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Lake Views: This World and the Universe Reprint Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674062306
ISBN-10: 0674062302
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Weinberg, a co-recipient of the 1979 Nobel Prize for physics, is well known for his articulate essays on many subjects. In this collection, he aims his laser gaze primarily on three areas: science, Israel and religion. Weinberg has been on the realist side of the science wars (asserting that science explains, rather than merely describes, the world), and he revisits that battlefield here. He also ventures into science and politics, expressing skepticism about the need for a missile defense system. Elsewhere he argues against manned exploration of space, saying that probes and robots will always be faster, better, cheaper and certainly safer. Weinberg, long known for his support of Israel, comes out with guns blazing against British academics who organized a short-term boycott of Israeli academic institutions. In the last essay, Without God, Weinberg expresses his atheism without the shrillness of a Dawkins or a Hitchens. These essays started out as dinner speeches, book reviews (some from the New York Review of Books) and other occasional pieces that feel slight (such as a pep talk to postdocs). Nevertheless, Weinberg fans will find nuggets of insight and wisdom. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

It would be putting it mildly to say that Weinberg triumphantly lives up to what it says on the Nobel tin: a true intellectual as well as a brilliant theoretical physicist. (Richard Dawkins)

An excellent collection from an extraordinary physicist. Weinberg is a deep thinker and a graceful writer. (Ken Ford, author of The Quantum World: Quantum Physics for Everyone)

This is a great collection of essays. Steven Weinberg is one of the greatest contemporary physicists. He is also a scholar in a broad sense, a good scholar. Add to this, he writes well. (John S. Rigden, author of Einstein 1905)

Steven Weinberg has become a role model for the rest of us who attempt to communicate to the broader public. No one writing on matters of science or of science and society has more wisdom to impart, nor can they impart it better than Weinberg. Scientists and lay people alike will find this remarkable collection both thought provoking and thoroughly engaging. (Lawrence M. Krauss, Foundation Professor and Director of the Origins Initiative at Arizona State University, and the author of The Physics of Star Trek, and most recently, Hiding in the Mirror, the Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions.)

Steven Weinberg is one of the most highly accomplished and respected scientists in the world. But even among this elite group he holds a unique position as a scientist-scholar and a writer of unparalleled clarity. He has become a role model for the rest of us who attempt to communicate to the broader public. As this second collection of fascinating essays makes manifest, no one writing on matters of science or of science and society has more wisdom to impart, nor can they impart it better than Weinberg. Scientists and lay people alike will find this remarkable collection both thought provoking and thoroughly engaging. (Lawrence M. Krauss, Foundation Professor and Director of the Origins Initiative at Arizona State University, and the author of The Physics of Star Trek, and most recently, Hiding in the Mirror, the Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions.)

Weinberg fans will find nuggets of insight and wisdom. (Publishers Weekly 2009-11-02)

Many of the themes in Weinberg's work remain timeless. He is in his element at the interface between science and philosophy, such as musing what will happen when science reaches a "final theory" that explains all knowable phenomena. The answer? Well, it involves an extended riff including both nuclear-particle decay and Shakespeare, but Weinberg brilliantly illuminates why he thinks humanity can still find purpose in studying the universe through scientific methods...Weinberg can, within several eloquent pages, distill the essence of why science is important...Unlike nearly any writer living today, Weinberg interpolates science, philosophy and history into a rich and meaningful tapestry of our world. (Alexandra Witze Dallas Morning News 2010-01-17)

Of all top-class theoretical physicists no one, apart from Freeman Dyson, writes with the same combination of authority and grace...The overwhelming impression one has when reading Weinberg is that we are seeing the world through the eyes of someone who not only loves physics but regards the physicist's way of looking at the world as uniquely valuable...All physicists will take pleasure from this book. Many others will enjoy it, too...Dawkins' admirers [should] read Weinberg if they are in the least bit curious about modern physics and how a great physicist thinks about science policy. Lake Views is an excellent place to start. (Graham Farmelo Times Higher Education 2010-01-28)

This collection of essays proves once again that Weinberg is more than just a top--tier physicist. He is also one of the few scientists brave enough--and knowledgeable enough--to successfully take on the role of public intellectual...It's essential reading. (Dan Falk New Scientist 2010-02-06)

Steven Weinberg is famous as a scientist, but he thinks deeply and writes elegantly about many other things besides science. This collection of his writings is concerned with history, politics, and science in roughly equal measure. (Freeman Dyson New York Review of Books 2010-06-10)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Belknap Press; Reprint edition (November 30, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674062302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674062306
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,145,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
And, yes, some of them are online, but that doesn't make them any less valuable. I had never heard of the arguement against sending our men and women--and plants and animals--into space; and, now that I have, I'm a believer. Save our money and, perhaps lives, and let robots do the work. Just like we did on the Mars missions. Highly recommended... - lc
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This book describes the sources of modern technology and nuclear science, and then in the second half reviews problems that arise from these sources. Bringing these two themes together, Prof. Weinberg concludes with advice, mainly, that US-Russian safeguards against an accidental ballistic missile launch must be strengthened. One of the most surprising statements in the book is that Prof. Weinberg, even as a Nobel Laureate, has received only minimal attention from the federal government on this essential advice: that while one or a few large terrorist attacks would be horrendous, these are survivable; however, a full-scale accidental launch by Russia would mostly destroy the U.S. One of my interpretations from the book is that the logic and insight which is at the heart of science (the first half of the book) also needs to be steadily applied to the world of politics and international safeguards. Prof. Weinberg is also on the documentary film "Nobelity" and his wisdom is truly needed in the early 21st century.
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A collection of slightly edited talks and articles for NYRB, Physics Today and invited addresses on physics and public affairs by a Nobel Prize winner. Intelligent, perceptive, sound but a little repetitive. I find myself in agreement with his concern that a Russian nuclear response to a mistaken indication of an incoming nuclear attack is the gravest danger facing the US and his views that manned space flight is not the best mission for NASA, that Israel must hold such ground as is necessary to defend itself against the surrounding arabs, that religions are harmful in general and that the Islamic religion is harmful in the extreme, that better education is the primary need of most of the world, and that the challenges and opportunities in modern physics research are very exciting.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a huge admirer of Steven Weinberg. He is a brilliant man and a profound thinker. However, I can only give this book three stars, as most of the articles in it are several years old and available online. I have read several of the essays years before. I would have liked to see more recent work for a $26 book.
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A series of lectures and essays by the famed physicist on subjects from string theory leading into multiverses to his work and opinions on anti-missile systems to his review of Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. There are two interesting essays in defense of Israel and his mystification of why the British and US "liberal left" (of whom he considers himself) are so hostile to the country. He can only conclude that at its core is anti-Semitism.
Where he opines it is with great clarity and critical thought, and where he reports on the latest in particle and high energy physics it is with great regard to the limitations of the lay reader.
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Format: Hardcover
As a fan of Steven Weinberg's writings I enjoyed being able to read his more recent essays under one cover. His book the "First Three Minutes", written in the late 70's helped inspire my interest in physics and astronomy and a subsequent career in science. His recent book on "Cosmology" is Weinberg at his best.

I enjoy the writings and opinions of famous scientists even when they write about non science topics. It gives me a special insight into the kind of person they are often revealing their quirks and biases, and most importantly their occasional falibility in fields outside their domain. This is sometimes evident in Weinberg's writings. After reading his latest book of essays, I feel I got to know him a little better.
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Weinberg is one of the smartest people in the world, and this book proves it again. All intelligent people, not only scientists, should read it.
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