About this websiteI read a lot of books which fall into the 'Popular Science' category, and this website is written to appeal to other readers of such books. I try to add a page regularly, either an applet concerning some scientific topic, or an article on an subject of interest, or a book review. I hope that you will find plenty to interest you here.
AppletsBooks are all very well, but I feel that interactivity helps enormously when trying to understand science and mathematics - it is useful to have something to play with and try out different concepts. This is the thinking behind the applets on the site - they are written to illustrate scientific and mathematical ideas. Personal computers are so powerful nowadays that things are possible which would have required a powerful workstation several years ago. So whenever I come across an interesting problem I try to think of how it could be illustrated with an applet. Of course they are only short projects, not up to the level of what researchers in an area come up with, but I do try to do something different to what is available elsewhere on the web.
I realise that it is probably the writer of the program who gets the most benefit from this, and so I am hoping to get involved with other people in forming a group to write open source scientific software of this form. But more on that at a later date.
ArticlesThe articles on the site are written to express some of my ideas about scientific topics. Some higlight an area of interest which I feel hasn't yet recieved the attention it deserves in books for the non-technical reader. Others are there to challenge some of the scientific views which are currently popular but which I feel have serious problems. However don't think that this means that I am trying to overturn accepted science with some flight of fancy. On the contrary, I hope to point out where the general opinion seems to depart from solid science. I will say here that one thing I am totally against is what I call the 'anything goes' idea - that if the leading contender for a scientific explanation is shown not to be totally perfect then all other possibilities are then equal. This is nonsense - no one would take this point of view in their everyday lives. Clearly if anyone wants to criticise accepted science then they must have a thorough understanding of that science before they can expect to have any influence at all.
Book reviewsNaturally, since the site is aimed at readers of popular science books, there are reviews of such books. I hope that these will help you decide whether the book is worth reading. I also try to show where there are problems in what is written in the book, so my reviews may well be more critical than others which you have read, although I do try to give a balanced viewpoint. As well as full page reviews listed on the home page, I have pages for other books which I have read, with a shorter review by me together with links to reviews from elsewhere, and of course a chance to buy the book in question. There is also the Book index which lists these books by author.
Further resourcesFor some of the pages I have prepared a list of related books (with thesymbol) and websites to help you understand the background to the subject in question. For each book I try to give a comment of how it is relevant as well as an indication of the level of expertise needed to understand it, and a link to a review page for the book as described above.
About MeMy name is Stephen Lee. I came to Oxford University as a Mathematics undergraduate in 1977, went on to do a doctorate in mathematical quantum scattering theory and have lived in Oxford ever since. Although I have had no formal connection with the university since my doctorate, I do like to go to seminars and talks at the university societies. Following my university studies I've been self-employed doing various computing projects. I started out writing programming language compilers for the Sinclair ZX spectrum. This was followed by writing control software for scientific apparatus, and for quite some time now I've spent some of my time working on management training simulations. I'm hoping to spend the more of my time on my websites (so I hope that you'll make it possible by buying your books via this site).
You can contact me at