Science Matters: Achieving Scientific Literacy

ISBN: 038526108X
ISBN 13: 9780385261081
By: Robert M. Hazen James Trefil

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About this book

Easily one of the finest available single-volume introductions to science."-- "Kirkus Review" "Comprehensible and carefully paced."-- "Booklist

Reader's Thoughts


"Detailed survey science book"This probably shouldn't be your introductory survey science book ("The History of Nearly Everything" would be a better intro). If you had read other science books recently and want to know more of the fundamentals, this would be a good intro to give you a good foundation. Some sections are hard to follow if it is the first time in years you've come across that bit of science.Suffers from being slightly out of date. Covers science literacy very nicely.


A great overview of a lot of fields. Extremely enjoyable and on my re-read list. I did this one as an audiobook and it made my commutes to and from work very enjoyable.


Picked this book up while visiting the McDonald Observatory in far West Texas. Very very good overview of many aspects of science. As one interested in science myself, the daughter of a scientist and medical man fascinated with all facets of science, I agree with the premise of the authors. It is important for lay people to develop a basic scientific literacy. Too many people leave the hard sciences alone, and thus miss out on some of the most fascinating adventures being lived out right now! Or people hear about science only from sensational news headlines or political talking heads. How sad to be cut off from such a vibrant branch of the world.So, read the book. Do I agree with all of it? No. The authors, who are not Christians, demonstrate an understandable confusion about Christians who do not agree with evolution. As a Christian with many scientist friends, I find this easy to see. Scientists do not throw out a theory or model until there is another theory or model to use in its stead. So the section on "Evolution" I have disagreements with, primarily because the authors lump all Christians into the category of believing in a "young earth" (which I do not). This categorization is not valid because not all Christians are young-earthers, but I do not blame the authors because they don't know.An excellent book to read in companion to this is "Creation as Science: A Testable Model Approach to end the creation / evolution wars" by Hugh Ross. Dr. Ross is a scientist (an astro-physicist) and a strong Christian and pastor. He demonstrates in his book that providing a testable model for creation theories is the way to pave the way for understanding. So, read "Science Matters", and then read "Creation as Science" together!


While reading should be an escape, a reprieve from life's stresses, I feel that, at times, we forget that reading is a source of education and a time to better ourselves intellectually. This book achieves just that. It was a wonderful refresher course and reminded me that we all have limitless possibilities to learn and create. Just look at how far we have come. Everyone should this book.


Used as a quick refresher for my middle school science MTEL last fall; definitely easy to read without being "dumbed down"


For me this book didn't live up to its title. As I started reading I quickly switched off and went into skim mode. There was way too much information to absorb for someone with my appalling lack of science education. By page seventy-three I realised that of course I must stop reading it in this silly beginning-to-end fashion, and instead keep it as a reference book – a function it will fulfil extremely well. And now I am going to damn the poor book with faint praise....It is fairly well written. In truth I have been totally spoilt. I recently read Richard Dawkins’s book The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True, and that was the science primer to end all science primers. It was so fantastically written that I was utterly and totally caught up in it. I took copious notes and learnt tons. It blew my socks off.Science Matters is fine, and will find a well-deserved place on my bookshelf . It will be a great reference book, but there is no way I am going to read it the way I read The Magic of Reality. It just doesn't generate the same excitement. On the other hand it is a lot more detailed than the latter, so very useful in that respect.My one real criticism is that it could have done with more diagrams and illustrations. Interestingly the Dawkins book had none, but was so beautifully and inspiringly written that it didn’t matter.I'm sure this will be a useful reference book.


A very good book which gives detailed overviews of different scientific disciplines. Not having a solid scientific background, I found the book challenging. More visuals of the scientific principles would have been beneficial to me. Overall, the book is very informative, detailed, and the authors make good analogies to describe scientific principles. I do feel more scientifically literate than before.

Nick Gotch

If you're looking to familiarize yourself with popular science topics in the news and media or just looking to learn a little more about the natural world, this book's the perfect solution. It doesn't get so far into the nitty-gritty details as to boar the casual reader but explores each subject thoroughly and in-depth enough.For those who already know a subject to some fair extent, such as myself with physics, those sections may seem a little basic. This is, of course, the point of the book and unless you're knowledgeable of all the subjects covered you'll still gain something from the reading. I did mostly skim the physics parts than read them extensively but when it came to other areas, like chemistry, biology, and ecology, I was kept eagerly engaged.I give it four stars because of the wide and diverse range of scientific fields covered. If it was a book on any one subject it wouldn't be nearly as valuable. The fact that it covers quickly and in good detail as many topics as it does is wonderfully worthwhile.Side Note: Another good book by one of the authors, James Trefil, is "From Atoms to Quarks." I've read it twice and he did an equally well job presenting the world of particle physics in that as he did science in general here. In fact both of these books are high on my list of great scientific reads.

John Robertson

Does what it says on the cover, very good overview- I particularly liked the sub-atomic chapters and a good summary of DNA and RNA of which I knew squit. Highly recommended.


This is the stuff you might have learned in school, but forgot, made interesting, clear and relevant to everyday life. It's the science background everyone should have.


I read this in hopes of clear explanations of current scientific issues. The book started out very promising. I enjoyed the explanations, yet somewhere in the beginning, the explanations were a bit fuzzy - not clarifying what they were talking about exactly. Of course, like most practical teaching, it would best be paired with an interactive section like a partner website to demonstrate motion of particles, molecules, etc. I thought the authors had a lovely sense of humor, adding in charming metaphors or side commentary. I looked forward to the end of the chapter summaries, or "frontiers" that explained current research or hopes for future outcomes. It would be a great textbook or reference book. I would put this on my shelf to review the most important science theories when in need.


I purchased this book as part of a study set for a CLEP test. If I had known then what I know now... I would have just read this one to begin with. This book is packed with the most useful information and explains concepts in a fascinating and comprehensible way. While I may not feel completely scientifically literate, I do not feel like a scientific idiot.


Excellent introductory material on a wide variety of scientific topics.

Rey Walker

Provides an excellent primer (or review) and includes easily understood information about the major science fields and findings. The authors' intent is to enable the non-sciencey person to engage in a discussion of current science-related events influencing public policy. They also demonstrate well that a basic understanding of science does, in fact, matter.The narrator does a nice job of nuanced emotion. His voice is soothing but not sleep-inducing.

Faizal Aziz

literasi sains untuk orang awam..mudah dan senang dihadam, meliputi pelbagai topik, dari atom hinggalah mekanik kuantum

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