cover image The Virgin and the Mousetrap

The Virgin and the Mousetrap

Chet Raymo. Viking Books, $18.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-670-83315-3

Boston Globe science columnist Raymo eases the reader gently--perhaps too gently--into a dozen social and ethical problems arising in science. Beginning where science itself began, with the patterns of the night sky, he glides through genetic engineering, creationism, SDI and other topics. Referring to elements of a Flemish altarpiece, a reproduction of which he keeps on his desk, Raymo considers its ``vision of two worlds faith and technology in perfect balance,'' a balance upset by the industrial revolution. Longing for this old order lulls the text; although it deals with the tensions of science past and present, this collection emits only low-frequency signals. (Aug.)