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Science at the Edge: Conversations with the…

Science at the Edge: Conversations with the Leading Scientific Thinkers of…

by John Brockman (Editor)

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703171,029 (3.2)1



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Some very interesting, although somewhat dated, articles. However, many deal with astronomy and cosmology. If you glaze over like I tend to on the details of these subjects, you probably won't enjoy this collection as much as the annual Best of Nature and Science Writing collections. These have a much broader and less theoretical scope. ( )
  whg99 | Feb 3, 2010 |
A collection of essays, and interviews edited into essays, by various scientists and science-based intellectuals. Actually, almost all of them are by evolutionary psychologists, computer scientists, or cosmologists, presumably because those are considered the most controversial and cutting-edge fields at the moment. The book itself, however, is not especially cutting-edge; it's a reprint of a collection that appeared in 2003 under a different title, and while the cover says "updated edition," it didn't seem to have been updated very much to me. Surprisingly little in it is glaringly out of date, but nothing in it seems particularly new, either.

Most of these pieces are pretty short, which means it was a quicker read than I was expecting, but also that it wasn't terribly satisfying. Few of the essays felt like they were doing much more than scratching the surface of their subjects.

Worse, the editing is terrible. There's one particular section in which it's painfully obvious that the text was transcribed from verbal presentations by someone completely unfamiliar with the science in question. Some of the resulting errors, such as referring to the COBE satellite as "the Kobe satellite" were vaguely amusing, but others, such as repeatedly representing a figure that was clearly supposed to be ten to the 90th power as "1,090" were unforgivable. Worse still, three out of the four pieces in that section were simply less polished versions of works by the same authors that appeared later in the book. I'm half inclined to believe that these were included by mistake, because otherwise I simply cannot imagine what the heck anyone involved was thinking.

Rating: 2.5/5. Most of the individual authors probably deserve better, but the editor deserves a smack in the face. ( )
  bragan | Aug 13, 2009 |
Essays by scientists on the leading edge of research to date. Some are more engaging than others, but a lot depends on the reader's field of interest. The grand questions of physics are still looking for answers. ( )
  booklog | May 4, 2009 |
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