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Reinventing the Future: Conversations With the World's Leading Scientists

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0201407952
ISBN-10: 0201407957
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

More a "recollection of what has been discovered" than a vision of what may be, this collection of question-and-answer interviews with 11 scientists who have explored new territory in their fields offers a view of science as process. Bass ( The Eudaemonic Pie ) speaks with sociobiologist Sarah Hrdy, Nigerian psychiatrist Thomas Adeoye Lambo, chaos theorist Norman Packard, geneticist Mary-Claire King and others whose fields include anthropology, archeology and AIDS epidemiology. The format of brief question and lengthy response captures the individual voices of the interviewees and yields engaging, informative reading. Several of the pieces originally appeared in Omni magazine during the last five years. While some of the material here falls well behind the cutting edge of current science, readers will find this collection provocative and intriguing.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Bass ( The Eudaemonic Pie , LJ 5/1/84; Camping with the Prince and other Tales of Science in Africa , LJ 2/1/90) interviewed 11 scientists from different fields to reveal their respective inspirations, motivations, and aspirations. The subtitle describing them as the world's leading scientists is arguable, but there is no doubt that the subjects are renowned in their respective fields. The interviewees include Luc Montagnier, discoverer of the AIDS virus; Etienne-Emile Baulieu, a biochemist and physician who helped develop RU-486, the "abortion pill"; Mary-Claire King, a geneticist who isolated the gene responsible for inherited breast cancer; and Bert Sakmann, a co-winner of the Nobel Prize in medicine and physiology in 1992. The individual chapters provide insight into the ideas and accomplishments of each researcher, but the book as a whole lacks a focal point. For larger science collections.
- Bruce Slutsky, New Jersey Inst. of Technology Lib., Newark
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley (October 20, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0201407957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0201407952
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,194,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Philippe Vandenbroeck VINE VOICE on August 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
In my experience, the 'conversation' format invariable leads to interesting books. Bass' 'Reinventing the Future' is no exception. There are 11 conversations with leading scientists, spread over 240 pages. That means that every scientist gets sufficient space to explore his or her ideas in depth. The selection of people is imaginative: there is a mix of discipline, gender, culture and character which is well judged. The conversations are invariably well crafted; it's obvious that Bass has done his homework very well. A number of chapters are so insightful that I keep returning to this book again and again. James Black, a pharmacologist who discovered cimetidine and beta blockers, offers a view on pharmaceutical Discovery research which, at the time of the interview (1989), must have been simply visionary. I also derived much insight from Thomas Adeoye Lambo's fusion of Western and traditional ideas on mental illness when studying psychotics and schizophrenics in the villages of his native Nigeria. As an update on important scientific theories this book is slightly dated by now. But as an account of how great scientific personalities work it remains as fresh and relevant as when it was written.
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Format: Hardcover
Exploring the state of the world, Bass spent hours, sometimes days, with 11 of today's ground-breaking scientists. He distilled the results, keeping the interview format and dispensing.

He discusses sex and female strategies with behavioral biologist Sarah Hrdy, AIDS research with Luc Montagnier, the French scientist who first isolated the virus, space-age archaelogy with geologist and Apollo scientist Farouk El-Baz, artificial intelligence and selfish genes with zoologist Richard Dawkins. Many of the pieces naturally concern AIDS, medical breakthroughs and gene research.

Perhaps the book's most thoughtful piece is "Plague," the interview with Dr. Jonathan Mann, founder of the Global Program on AIDS. Mann's persepective on social and human rights implications is thorough, calm and flawlessly reasoned. His measured tone seems to rob the issue of its polarizing energy, fitting AIDS into the context of modern life and technological advances.

Bass' interviews are well organized, integrating personal background with scientific method and discovery and speculations on future advances.
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