erratic order of the creation of the universe and evolution on planet earth. I started to get a bit bored with the science chapters, though this is possibly due to having read too many books about the universe and evolution to get excited about a repeat. The alternate chapters that deal with the Wizards of Unseen University get more amusing as the book progresses, especially after Rincewind, the Luggage and the Librarian (Ook!) make an appearance. There is nothing like a wizardly outside assessment of Roundworld to show us how crazy life on Earth really is.

This was a fun read. I highly recommend this book to fans of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, especially those who aren't too clued up about general science. The alternate science and fantasy chapters of this book might even appeal to younger school children and encouraging an interest in reading and science.
( )
1 vote ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
An interesting project from our late, lamented friend Terry Pratchett and a few scientists to combine a Disc World story with the science behind our world. With Rincewind stuck in a world made by the wizards, trying to survive meteors ramming into the earth at a geologically speaking rapid clip, and the wizards trying to get him out, our scientists cover a history of the earth, including the possibility that dinosaurs built a civilisation before being wiped out by yet another meteor.

The ending is food for thought as it turned out the "Science of Discworld" was one of my favorite Terry Pratchett books. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Apr 27, 2019 |
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» Adicionar outros autores (2 possíveis)

Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Terry Pratchettautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Cohen, Jackautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Stewart, Ianautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Brandhorst, AndreasTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Kidby, PaulArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Partridge, NigelDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Simon, ErikTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic'
ARTHUR C. CLARKE
'Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced'
GREGORY BENFORD
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Once upon a time, there was Discworld. There is still an adequate supply.
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Science certainly does not claim to get things right, but it has a good record of ruling out ways to get things wrong.
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Fantasy. Fiction. Science Fiction. Historical Fiction. HTML:

Not just another science book and not just another Discworld novella, The Science of Discworld is a creative, mind-bending mash-up of fiction and fact, that offers a wizard??s-eye view of our world that will forever change how you look at the universe.

Can Unseen University??s eccentric wizards and orangutan Librarian possibly shed any useful light on hard, rational Earthly science? 
 
In the course of an exciting experiment, the wizards of Discworld have accidentally created a new universe. Within this universe is a planet that they name Roundworld. Roundworld is, of course, Earth, and the universe is our own. As the wizards watch their creation grow, Terry Pratchett and acclaimed science writers Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen use Discworld to examine science from the outside. Interwoven with the Pratchett??s original story are entertaining, enlightening chapters which explain key scientific principles such as the Big Bang theory and the evolution of life on earth, as well as great moments in the history of science.
 

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