My Willy Ley "Discovery" - Dec 2, 2009
I have to tell you about an author I have found recently. Willy Ley was a science writer in the '50s and '60s and thereabouts, and very well known in his day as a "rocket man".
He wrote on quite a few other nonfiction subjects, including zoology, archeology, and chemisty. Zoology is how I originally fell upon him, but I am enjoying Dr. Ley's writing so much that I have followed him into realms of science I never would have thought of a pleasure reading.
Currently, I am reading his book titled "The Discovery of the Elements." That's what I was refereing to. The origins of chemisty never occured to me as something I would be reading for fun. This is a book for the novice reader.
Yes, I'm sure a lot of his work is dated, but much of it is the history of science and/or biographical, and that isn't as susceptible to ephemerality (haha, I don't think I've ever had cause to use that word before!).
If you've never read Willy Ley (which I suspect) please consider looking up his "Discovery of the Elements" book. It was at my tiny local library. I realize you may be too busy to read every random book that friends recommend (most people are and I know I am). So, just leaf though and read one page out of the middle. I think you'll see what I mean.
He has a quality that I really, really admire in a scientist. He isn't so "puffed up" about his own surety. I don't see the self-righteous ego that I have almost come to expect. He has a cross European-American background, and that makes his writing the more informative and entertaining. He has a talent for branching into anecdote and tangent without making it so lengthy it seems like the subject has changed. This book, and indeed all his books I've seen, are written in a way that the novice can understand.
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