What's Next?: Dispatches on the Future of Science : Original Essays from a New Generation of Scientists
Vintage Books, 2009 - Science - 237 pages
Max Brockmanis an agent at Brockman, Inc. a literary and software agency. He lives in New York City.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.“A preview of the ideas you're going to be reading about in ten years.”
—Steven Pinker, author ofThe Stuff of Thought
“If these authors are the future of science, then the science of the future will be one exciting ride! Find out what the best minds of the new generation are thinking before the Nobel Committee does”
—Daniel Gilbert, author ofStumbling on HappinessMax Brockman:Preface
Laurence C. Smith:Will We Decamp for the Northern Rim?
At stake is no less than the global pattern of human settlement in the twenty-first century.
Christian Keysers:Mirror Neurons: Are We Ethical by Nature?
Evolution has equipped our brains with circuits that enable us to experience what other individuals do and feel.
Nick Bostrom:How to Enhance Human Beings
Given our rudimentary understanding of the human organism, particularly the brain, how can we hope to enhance such a system? It would amount to outdoing evolution. . . .
Sean Carroll:Our Place in an Unnatural Universe
The early universe is hot and dense; the late universe is cold and dilute. Well . . . why is it like that? The truth is, we have no idea.
Stephon H. S. Alexander:Just What Is Dark Energy?
Dark energy, itself directly unobservable, is the most bewildering substance known, the only “stuff” that acts both on subatomic scales and across the largest distances in the cosmos.
Sarah-Jayne Blakemore:Development of the Social Brain in Adolescence
Using modern brain-imaging techniques, scientists are discovering that the human brain does indeed change well beyond early childhood.
Jason P. Mitchell:Watching Minds Interact
Perhaps the least anticipated contribution of brain imaging to psychological science has been a sudden appreciation for the centrality of social thought to the human mental repertoire.
Matthew D. Lieberman:What Makes Big Ideas Sticky?
Big Ideas sometimes match the structure and function of the human brain such that the brain causes us to see the world in ways that make it virtually impossible not to believe them.
Joshua D. Greene:Fruit Flies of the Moral Mind
People often speak of a “moral faculty” or a “moral sense,” suggesting that moral judgment is a unified phenomenon, but recent advances in the scientific study of moral judgment paint a very different picture.
Lera Boroditsky:How Does Our Language Shape the Way We Think?
Language is a uniquely human gift, central to our experience of being human. Appreciating its role in constructing our mental lives brings us one step closer to understanding the very nature of humanity.
Sam Cooke:Memory Enhancement, Memory Erasure: The Future of Our Past
Once we come t
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