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Manny Rayner's book reviews

I love reviewing books - have been doing it at Goodreads, but considering moving here.

Currently reading

The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution
Richard Dawkins
R in Action
Robert Kabacoff
Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies
Douglas R. Hofstadter
McGee on Food and Cooking: An Encyclopedia of Kitchen Science, History and Culture
Harold McGee
Epistemic Dimensions of Personhood
Simon Evnine
Pattern Recognition and Machine Learning (Information Science and Statistics)
Christopher M. Bishop
Relativity, Thermodynamics and Cosmology
Richard C. Tolman
The Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition
Julia Herschensohn, Martha Young-Scholten
Copenhagen - Michael Frayn - So what did you think?

- I liked it! A lot of really interesting historical stuff about the Bohr/Heisenberg/Schrödinger triangle. And I just had no idea about Heisenberg's involvement in the Nazi nuclear project. Fascinating. Can't imagine how I missed reading about that earlier.

- Ah, come on George, surely you got more out of it than that?

- Well, okay, okay, it was technically pretty impressive too. The way he uses quantum mechanics as a sustained metaphor throughout. I didn't think he'd be able to pull it off, but it worked. Nice going, Mr. Frayn. Damn, you're still giving me that look.

- George, you know perfectly well that's not what the play was about. It was about relationships. People trying their best to be decent human beings when all they have are bad choices. It was very moving. You just won't admit it.

- Look, it was about quantum mechanics too. Bohr was always sceptical about Heisenberg's matrix algebra, but Heisenberg's line was that if it made the right predictions then it doesn't matter that there's no intuitive interpretation. I thought Frayn was clever to twist it around and apply Heisenberg's reasoning to his own life. I'm not sure you really understood that bit.

- I did so understand it. It wasn't that hard to follow.

- You did?

- Yeah.

- You're pretty bright. For an arts graduate.

- And you've got a lot of emotional intelligence for a scientist. I noticed tears in your eyes at one point.

- Damn. I thought I'd got away with it.

- Look, it's both, isn't it? Science and emotion. Neither one explains the whole story, you have to keep going back and forward between them. It's like, what do you call it -

- The Principle of Complementarity.

- Exactly.

- Hm. You might have a point there. Yes, that can't be accidental. He was smart to do that.

- I was smart to figure it out.

- You were. And, ah, you're kind of beautiful too. I was wondering if I could kiss you.

- I was wondering when you'd ask.

- Mm.

- Mmmm. George?

- Yes?

- I think your place is closer, isn't it?