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Carl Sagan's Broca's Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science

This is a well-written and entertaining book. It covers a lot of ground, the only common thread being the science of astronomy. The book is a bit dated, and occaisionally Sagan mentions a scientific question that he hopes will be answered by Voyager as it passes Jupiter or Saturn, which it did several years ago, but after he wrote the book. In general, Pale Blue Dot does a much better job covering planetary science, and I recommend that book much more highly than this.

If you have already read Pale Blue Dot, there are still interesting bits in this book. Sagan carefully and objectively analyzes the pseudo-science of Dr. Velikovsky. Velikovsky wrote an unusual interpretation of planetary astronomy that attempts to account for Biblical and other legendary sources of astronomical information. His science is poor, but he became quite popular as a sort of new-age astronomer. I hadn't heard much about Velikovsky before, but I enjoyed reading Sagan's scientific analysis of his work, just for the fun of the science. Other interesting bits include a section explaining how space objects and features on other planets get named, and reflections on how the birth experience affects our cosmology.

Some quotes Dr. Sagan collected for the book.

Last modified 1999-02-07

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