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August 11, 1996|CHARLES SOLOMON

THE COMMON BUT LESS FREQUENT LOON AND OTHER ESSAYS by Keith Stewart Thomson, illustrated by Linda Price Thomson (Yale University Press: $15, 186 pp.). A columnist for American Scientist and president of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Thomson loves biology and literature with equal passion. He insists that good science "is produced only by broadly literate scientists, otherwise inspiration fails and one is doomed to ape the results of others." Writing with rare eloquence, he mourns the current dearth of literary merit in scientific literature, drawing a parallel between the demise of cogent expression and the fate of the loons on his favorite New Hampshire lake.

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