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Future Science: Essays from the Cutting Edge

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Future Science: Essays from the Cutting Edge [Paperback]

Max Brockman
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 9, 2011 0307741915 978-0307741912 Original
Editor Max Brockman presents the work of some of today’s brightest and most innovative young researchers in this fascinating collection of writings that introduce the very latest theories and discoveries in science.
Future Science features eighteen young scientists, most of whom are presenting their work and ideas to a general audience for the first time. Included in this collection are

* William McEwan, a virologist, discussing his research into the biology of antiviral immunity

* Naomi Eisenberger, a neuroscientist, wondering how social rejection affects us physically

* Jon Kleinberg, a computer scientist, showing what massive datasets can teach us about society and ourselves

* Anthony Aguirre, a physicist, who gives readers a tantalizing glimpse of infinity

Future Science shares with the world a delightful secret that we academics have been keeping—that despite all the hysteria about how electronic media are dumbing down the next generation, a tidal wave of talent has been flooding into science, making their elders feel like the dumb ones. . . . It has a wealth of new and exciting ideas, and will help shake up our notions regarding the age, sex, color, and topic clichés of the current public perception of science.”
—Steven Pinker, author of The Stuff of Thought

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Future Science: Essays from the Cutting Edge + This Will Change Everything: Ideas That Will Shape the Future (Edge Question Series) + This Explains Everything: Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works (Edge Question Series)
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Editorial Reviews


“A title wave of talent. . . . A wealth of new and exciting ideas."
—Stephen Pinker, author of The Stuff of Thought

“I would have killed for books like this when I was a student!”
—Brian Eno
“This remarkable collection of fluent and fascinating essays reminds me that there is almost nothing as spine-tinglingly exciting as glimpsing a new nugget of knowledge for the first time. These young scientists give us a treasure trove of precious new insights.”
—Matt Ridley, author of The Red Queen and Rational Optimism
“A good overview of what’s happening in today’s laboratories.”
“A glimpse of how today’s daring science is defining tomorrow’s lines for inquiry. . . . Readers will delight in the complexity of its exciting mosaic.”
Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Max Brockman is the vice president of Brockman, Inc., a literary agency, and the editor of What’s Next? Dispatches on the Future of Science. He also works with the Edge Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit organization that publishes the Edge newsletter ( He lives in New York City.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Original edition (August 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307741915
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307741912
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #954,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you're not already aware, this is a set of essays by young-ish scientists at the forefronts of their fields. In general, these essays are very accessible. The only one I really had to work to understand was Anthony Aguirre's essay about infinity. I personally found the essays about the mind and reasoning to be of particular interest. Fiery Cushman's discussion of moral luck and philosophy as a science broadened my conception of both topics. In addition, I've always kind of thought of the self and the mind as being somewhat separate from the body, and Liane Young's essay "How We Read People's Moral Minds" made me directly confront and deal with that belief. There are many other fascinating essays relevant to your everyday life, and I recommend this book for the generally and broadly inquisitive reader.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stand Back, I'm Going To Review Science February 15, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Coming from a non-science background, but still being interested in the sciences, I wanted something that would be readable but not dumbed down. This book is it. If you click within the Amazon page, you will see the synopses for each essay. As with any edited collection, there are highs and lows. I'll focus on my highs. Kevin Hand's exploration of the waters of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn is a highlight of the collection. It's greatly informative about the possibilities for life on those moons. Similarly, Kleinberg's essay about data sets and what they mean for us as a species left me thinking about the ramifications for a few hours afterwards. Other standouts, for me, is Eisenberg's essay on Rejection, Cushman's essay on Luck and the Law, and the final essay by Chiao about human diversity. Chiao's essay is actually pretty damn wonderful with its final paragraphs that focus on cultural neuroscience.

Though I don't have a science background, I do read about certain fields, namely genetics, on a regular basis. I think that's what makes this collection good. You can find readable essays in a wide variety of fields. You can do as I did and read them all (in one day actually since it is roughly 250 pages on the Kindle) or you can pick and choose based on your interests. But I recommend reading them all.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great 'first annual' debut October 2, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
As a technologist in a niche, keeping up with the leading edge across many disciplines is impossible but I do try. Out of summary curiosity I bought this entry to the technology survey venue. Future Science hopes to continue as an annual tradition. I hope the editor is successful.

I read dozens of niche and near-niche research outputs per year. The task of picking the cream of the crop from the universe of dissertations and research is a formidable task. Here, you get an excellent set of a few pages more than the abstract and conclusion. The subject matter expert must work to frame their research in approachable, understandable and easily extrapolated `into the future' terms. Every entry succeeds in that mission.

The collection 5-star satisfied my appetite.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, But Less Technical Than I Anticipated August 19, 2014
By Chris H
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The essays are all on subjects that interest me, well-written, and don't seem to be fringe science (a concern with any "leading edge" book).

Maybe coming at this from the vantage point of a few years later has ruined it, but I wish it were quite a bit more technical. I think it's clearly written for a very general audience.

I'm still happy I bought it, it's just not entirely what I thought it would be. If you don't have any background you'll still do just fine :)
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
"We'd certainly be better off if everyone sampled the fabulous Edge symposium, which, like the best in science, is modest and daring all at once." -- David Brooks, NY Times

Academia, with its somewhat slow coping structure and fixed traditions, resisted needs for a review of the outdated programs that could redefine a description of effective science and arts education curricula, worthy of the 21st century. Harvard Dean Summers has lately called for a more interdisciplinary approach to learning, that looks at the foundational objectives of a number of curriculum areas, in order to dissolve the boundaries of areas of study and encourage learning across the curriculum. Although he could not sell his pursued agenda, he has been vindicated recently by Cornell's Martin Bernal in the 'Black Athena debate'. While Academia, may appear a strange place whenever looked at from outside, the outsiders are blocked from looking in on the research being done by this next generation of scientists, some of whom will go on to become leading actors and communicators of science.

Editor Max Brockman presents eighteen essays of some of the most promising and creative investigators and innovative writers in this collection of intellectual research that arouses great interest, in order to introduce most recent theses, concepts and scientific speculation. He believes this opacity, confined to academic journals, was the drive behind the first essay collection in this intellectual series, he edits. "Future Science" is presenting to American readers and science enthusiasts eighteen youthful scientists, most of whom are offering their writings to general readers for the first time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent collection of scientific essays.
Published 18 months ago by K. J. Reed
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent book
Published 22 months ago by steop22
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellence
The product was received in a timely order and was exactly as described. Well done, I am pleased with the service.
Published on January 15, 2013 by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun collection of essays
Brockman managed to take a bunch of academics, and get them to write about their field in not only a way that was accessible and understandable to the layman, but also explain why... Read more
Published on September 18, 2012 by Ninakix
4.0 out of 5 stars Some Good, Some OK
This is a mix. None of the essays were inferior and a few were really good. Most of them were just interesting. This is a small collection considering the topic. Read more
Published on August 11, 2012 by Book Fanatic
5.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to leading research
The book gives a good over-view of current research. I liked the opening essay by Kevin Hand on ocean exploration.
Published on July 9, 2012 by MK
4.0 out of 5 stars Cutting Edge Research
Max Brockman in Future Science provides essays by a number of cutting edge researchers about their work. Read more
Published on February 13, 2012 by Lynn
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting reading
The book contains a good selection of essays about science "at the edge", although it is biased towards psychology and mind. Read more
Published on January 20, 2012 by pavelpar
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