Know This

Know This

Today's Most Interesting and Important Scientific Ideas, Discoveries, and Developments

Book - 2017 | First edition.
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Today's most visionary thinkers reveal the cutting-edge scientific ideas and breakthroughs you must understand.

Scientific developments radically change and enlighten our understanding of the world -- whether it's advances in technology and medical research or the latest revelations of neuroscience, psychology, physics, economics, anthropology, climatology, or genetics. And yet amid the flood of information today, it's often difficult to recognize the truly revolutionary ideas that will have lasting impact. In the spirit of identifying the most significant new theories and discoveries, John Brockman, publisher of ("The world's smartest website" -- The Guardian), asked 198 of the finest minds What do you consider the most interesting recent scientific news? What makes it important?

Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond on the best way to understand complex problems * author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics Carlo Rovelli on the mystery of black holes * Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker on the quantification of human progress * TED Talks curator Chris J. Anderson on the growth of the global brain * Harvard cosmologist Lisa Randall on the true measure of breakthrough discoveries * Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek on why the twenty-first century will be shaped by our mastery of the laws of matter * philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein on the underestimation of female genius * music legend Peter Gabriel on tearing down the barriers between imagination and reality * Princeton physicist Freeman Dyson on the surprising ability of small (and cheap) upstarts to compete with billion-dollar projects. Plus Nobel laureate John C. Mather, Sun Microsystems cofounder Bill Joy, Wired founding editor Kevin Kelly, psychologist Alison Gopnik, Genome author Matt Ridley, Harvard geneticist George Church, Why Does the World Exist? author Jim Holt, anthropologist Helen Fisher, and more.

Publisher: New York : Harper Perennial, [2017]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780062562067
Branch Call Number: 500 KNO
Characteristics: xxviii, 573 pages ;,21 cm
Additional Contributors: Brockman, John 1941-


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Sep 19, 2017

The usual collection of science essays. Yes, even laymen now know that the standard model of physics has big problems, has been stalemated for decades (the higgs boson being the only twitch of progress for a long time).
The only essay that introduced significant new research to me was "Inequality of wealth and income: a runaway process", by S. Raza. We all know that liberal democracies are collapsing under the weight of their own greed, that the poor are voting for populist ignoramuses like Trump because they know damn well that their pious leaders are just shills for the rich- but Raza, introducing Piketty's research to us, shows us how.
I personally liked the essay, "Religious Morality is Mostly Below the Belt": 'It is sex, marriage, and reproduction - and not trust, honesty, and generosity- that lie at the core of moralization for most practitioners of the world religions.", but then science is great at accurately pointing out the foibles of religion(s) but is conspicuously silent at criticizing its own feet of clay [extinction of human race? powered by technology, but not our responsibility, oh goodness no!] Scientists are virtually all completely oblivious to their own madness. A beautiful illustration is the end of a piece on a new algorithm to solve graph isomorphism that apparently may accelerate quantum computing. He ends, "the point goes beyond that, and has to do with the dignity of the human race. If, in millions of years, aliens come across the ruins of our civilization, and dig up our digital archives, i'd like them to know that humans killed themselves off, at least we managed to figure out the graph-isomorphism problem is solvable in quasi-polynomial time and that there exist Boolean functions with superquadratic quantum speedups. So i'm glad to say that they *will* know these things...."
Well, whoopee! Now i know there's an extremely tiny chance that aliens will recover this and similar research from our ruins i feel so much better about our collective suicide.

Jun 20, 2017

A short collection of fascinating reads

May 16, 2017

A collection of short essays from various scholars, journalists and celebrities on their view of the most fascinating news story of 2015. There is a great deal of topics covered in this book, including but not limited to Physics, Biology, Artificial Intelligence, Psychology, Sociology, Neuroscience, Anthropology, Astronomy etc. Though the topics are varied and some complex for the most part the essays are easy to follow.Worth it if you are interested.

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