Steve Jones

The Single Helix

The Single Helix is a compilation of Jones' weekly 'View from the lab' articles in the Daily Telegraph, which provide an amusing look at aspects of scientific life. There is plenty relating to biology in general and genetics in particular, such as the strange names given to new genes and indeed to new species of animals. However there are also essays on many other subjects such as the representation of shadows in art, and the best system for voting.

Now one is naturally tempted to measure this work against the essays of the other Steve J - Gould that is, (who, it has to be said, had a whole month to write each of his articles) and I would say that they don't really compare - but maybe they're not meant to.

Firstly the essays are short. Now 1000 word articles are OK in their place, but one of the advantages of a book is that arguments can be developed more fully. Secondly Jones is writing about a variety of subjects, which means that he won't have done much research for each article. Thus one is never quite sure about the accuracy of what is written and there are no references to follow up on things that take your interest. So I would say that this book is OK for a bit of light reading, but not if you want something which will really capture your interest.

Amazon.com info
Hardcover 336 pages  
ISBN: 0316731935
Salesrank: 11410259
Weight:0.93 lbs
Published: 2005 Little, Brown Book Group
Marketplace:New from $70.55:Used from $2.62
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Amazon.co.uk info
Hardcover 336 pages  
ISBN: 0316731935
Salesrank: 977765
Weight:0.93 lbs
Published: 2005 Little, Brown
Marketplace:New from £25.00:Used from £0.01
Buy from Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.ca info
Hardcover 288 pages  
ISBN: 0316731935
Salesrank: 4120283
Weight:0.93 lbs
Published: 2005 Little, Brown UK
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 130.69:Used from CDN$ 1.32
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Product Description
Steve Jones’ barnstorming survey is science writing at its best, veering nimbly from the chemistry of gold to the failures of funding, the chaos in the heavens to the fight against creationism, the optical illusions of tartan plaid to the mathematics of elections. Witty and packed with human interest, it also features interviews with playwrights, poets, and film directors, along with plenty on the Double Helix and the author’s own specialty, the Snail Helix. In a hundred succinct pieces, he reveals the extraordinary breadth and the profound shallowness of scientific knowledge. Educational and entertaining, this is a brilliant meditation on modern science.