Book Review: What’s Next: Dispatches on the Future of Science

Author: edited by Max Brockman
Title: What’s Next: Dispatches on the Future of Science
Publication Info: New York : Vintage Books, 2009.
ISBN:  9780307389312


This short book is a collection of essays about the future of science and was a nice illuminating read.  Oddly enough, much of the material was already familiar to a dilettante like myself which I guess shows the efficacy of listening to podcasts of Radiolab and Scientific American.  The title is a little misleading as the majority of this book is “what’s now” with the authors not speculating much about the future, which is good science.  Popular topics among the essays are climate change, neurology as it relates to memory, language, and morality, and human evolution.  Favorite essays include Lera Boroditsky: “How Does Our Language Shape The Way We Think?”, Nathan Wolfe: “The Aliens Among Us” (about viruses), and Katerina Harvarti: “Extinction and the Evolution of Humankind.”  This is a good book to pick up if you’re interested in a quick overview of contemporary scientific research.

Recommended books: Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science–From the Babylonians to the Maya by Dick Teresi, Thumbs, Toes, and Tears: And Other Traits That Make Us Human by Chip Walter
Rating: ***

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