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Peter Day

The Candle revisited

In 1860 Michael Faraday gaves the Christmas Lectures at the Royal Institution on 'The chemical history of a candle. The Candle revisited is a collection of articles based on recent talks at the Royal Institution starting with one by P.W. Atkins taking another look at the candle. The book is well illustrated and aimed at the non-specialist. If you're the sort of person who likes to read a short scientific article in your lunch hour then then you should take a look at this book.

I felt that Atkins' article on the candle tried to squeeze in too many new ideas without encouraging understanding. The next article on Painting with Atoms by R.H. Williams suffered from the same fault, but the later articles such as Robert Greenler on Sky Arcs and H.J. Evans on genetics were more interesting. Peter Day's article on superconductivity and Murdin's on supernovae would be useful for bringing the reader up to date on these subjects, but of course the subjects have moved on since the book was written in 1994. R.R. Chanelli's on Bioremediation was a bit like a research report but was still reasonably readable. John Bartlett's subject - tunneling under the channel - looked uninspiring, but his article was surprisingly interesting.  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews