Galileo's Commandment 2,500 Years of Great Science Writing

Edited by Edmund Blair Bolles

Holt Paperbacks



Trade Paperback

512 Pages



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Here is an anthology of science writing that is as historically far-reaching as it is thematically wide-ranging—"an invaluable resource," as The Christian Science Monitor has observed.

In this collection, Marie Curie reminisces about her and her husband's efforts to isolate the element radium. Herodotus observes the Nile Valley and concludes that it was once under water. Carl Sagan argues against assertions that aliens regularly visit Earth. Einstein presents his two theories of relativity.

Edmund Blair Bolles's Galileo's Commandment is an accessible and riveting treasury of scientific literature that will fascinate anyone interested in learning more about the history, development, and/or processes of science—from ancient to modern times. The authors represented here thus include Stephen Jay Gould, Rachel Carson, Richard Feynman, Primo Levi, Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, Isaac Asimov, Lucretius, Galileo, Joannes Kepler, John McPhee, Noam Chomsky, and so forth. Galileo's Commandment is an essential compendium of great ideas and compelling writing.


Praise for Galileo's Commandment

"Galileo's Commandment comes from Bertolt Brecht's play where his Galileo says, 'Science knows only one commandment: contribute to science.' And it is not too far-fetched to say that the science writer who cares deeply not only about his subject, but also about his readers, who respects their ability to understand, and has the ingenuity to make that possible, is also contributing to science. Here then is a small sample of such work."—Boston Book Review

"Recommended to anyone who enjoys great science writing as well as to those who might not really be interested in science but like to read good prose."—Yale Scientific Magazine

"A joy to browse . . . Provides timely insights for the scientist and teacher."—Choice

"Bolles provides potent evidence of great thinking as he chronicles the cumulative process of doing science in this sampler of excellent historic and contemporary writings."—Library Journal

Reviews from Goodreads



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Edmund Blair Bolles is a writer living in New York City.
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  • Edited by Edmund Blair Bolles

  • Edmund Blair Bolles has written books on many subjects, usually focusing on their basis in science. He is the author So Much to Say, a book about children's language; Remembering and Forgetting, about the nature of memory; and Second Way of Knowing, about perception. He lives in New York City.