Philosophical Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners . . . and More

 

TED Global 2012 Edinburgh

TED Global 2012 Edinburgh

After I returned from TED Global this summer, I was asked to contribute a piece about my experiences at TED by the magazine Design Mind. It has just come out, and can be read here.

 

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!!

 

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace

In honor of the day set aside to remember Ada Lovelace, friend and collaborator of Charles Babbage (and a major player in one chapter of The Philosophical Breakfast Club), I’m passing along two links: one serious, one a bit silly, but both apropos of Lovelace and her accomplishments.

First, the serious. A recent study by Yale University found that women in science are still discriminated against in classrooms and laboratories. How sad that perceptions of women’s abilities have not changed as much as we would like to think from Lovelace’s times in the 19th century. On this day we should remember that although women have come a long way since the 1800s, there is still much work to be done.

Next, the silly (but wonderfully so): a post on the relation between Ada Lovelace and her female friend and mentor, Mary Somerville by the talented Sydney Padua—who is writing a steampunk comic about Lovelace and Babbage.

Food for thought on Lovelace day.

Oliver Sacks “Inspired” by “Philosophical Breakfast Club”

Oliver Sacks

Oliver Sacks

I’m incredibly pleased and excited that Oliver Sacks included The Philosophical Breakfast Club on a list of five science biographies that have inspired him.

Sacks is one of my favorite non-fiction writers, in part because he is able to connect wonderfully with a broad readership to interest them in, and educate them on, complex scientific issues related to neurology and psychology. He’s definitely one of the writers who inspires me, so it’s particularly wonderful to see my book on his list.

You can see the list here.

I can’t wait to read his new book, Hallucinations, out on Nov. 6!

“It’s So Interesting! And Surprisingly Funny!” — Not Raising Brats

I can’t resist posting this new review from the blog “Not Raising Brats,” because I love that a reviewer pointed out the humor in the book. I laughed a lot while writing it, and it’s great to know that I wasn’t the only one who found the exploits of the philosophical breakfast club members kind of hilarious at times!! (The humor was especially important to me because of some difficult stuff I was going through while writing the book.)

Of course, I also love that the reviewer calls my book “excellent” and ends with: “I really loved this one”:

“EXCELLENT….I annoyed my husband to no end reading excerpts from this book. It’s just so interesting! And surprisingly funny! The club of the title refers to one created by four leading ‘philosophers’ (ie scientists) at the turn of the 19th century. These guys coined the term ‘scientist.’ They charted the tides and the stars and created the first computer. They also drank heavily in college and wrote sarcastic letters to each other. I really loved this one.”

You can see the review, and read others, here.

Reforming Philosophy Now Available for Kindle

I am very happy to announce that my first book, Reforming Philosophy, is now available in an inexpensive Kindle edition.

Some readers of The Philosophical Breakfast Club might be interested in a more detailed discussion of William Whewell’s philosophy of science, and its relation to his view of moral philosophy, economics, and politics. In this book I discuss these issues in the context of Whewell’s decades-long debate with the philosopher, economist and Parliamentarian John Stuart Mill.

Here’s what some reviewers said when the book came out:

“Snyder’s book is history of philosophy at its best”–Times Literary Supplement

“In this impressive study of two major Victorian intellectuals, Snyder displays both analytical acumen and historical sensitivity; she has written a book that will be read with profit and pleasure by anyone interested in the history of moral, political, and philosophical reflection on science.” — Isis

“Snyder’s impressive achievement is not only to register a significant improvement in our understanding of the technicalities of this debate over the proper method of scientific reasoning, but also to bring the debate alive in a way that illuminates the whole terrain of mid-Victorian intellectual life.” — American Historical Review

“This is the definitive work and must be on the shelves of any library with pretensions to completeness about the [Victorian] age.” — Journal of British Studies

You can purchase the Kindle edition of Reforming Philosophy here.

Reading List: 12 books by recent TED speakers

TED’s list of “essential reading” for Fall—books by TED speakers:

With summer dwindling to its last few days, it’s time to put away the beach reads and get the mind back in gear with heartier fare. Why not start with some of the amazing books writer by recent TED speakers? Here, some picks.

Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
Retells the tale of a forgetful writer’s journey to becoming U.S. Memory champion, exploring the singular importance of memory in our lives along the way. Watch Joshua’s talk >>

Wired for Culture by Mark Pagel
For the past 80,000 years, culture has played an integral role in shaping the lives humans lead. Evolutionary biologist Mark Pagel explains the evolutionary processes that are so ingrained into our culture, and explores its effects on life today. Watch Mark’s talk >> Read more

“Summer Reading Selection 2012” — Cambridge University Alumni Bulletin

Cambridge University

Cambridge University

I just received my Cambridge University alumni bulletin, and was happily surprised to find The Philosophical Breakfast Club on the list of “Cambridge Authors: Summer Reading Selection 2012,” joining books by Stephen Fry, Andrew Preston, Simon Sebag Montefiore, Ian Tattersall, Claire Tomalin, and other Cambridge faculty/alumni. Still time to get your last bit of summer reading in. . . .

“On the Bookshelf, Summer 2012” — Brandeis Magazine Summer Bookshelf

I was happy to see The Philosophical Breakfast Club featured in the summer edition of my undergraduate university’s magazine on their summer reading bookshelf. It’s right under the book by a terrific historian on the faculty, David Hackett Fischer! There’s a nice little paragraph on the book, which you can see here.

The Philosophical Breakfast Club and Australia’s Great Science Read

Every year, the Royal Institution of Australia (whose wonderful motto is: “Bringing Science to People and People to Science”) sponsor Australia’s “Great Big Science Read,” where people are encouraged to read books—both fiction and non-fiction—having to do with science. Last year, the RiAus held a poll to choose the public’s “Favorite Science Book”—and The Philosophical Breakfast Club was the winner!

The RiAus has just put out a short list of some books recommended by “Some of Australia’s leading scientists and the RiAus Book Club” as suggestions for this year’s Great Science Read. I’m so pleased to see The Philosophical Breakfast Club on that list, and look forward to hearing from some new Australian readers!

My TED experience on St. John’s Website

St. John’s University has posted a story—featuring some quotes from an interview with me—about my TED experience on the school’s website.