| 어떤 과학 책들이 많이 읽혔을까?
| 글쓴이 : kopsa
날짜 : 01-03-03 21:02
조회 : 4266
어떤 과학 책들이 많이 읽혔을까?
어떤 과학 책들이 많이 읽혔을까? 2001년 2월 22일 코넬 대학 홈페이지에
실린 글입니다. 원문의 뒤에 나왔던 1947년부터 1997년까지의 중요한 책
(베스트셀러)리스트를 순서를 바꾸어 앞으로 옮겼습니다. 뒷부분은 해설
글입니다. 리스트 책 외에도 다른 책이 언급돼 있습니다.
많이 팔리는 과학 책을 크게 네가지 종류로 구분했는데, 경계는 분명하지
않다고 했습니다. 대중 과학문화에 중요한 책, 즉 베스트셀러나 수상 저서가
이에 해당합니다. 다음이 내용 상 많은 영향을 준 책입니다. 그리고 교과서
유와 일상 과학에 사용되는 책입니다.
최근 강박사는 과학 커뮤니케이션 주제에 흥미를 갖고 책을 찾아보았습니
다. 어떻게 하면 모든 이에게 과학 내용을 알기 쉽게, 간략히, 정확히 전달
할 수 있는지에 관한 것입니다. 광우병의 필립스 보고서를 읽어보니, 과학
자건 언론이건 일반인에게 위험성(risk)를 알려 줄 때 이 과학 커뮤니케이
션 능력이 중요한데, 모두가 향상시켜야 한다고 말합니다.
이런 점에서 특히 일반인이 많이 읽은 과학 책의 저자에게는 특별한 능력
이 있어 보입니다. 개성이니 스타일이니 그런 것도 있지만 과학 커뮤니케
이션 능력일까요? 그런 것도 중요할 것입니다.
여하튼 누구 아래 책들에 대한 간단한 설명을 인터넷으로 찾아 보내 주십
시오. 그리고 뒷부분 내용 설명도 함께 요약하여 보내 주십시오. 보낸 분의
이름으로 게시해 드리겠습니다. 강박사도 잘 모르는 책들이 있는데, 함께
지식을 공유하였으면 합니다. (강건일 박사)
Science-oriented best sellers 1948-1997
(From Publishers Weekly compilations) Date Place
1948 4 Alfred Kinsey et al., Sexual Behavior in the Human Male
1950 5 Thor Heyerdahl, Kon-Tiki
1951 6 Rachel Carson, The Sea Around Us
9 Thor Heyerdahl, Kon-Tiki
1952 4 Rachel Carson, The Sea Around Us
1953 3 Alfred Kinsey, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female
1958 8 Thor Heyerdahl, Aku-Aku
1966 2 William Masters and Virginia Johnson, Human Sexual Response
1975 4 Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man
1976 9 Shere Hite, The Hite Report: A Nationwide Survey of Female
1977 7 Carl Sagan, Dragons of Eden
1980 2 Carl Sagan, Cosmos
1981 5 Carl Sagan, Cosmos
1988 3 Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time
1989 6 David Macaulay, The Way Things Work
13 Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time
1992 30+ Carl Sagan, Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
1994 24 Richard Preston, The Hot Zone
26 Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Bell Curve:
Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life
1995 14 Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence
1996 30+ Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence
1997 30+ The Merck Manual
Lewenstein asserts an author's style can be crucial in selling science
By Jeff Evans '01
SAN FRANCISCO -- In 1962, Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring, a
pioneering exposure of the hazards of the pesticide DDT, became one of
the most influential books in the history of science and helped set the
stage for the environmental movement. But the book had modest sales.
In 1980, Carl Sagan's book Cosmos, an overview of how science and
civilization grew up together, based on his television series of the same
name, sold 900,000 copies in its 50 weeks on the Publishers Weekly
best-seller list, phenomenal for a science book in its time.
What separated the two? Marketing.
"An author's style and personality and the presence he or she brings to
a best-selling science book are generally the main factors in making it
a best seller," said Bruce Lewenstein, Cornell associate professor of
communication and science and technology studies, during a seminar at
the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement
of Science here, Feb. 19.
Speaking on the topic "What Science Books Sell Big?" Lewenstein said,
"The prominence of a science book author's personality has grown in
the past 20 years." And that alone can account for a book being a best
seller instead of just influential, he said. His talk was part of a
seminar, "What Makes a Science Book Become a Best Seller?"
Lewenstein noted that although best sellers and influential books can
appeal both to scientists and the general public -- like Stephen
Hawking's best-selling A Brief History of Time -- in the main, the
non-specialist general reader is attracted to best-selling titles; scientists
and those with a close interest in science tend to read books that
Lewenstein classifies as influential. That is why, he says, best-selling
books about science -- whether the subject is space or sex -- can
make their authors rich and famous -- whereas the "influential" book's
major accomplishment is in educating the public.
But both types of science book, he said, have a major importance in
acting as a link between the science community and the world at large.
"Science books have been very important in helping the scientific
community hold itself together as a community and linking the
scientific community with the broader culture," he said.
Since World War II, a number of science books have joined the ranks
of best sellers by using sex, exploration or a clear authorial presence as
a main selling point, he said. But despite the alluring subject matter
found in some science best sellers and award winners, the importance
of science books generally has been overlooked when compared to the
authority of the scholarly journal in the world of science. Yet, he said,
science books, from best-selling popular works to textbooks, play a
significant role in the public's view of science and even in a scientist's
Lewenstein identified four categories of science books, although, he said,
they blur into each other: books important in public culture (prize
winners and best sellers); books that are influential because of their
content; textbooks; and books used in daily science.
Intellectual culture regards Pulitzer Prize winners or National Book
Award winners as important, and some of them become best sellers,
said Lewenstein. Only two science books had won the Pulitzer prior to
1978, when Sagan, the late David C. Duncan Professor in the Physical
Sciences at Cornell, wrote the prize-winning Dragons of Eden. But over
the next two decades, 12 other science books won the Pulitzer,
including Douglas Hofstadter's Godel, Escher, Bach (1980) and Jared
Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel (1998).
Even science books that were not fully understood -- or even read --
have made it onto the Publishers Weekly best-seller list. A case in
point: Human Sexual Response by William Masters and Virginia
Johnson. Lewenstein said, "It is likely that many purchasers bought the
book expecting something different and never really pursued the
detailed research reports in the books." But even if science best sellers
and prize winners are hard to comprehend, Lewenstein asserted, they
still obtain a status in public culture that gives the books' audiences a
More influential, but less popular, science books have even shaped the
way scientists think about or discuss older disciplines. Books such as
E.O. Wilson's Sociobiology (1975) and James Gleick's Chaos: Making a
New Science (1987) were widely read and talked about, but did not
reach the top of the best-seller lists. These two books have today
brought together research and ideas that have helped to create new
"Textbooks also are tremendously important for science because they
convey knowledge to the next generation, and that, in a sense, is how
the culture of science is conveyed," said Lewenstein. Knowledge from a
textbook, he said, can also pass on a tradition of learning due only to
circumstance. For example, Sears and Zamansky's College Physics
(1947) was aimed at engineering students. As a result, students who
have studied physics at major U.S. universities over the past 50 years
have learned 20th century physics "as a sort of add-on, or afterthought,
apart from classical physics," Lewenstein asserted.
February 22, 2001
| Cornell Chronicle Front Page | | Table of Contents | | Cornell News
Service Home Page |