The New Popular Science


(1) IT may be that, strictly speaking, there is no such thing as popular science, new or otherwise: that science can never, in the strict sense of the term, become popular, and that it is more proper to speak of the popular approach to science. There are, however, many new methods of approach to-day, pleasant paths and by-ways that can be travelled without tears, and these three books bear eloquent witness of this. They also strongly refute the idea that this type of book is apt to disparage the dignity of science or be unworthy the notice of true research workers. For it must be emphasised, in the first place, that any real or imaginary gap between men of science and the people is becoming constantly narrower in several different ways, some of which will be here briefly noted; in the second place, the writing of so-called popular books on science is often very much more difficult and requires qualities of a different and sometimes higher intellectual calibre than does the writing of a professional text-book; and in the third place, they are often of great help to the scientific worker himself.

(1) Everyday Marvels of Science: a Popular Account of the Scientific Inventions in Daily Use.

V. H. L. Searle. Pp. 208. (London: Ernest Benn, Ltd., 1930.) 10s. 6d. net.

(2) This Scientific Age: Essays in Modern Thought and Achievement.

Dugald C. Jackson Jr. Prof. W. Paul Jones. Pp. vii + 353. (New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.; London: Chapman and Hall, Ltd., 1930.) 10s. net.

(3) Master Minds of Modern Science.

T. C. Bridges H. Hessell Tiltman. Pp. 278 + 32 plates (London, Bombay and Sydney: George G. Harrap and Co., Ltd., 1930.) 7s. 6d. net.

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C., W. The New Popular Science. Nature 127, 967–968 (1931).

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