Host of the NPR program Science Friday, Flatow converts his interviews into this survey of contemporary currents in science. Each article bears traces of its broadcast origin, featuring one or several individuals and Flatow's reportage of what they say, backed by Flatow's contextual explanation of great questions within his interviewee's area of expertise. The brain, the cosmos, nanotechnology, and stem-cell research are some hot topics, and Flatow ably draws out scientists' differing viewpoints, as with a duel pitting string theorist Brian Greene against string critic Lee Smolin (The Trouble with Physics, 2006). Global warming's front-page status is represented, but was Flatow's best "get" on this subject a San Francisco minister rather than a real scientist? Better balanced is his treatment of energy, which covers advantages and disadvantages of coal, nuclear, solar, wind, and biofuel sources. Totaling about 30 topics, Flatow's collection also exhibits an eclectic bent, such as the explanation for why shower heads pull shower curtains inward. Cultivating the curiosity essential to finding science interesting, Flatow produces a varied introduction to the topic. Taylor, Gilbert
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About the Author
Ira Flatow is the host and executive producer of Talk of the Nation: Science Friday®. He is the author of Rainbows, Curve Balls, and They All Laughed. He lives in Connecticut.