• At the Edge of Uncertainty

  • 11 Discoveries Taking Science by Surprise
  • By: Michael Brooks
  • Narrated by: Sean Runnette
  • Length: 9 hrs and 12 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, World
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (1,107 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

The best-selling author of Free Radicals takes listeners on a whirlwind tour of the most controversial areas of modern science.

The atom, the big bang, DNA, natural selection - all are ideas that have revolutionized science; and all were dismissed out of hand when they first appeared. The surprises haven't stopped in recent years, and in At the Edge of Uncertainty, best-selling author Michael Brooks investigates the new wave of radical insights that are shaping the future of scientific discovery.

Brooks takes us to the extreme frontiers of what we understand about the world. He journeys from the observations that might rewrite our story of how the cosmos came to be, through the novel biology behind our will to live, and on to the physiological root of consciousness. Along the way, he examines how it's time to redress the gender imbalance in clinical trials, explores how merging humans with other species might provide a solution to the shortage of organ donors, and finds out whether the universe really is like a computer or if the flow of time is a mere illusion.

©2014 Michael Brooks (P)2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about At the Edge of Uncertainty

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Adequete but mostly rehash of other books

Zombies aren't real and they don't help in explaining consciousness, quantum computers and epigenetics are real (and cool), gender makes a difference in drug efficacy, entanglement is cool, time is not a part of physics, and the big bang theory doesn't explain everything and has some problems. All those concepts are explored in this book and probably are familiar to any regular listener of Audible's pop science books.

Science is not perfect and speculation beyond what we currently accept is worth while, but to make a book really worth my while tell me things I don't already know. This book fails at telling me things I haven't read elsewhere.

If you're not too familiar with pop science books, this book provides a good essay approach to a lot of interesting topics (with a little bit too much speculation, though), but for almost everyone else I would recommend skipping this book. (Except, the section on epigenetics did standout and the understanding about the importance of epigenetics needs to be more widely understood).

9 people found this helpful

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All smoke, no fire

I get it. You're not going to have a ton of solid evidence if you're looking at things beyond the current understanding of science. But you should have a lot of evidence that has lead you to explore them and has given you a degree of certainty that we are on the verge of breakthroughs in them.

Unfortunately this book doesn't. It simply uses developing areas of science as a launchpad to go hog wild prurporting old crackpot ideas as plausible explanations. Most are not only junk science, but honestly not even very imaginative either.

There were so many ideas put forth as "new" thinking that were just plain tired old hypotheses that have all been more or less picked over for years.

And the narrator... Awe, GAWD. Think of Dick Cheney with braces. If I heard his Jim Carey tooth whistle one more more time, I'd have torn my ears off.

Tripe.

Run.

176 people found this helpful

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why do they hire these awful readers? i

i dom't understand how someone reading can be so dissociated from the material. they might as well just have it read by a computer program.

67 people found this helpful

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Fascinating and Accessible

Any additional comments?

As an avid reader/listener with a limited science background, I appreciated the author's narrative, conversational style dealing with a number of daunting subjects including quantum physics and chimeras. I enjoyed the pleasant and warm tone of the narrator.

36 people found this helpful

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Good stuff!

Cool!
Great narrative and description of today's greatest achievements! Well built up! Would recommend of you want a simple overview of complex world -changing discoveries

21 people found this helpful

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It's interesting with out being rigorous

Those that have a scientific background will it over simplified. But its simplicity is part of its charm. It makes science "personable".

3 people found this helpful

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Played too fast and loose

I found the first part of the book informative and interesting. However, as it got to later sections I felt that the author was torturing facts to fit a narrative. Too often a minority view was presented as more dominant and some “facts” were either wrong or not right in the way. An explanation that was of the problem of simultaneity was presented as the problem of causality. That is only for an issue of problems with Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc, which does not actually tell us about causality.

I had to reassess what was presented earlier because I feel like I cannot place enough faith in the Edgar was said and presented as facts.

1 person found this helpful

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No answers but very interesting questions

I worry that this book could be used by anti- science people to score points with the religious idiots out there, but I quite enjoyed looking at the open questions in science.

1 person found this helpful

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SCIENCE'S UNCERTAINTY

Michael Brooks tests a layman’s knowledge of science and technology in his book, “At the Edge of Uncertainty”. Brooks’ book title infers that scientists are as uncertain about sciences’ truth as the general public. The only difference between scientists and the general public is that scientists know they do not know. One presumes that is a step in the right direction but it is highly discomfiting. Brooks makes one less comfortable by explaining how the origin and physiology of life is haphazardly tinkered with by science.

“At the Edge of Uncertainty” will make careful listeners anxious and curious; maybe hopeful, maybe not.

1 person found this helpful

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Rambling and off focus

I read quite a few books about the frontiers of science and when I saw this one was available through a special deal I pounced on it. Unfortunately, it suffers from a number of serious flaws.

First and foremost, this book isn't about 11 discoveries, it's about discoveries in 11 broad areas. For instance, in one chapter they go from talking about quantum effects in photosynthesis to the idea that our universe is a hologram to the idea that our universe is a computer. Yes, these all involved research in quantum physics, but it's a huge stretch to say they are a single discovery.

This gives the book an overall feeling of flitting from topic to topic without ever really exhausting a single topic. It more like a road tour of science but the attractions are driven by too quickly to fully grasp and to slowly to provide a sense of excitement.

7 people found this helpful