What's Next?: Dispatches on the Future of Science

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, May 26, 2009 - Science - 256 pages
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Will climate change force a massive human migration to the Northern Rim?

How does our sense of morality arise from the structure of the brain?

What does the latest research in language acquisition tells us about the role of culture in the way we think?

What does current neurological research tell us about the nature of time?

This wide-ranging collection of never-before-published essays offers the very latest insights into the daunting scientific questions of our time. Its contributors—some of the most brilliant young scientists working today—provide not only an introduction to their cutting-edge research, but discuss the social, ethical, and philosophical ramifications of their work. With essays covering fields as diverse as astrophysics, paleoanthropology, climatology, and neuroscience, What's Next? is a lucid and informed guide to the new frontiers of science.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

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The latest developments in science are the source of enduring fascination, by both the insiders and outsiders of the scientific community. Even more fascinating are the speculations about what may lay just around the corner, within next few years or decades of scientific research. The future always tends to be more exciting than even the most amazing advances of today. In that respect, this book is a very good overview of the status of some of the most advanced current research and the directions in which it is headed. It is written by many young but well established experts in the field, and they are the best guide to all the upcoming developments. Their presentation of their own work is well geared towards a general reader, and overall they tell some very interesting and compelling stories. If you are at all interested in science, this will be an engaging read. However, it is not always clear if some of the predictions that are offered here are based on solid scientific understanding of where that particular field is headed, or are they more of a wishful thinking at the author's part. Another thing that I don't like about this book is the lack of diversity among the chosen scientific topics. Most of the chapters are dedicated to one of the three main themes: fundamental Physics, human mind and behavior, or climate change. The reader will thus get a rather skewed and unbalanced view of the kinds of research that are done these days. 

Contents

Mirror Neurons Are We Ethical
16
How to Enhance Human Beings
25
Our Place in an Unnatural Universe
40
The early universe is hot and dense the late universe is cold
46
Just What Is Dark Energy?
52
Development of the Social Brain
68
Watching Minds lntera ct
77
Perhaps the least anticipated contribution of brain imaging
83
Fruit Flies of the Moral Mind
104
How Does Our Language Shape the Way
116
Memory Enhancement Memory Erasure
130
The Vital Importance of
144
Brain Time
155
Out of Our Minds How Did
170
The Aliens Among Us
185
How Did the Social Insects Become Social?
197

What Makes Big Ideas Sticky?
89

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About the author (2009)

Max Brockman is an agent at Brockman, Inc. a literary and software agency. He lives in New York City.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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