At the Edge of Uncertainty: 11 Discoveries Taking Science by Surprise

Michael Brooks. Overlook, $27.95, (304p) ISBN 978-1-4683-1059-7
Brooks (Free Radicals), a consultant at New Scientist, highlights numerous areas of research that give pause to many scientists and throw lay readers into confusion in this challenging and mind-bending work. This confusion follows in no part from Brooks's skills as a writer and explicator of science, but from topics that are difficult to face, whether it be the philosophical morass of human/animal tissue combinations called "chimera" or the startling finding that time as we experience it may well be an illusion. Issues of the nature of consciousness, animal personality, and our part in the "vast computer" that is the universe fill these pages. The hard-to-grasp concept of the Big Bang may, itself, be too simplistic to explain our current universe. Even concepts that aren't intellectually challenging, like the notion that medical practice ought to differ for men and women, strain the status quo of practice. Brooks handily works his way through these thorny problems, highlighting current research and researchers along the way. His goal isn't always to make sense of things, as some scientific work has only reached the stage of pointing out the problems in previously held theories. Perhaps he sums his work up best when he writes "common sense is not a useful guide to reality." (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 02/02/2015
Release date: 02/10/2015
Ebook - 423 pages - 978-1-84765-966-8
Compact Disc - 978-1-4815-0903-9
MP3 CD - 978-1-4815-0902-2
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