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Publisher's Summary

In Reinventing Discovery, Michael Nielsen argues that we are living at the dawn of the most dramatic change in science in more than 300 years. This change is being driven by powerful new cognitive tools, enabled by the internet, which are greatly accelerating scientific discovery. There are many books about how the internet is changing business or the workplace or government. But this is the first book about something much more fundamental: how the internet is transforming the nature of our collective intelligence and how we understand the world.

Reinventing Discovery tells the exciting story of an unprecedented new era of networked science. We learn, for example, how mathematicians in the Polymath Project are spontaneously coming together to collaborate online, tackling and rapidly demolishing previously unsolved problems. We learn how 250,000 amateur astronomers are working together in a project called Galaxy Zoo to understand the large-scale structure of the Universe, and how they are making astonishing discoveries, including an entirely new kind of galaxy. These efforts are just a small part of the larger story told in this book - the story of how scientists are using the internet to dramatically expand our problem-solving ability and increase our combined brainpower.

This is a book for anyone who wants to understand how the online world is revolutionizing scientific discovery today - and why the revolution is just beginning.

©2012 Michael Nielsen (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"This is the book on how networks will drive a revolution in scientific discovery; definitely recommended." (Tyler Cowen, author of The Great Stagnation)
"Science has always been a contact sport; the interaction of many minds is the engine of the discipline. Michael Nielsen has given us an unparalleled account of how new tools for collaboration are transforming scientific practice. Reinventing Discovery doesn't just help us understand how the sciences are changing, it shows us how we can participate in the change." (Clay Shirky, author of Here Comes Everybody and Cognitive Surplus)
"This wonderful book is a pleasure to read. Michael Nielsen writes in an authoritative yet clear, concise, and accessible style, making an informative and compelling case for open, networked science and how to achieve it." (William Dutton, director of the Oxford Internet Institute)

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  • Pam
  • United States
  • 01-02-14

How the Internet is transforming science

If you laid out the books "The Tipping Point," "We Are Anonymous" and "Freakonomics," this book would neatly fill the empty space among them. While "Reinventing Discovery" details specific examples of how the Internet is enabling new forms of scientific collaboration today, it draws attention to the cultural aspects of our networked existence, and this is where I found the book most interesting. With so many people willing to participate in large, networked endeavors, maybe we really are on the cusp of finding new ways to fund and perform scientific research. I wish I could read the sequel that's going to come out decades from now, explaining how all these trends played out.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Like drinking water from a fire hydrant

I'm heavily involved in network science. I've read many books on the topic including The Wisdom of Crowds, Wikinomix and many others. This is the first one it is very practically oriented. Reading the book was quite a challenge. it contains so many practical advice that I had to frequently pause to take notes and process the information. It's not your usual common-knowlledge rhetorics about how the world is flat and how we're becoming more interconnected. this one is a practical guide on how to advanced network science.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Better than Wisdom of Crowds

If you were one of the many people who excitedly picked up a copy of "wisdom of crowds" only to be disappointed when you realized that the passion with which the author wrote was matched only by the confirmation bias that accompanied it, then you will be extremely happy about this book. It's too looks at the role of collaboration in generating a finished product, but unlike wisdom of crowds, it is a solidly researched contribution to the field of network research.

The author looks at both the value and challenges of sharing data in the scientific community.

Great arguments, solid writing. I really enjoyed this book quite a bit and highly recommend it.

  • Overall

Very good analysis

I learned a lot. This book has inspired me.
A lot of collaborative projects are described and the author identifies what are the patterns which make such projects successful.

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  • Daisy
  • 09-23-16

narration did not get on with me and it repeatedly

repeatedly said the same thing in various complicated ways

interesting idea though, but it could have been like 1 chapter long and made the same points more succinctly.