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The Science of Discworld (1999)

de Terry Pratchett, Jack Cohen, Ian Stewart

Outros autores: Veja a seção outros autores.

Séries: The Science of Discworld (book 1), Discworld (Science I)

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2,346244,758 (3.87)80
In the course of an exciting experiment, the wizards of Discworld have accidentally created a new universe. Within this universe is a planet that they name Roundworld. Roundworld is, of course, Earth, and the universe is our own. As the wizards watch their creation grow, Terry Pratchett and acclaimed science writers Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen use Discworld to examine science from the outside. Interwoven with the Pratchett's original story are entertaining, enlightening chapters which explain key scientific principles such as the Big Bang theory and the evolution of life on earth, as well as great moments in the history of science.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 24 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
The title is misleading: I expected speculation about how the laws of physics would have to be adjusted to make Discworld plausible. But what this is is a highly opinionated survey of a number of fields of Thisworld science. A lot of which is interesting, but even I know that some of it is outdated: The book discusses speculation that the predictions of general relativity are wrong under certain conditions; but I have a later book that says that all experiments so far have borne out Einstein. And I happen to know an astrophysicist who says this is still true.
  sonofcarc | Sep 2, 2020 |
This is not a book that tells you how Terry Pratchett's Discworld works. This is a book that tells you how Earth as we know it was created with an inserted Discworld narrative.

I found this book to be entertaining and the science bits to be accurate (for what is provided) with pithy observations and witty sentences. However, the science is a rather basic summary in a somewhat erratic order of the creation of the universe and evolution on planet earth. I started to get a bit bored with the science chapters, though this is possibly due to having read too many books about the universe and evolution to get excited about a repeat. The alternate chapters that deal with the Wizards of Unseen University get more amusing as the book progresses, especially after Rincewind, the Luggage and the Librarian (Ook!) make an appearance. There is nothing like a wizardly outside assessment of Roundworld to show us how crazy life on Earth really is.

This was a fun read. I highly recommend this book to fans of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels, especially those who aren't too clued up about general science. The alternate science and fantasy chapters of this book might even appeal to younger school children and encouraging an interest in reading and science.
( )
1 vote ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
An interesting project from our late, lamented friend Terry Pratchett and a few scientists to combine a Disc World story with the science behind our world. With Rincewind stuck in a world made by the wizards, trying to survive meteors ramming into the earth at a geologically speaking rapid clip, and the wizards trying to get him out, our scientists cover a history of the earth, including the possibility that dinosaurs built a civilisation before being wiped out by yet another meteor.

The ending is food for thought as it turned out the "Science of Discworld" was one of my favorite Terry Pratchett books. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Apr 27, 2019 |
This is an interesting hybrid of fiction and non-fiction. The fiction part is a story set in Terry Pratchett's Discworld universe, in which wizards accidentally create an entire non-magical universe, one that looks quite familiar to us, but entirely bizarre to them: there are just all these big round balls, and no discs on the backs of turtles anywhere. The non-fiction parts look at the evolution of this real universe, of one familiar planet in that universe, and the life on that (or, as the case may be, this) planet.

And while the fiction part is typically delightful Pratchett, I have somewhat mixed feelings about the non-fiction. There's a lot of good and interesting scientific information, cosmic perspective, and discussion of the philosophy of science, delivered in a readable and fairly entertaining fashion. But there's also a lot of speculation and opinion from the co-authors (a biologist and a mathematician), some of which I'm more on board with than others. And it's also really dated. This was originally published in 1999, with an updated edition in 2002, which might not seem that old, but science has definitely marched on since then. Especially as the authors are trying to be very cutting-edge, and some of the potentially interesting ideas they mention have completely failed to pan out.

Rating: It's very hard to know how to rate this. It's a fun read if you're a Discworld fan, and a lot of the science stuff is good and thought-provoking. But I don't think I can really recommend it if you're reading it for the science, just because it is so dated. Based on that, I'm going to give it a 3.5/5, but I feel a little bad about it. ( )
2 vote bragan | Oct 27, 2018 |
The Science of Discworld is an odd sort of Discworld book. Based on the name, I had thought it was going to delve into more detail about the fictional workings of the Discworld. Like, say, how the giant turtle and the elephants stay alive outside of an atmosphere or how water on the Discworld gets replenished when it keeps falling off the disc… If that last sentence makes it sound like I’ve gone off the deep end, then you clearly haven’t tried reading Discworld.

The science in this book is actually more about the real science of our own world, with a very thin Discworld story interspersed between the science bits. The Discworld part of the story takes place in the Unseen University, where the wizards end up creating a simulation of the birth of a universe remarkably like ours, followed by many million years’ worth of evolution on “roundworld”, a planet that is also remarkably like ours. Each short Discworld-based chapter is then followed up with a science chapter discussing topics related to what’s going on in the Discworld story.

For the first 25% of this book, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through to the end. The science parts were boring me to tears because they mostly covered either terribly basic concepts or entirely theoretical topics that I wasn’t very interested in reading about. As it went on, it got more interesting, although there were still scattered bits of boredom here and there. If this had been a book about computer science, I probably would have enjoyed the theoretical parts equally as well as the practical parts. Actually, even though it wasn’t at all the focus of the story, computer science did get a few mentions here and there, and I particularly enjoyed those parts. When it comes to the natural sciences, however, my interest isn’t strong enough to sustain me through theory. I enjoyed it when the authors discussed what we do know and why we think we know it, whereas the various speculations about things we have no way of knowing for sure were more frustrating to me than interesting.

The Discworld part of the story was very short, but amusing. It served as a nice way to break up the science bits and provide some humor. However, the story had a major logical flaw that annoyed me to no end. It’s supposed to be physically impossible for anybody to get into the Roundworld experiment, but Hex is able to use suits to let people enter Roundworld virtually. Rincewind is the first person made to try this, and the luggage shows up physically in Roundworld, supposedly following Rincewind there. But Rincewind’s actual, physical body is still in Unseen University. There’s no logical reason that the luggage should have ended up inside the experiment. It was only done as cheap story trick to allow the wizards to get materials to and from Roundworld by having them transported via the luggage.

So… will I read the second science book? Yes, I think so, once I get to that point in the publication order. Whether or not I read the last two will probably depend on my reaction to the second one. ( )
2 vote YouKneeK | Jan 21, 2017 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Terry Pratchettautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Cohen, Jackautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Stewart, Ianautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Brandhorst, AndreasTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Kidby, PaulArtista da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Partridge, NigelDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Simon, ErikTradutorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic'
ARTHUR C. CLARKE
'Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced'
GREGORY BENFORD
'The reason why truth is so much stranger than fiction is that there is no requirement for it to be consistent.'
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Once upon a time, there was Discworld. There is still an adequate supply.
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Science certainly does not claim to get things right, but it has a good record of ruling out ways to get things wrong.
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In the course of an exciting experiment, the wizards of Discworld have accidentally created a new universe. Within this universe is a planet that they name Roundworld. Roundworld is, of course, Earth, and the universe is our own. As the wizards watch their creation grow, Terry Pratchett and acclaimed science writers Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen use Discworld to examine science from the outside. Interwoven with the Pratchett's original story are entertaining, enlightening chapters which explain key scientific principles such as the Big Bang theory and the evolution of life on earth, as well as great moments in the history of science.

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