What Remains to Be Discovered: Mapping the Secrets of the Universe, the Origins of Life and the Future of Human Race

John Maddox, Author
John Maddox, Author Free Press $26 (434p) ISBN 978-0-684-82292-1
Reviewed on: 12/29/1997
Release date: 01/01/1998
As the editor of Nature, one of the world's premiere scientific journals, for nearly a quarter century, Maddox (Beyond the Energy Crisis, etc.) is uniquely positioned to reflect on the nature of science, both its successes and its challenges. He does so exceedingly well here. Reaching back to the dawn of civilization, Maddox provides an insightful view into the history and philosophy of science. By focusing on some of the ""big"" fields of science--cosmology, quantum mechanics, cell biology, genetics, evolution and neuroscience, for example--he has crafted a primer worthy of study. But this is not an introduction for the uninitiated. Maddox, assuming his readers are conversant with basic scientific thinking, wastes no time on first principles. The most futuristic chapter, which deals with possible calamities that might befall the human race, is also the most accessible. In it, Maddox discusses the threats arising from emerging diseases, global warming, asteroid impact and the possible instability of the human genome. Throughout this admirable if sometimes difficult work, Maddox evinces wisdom won over a lifetime, arguing articulately about the complementarity of pure and applied research while recognizing that many of our most pressing problems must incorporate a political as well as a technical dimension. BOMC and QPB alternates; author tour. (Oct.)
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