How Things Are: A Science Tool-Kit for the Mind

John Brockman, Editor, Katinka Matson, Editor
John Brockman, Editor, Katinka Matson, Editor William Morrow & Company $23 (303p) ISBN 978-0-688-13356-6
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-688-14951-2
Paperback - 324 pages - 978-1-142-95707-0
Show other formats
These 34 short, succinct, deceptively simple essays by eminent scientists provide a wonderful entry into scientific thought and discovery. Some of the selections impart basic understanding of the world around us--for example, why water is crucial to the emergence and persistence of life; to what extent DNA determines an individual's traits; and symmetries in cell structures, crystals and physical forces. Other pieces deal with more fundamental questions. Physicist Paul Davies investigates whether time suddenly ``switched on'' with the Big Bang. Anthropologist Milford Wolpoff explores evolutionary links between humans and apes. Contributors include biologists Lynn Margulis, Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins, anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson, cosmologist Alan Guth. Turning to the future, demographer Joel Cohen predicts a drastic, inevitable decline in global population growth, while paleontologist Niles Eldredge ponders the possibility that war, famine, disease or ecological devastation will make humans extinct. Brockman (The Third Culture) and Matson (Short Lives) are literary agents. (May)