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What's Next

Dispatches on the Future of Science
Narrated by: Erik Davies, Kirsten Potter
Length: 7 hrs and 14 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (73 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

In 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.

©2009 Max Brockman (P)2009 Random House

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Worth the Time

Max Brockman has done a great service by producing "What's Next?" The book is a series of brief "papers" on various science topics each making current research questions and science issues available to the general public. The first by Laurence Smith, "Will We Decamp for the Northern Rim?," places what we know about aspects of global warming into persepective. Katerina Harvati in "Extinction and the Evolution of Humankind" addresses this environmental issue and its implications. Another by Nick Bostrom, "How to Enhance Human Beings," considers brain enhancement. Steven Alexander brings us up to date with "Just What is Dark Entergy?"

There are a number of papers related to the latest research in pscyhological science and neuroplasticity. Deena Weisberg speaks to the importance of imagination. Engleman approaches our perception of time and how it is changing.

This is a wonderful compilation of fine science writing with something for everyone. The topics have public policy implications, raise philosophical and ethical concerns, and generally informs anyone taking the time to listen.

Well written and well read.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Fascinating

I love to hear it straight from the mouth of those doing the work, and this book delivers exactly that.

I also found it interesting to see the effect the internet has had on this generation of scientists, especially in the psychology fields - they're all focused on distributed network theories. Very interesting.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Selections that Seem Likely to be Important

The book contains about a dozen short essays by young (e.g., 30) very prominent scientists about their work.

I read this kind of book about every 2 years; its part of trying to learn what I need to learn about. The trouble is that this type book tends to disappoint. Either they talk about things like jet packs, which were novel 40 years ago, but are hardly interesting today. Or they talk about things like living on Mars or Artificial Inelegance, which seem likely to remain beyond the state of the art for a while. In my opinion this book excels because of its ability to avoid both pitfalls. The choice of topics focuses on things like brain research that are pretty likely to increase in importance over the next 15 years, to a level of some prominence.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Truly inspiring!

I just loved this book!
First, it's more about neuroscience than all of Science, but this field is discovering so many amazing things, that was the best choice.
Knowing, not just guessing, how you're brain works and can trick you is mind boggling (pun intended).
I truly learned something deep in here...

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating Research Summaries

I found this book fascinating and perfect for auto traveling. The short pieces highlight important new findings in a number of fields. I particularly enjoyed the sections on cognitive neuroscience. I will probably purchase the hard copy book also because it would be nice to have reference materials to continue my research on some of the areas noted in the recording.

1 person found this helpful