If nearly everything you ever learned in science class has vanished from your brain over the years, if you can no longer tell a neutron from a neutrino or recall the Krebs cycle or the second law of thermodynamics, you’re hardly alone. As a Pulitzer-winning New York Times reporter, Natalie Angier is confronted daily by America’s science illiteracy. The Canon offers a passionate corrective. It’s a lot to bite off — the broad basics of everything from chemistry to geology to molecular biology to astrophysics — but Angier has the infectious exuberance, unflagging wit, and knack for the well-turned simile (red blood cells look like ”New York City bialys”) of a born teacher. A-
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