Doing Science

John Brockman, Editor
John Brockman, Editor Prentice Hall $11.95 (296p) ISBN 978-0-13-795097-3
Reviewed on: 12/01/1990
Release date: 12/01/1990
Brockman ( Afterwords ), founder of a society of intellectuals called The Reality Club, gathers a dozen intriguing essays from its members. MIT researcher K. Eric Drexler says the future will bring nanotechnology, with ``computers and robotic arms smaller than a living cell . . . building up structures atom by atom'' to construct ever more powerful computers and permit cellular surgeryp. 73 . James E. Lovelock, formulator of the controversial Gaia theory of the earth, explores how peer review, the academic ``well-meaning but narrow-minded nanny,'' can discourage innovative approaches to research. Theoretical physicist Richard Morris tells how to distinguish ``crackpot'' pseudoscience from genuine, if seemingly bizarre, scientific theory. Biologist Lynn Margulis suggests that the popular Neo-Darwinism, which views the world as mechanistic, could be ripe for challenge from ``autopoiesis,'' a concept of life focusing on its ``dynamic, self-producing, and self-maintaining activities.'' Entertaining and stimulating, these pieces give nonscientists glimpses of lively, ongoing scientific inquiries. (Dec.)
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