Science Observed

A blog about science, scientists and science studies – a home for occasional writings of mine going back three decades, mostly book reviews (of which there have been rather a lot).

Read the latest posts from the blog below:

  • Big historyHaven’t done any archive posting for a while, but this new one just appeared in the British Journal for the History of Science (Sep). Two books that relate, rather differently, to the entirety of human history, seemed worth tackling together… Posted here for those without library access (which these days includes me) Patrick Manning, A […]
  • The Golem – SSK as pop science?(Here’s another old offering as I continue rummaging in the archive…) Around ten years before this piece, I reviewed Harry Collins’ Changing Order, one of the earliest things I’ve posted here. The Golem was an effort to popularise the approach to science outlined in that earlier book – the first of three volumes Collins and […]
  • What do we get out of research anyway?Long gap here for new posts, but I’ve been rummaging in the archive again – and living with someone deeply involved just now in the cursed REF in UK higher education made me look closely at this piece on evaluating research from 30 years ago, when grading university departments was just getting started. I wrote […]
  • Moonviews – 50 years onPosts here remain sparse, although I’ll delve further into the archive one day, probably… Meantime, here’s a review of a couple of the recent slew of moon books. It appeared a month or so ago in a publication which raised its paywall higher around the same time, so posting here for ease of archiving.  When […]
  • On scientific collaborationThis is the intro to a collection of essays I edited for the Royal Society, reflecting on the course of a diverse set of scientific collaborations. They appear in a little book(let) recently published. There’ll be a web version at some point, but thought I’d put this up here in the meantime as an appetiser. […]
  • Relegating references?“Show your working”, they told me at school, and the principle is sound. Later on, a mathematical proof isn’t accepted unless all the stages are published. And a scholarly text cites all the author’s sources. In PhD-writing days, the literature review was a seemingly endless labour, but also a pleasure, in its way. I kept […]
  • The shock of the anthropoceneHaven’t posted for ages (seem to have said that before), but here’s a brief book review I did a while back for Public Understanding of Science, which is now in print. Christophe Bonneuil and Jean-Baptiste Fressoz (translated by David Fernbach) The shock of the anthropocene. London and New York: Verso, 2016. ISBN 9781784780821 The Anthropocene may […]
  • Resources for science writersI’ve recently been doing a spot of teaching at Bath Spa University, as part of their publishing programme.  I also talked about science writing, prompting a review and refresh of a list I’ve been annotating for years  of “how to” books about science writing, and non-fiction writing more generally. There are quite a few of […]