Einstein, Gertrude Stein, Wittgenstein and Frankenstein: Reinventing the Universe

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0670804800 Brand new 1st edition as issued in illus. hardcover, slight shelfwear, NO marks!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Brockman (By the Late John Brockman and Afterwords continues to demonstrate that he is among the most imaginative, informed and witty of today's science writers. His title names the figures he sees as shapers of modern consciousness (he considers the story of Frankenstein to have foreshadowed the current notion of artificial intelligence). The book examines the most profound problems facing contemporary scientists while analyzing the theories they propose from the most advanced perspectives. Brockman's coverage of current astrophysics, with its emphasis on the Big Bang and the ``inflationary scenario,'' leads into admirably focused discussions of quantum theory and the ``biological universe'' opened up by the new molecular physics. Finally he reviews the cream of avant-garde scientific thinking today, 10 chapters filled with startling insights into the ``mathematical universe'' and the cosmic holism of David Bohm, Rupert Sheldrake and others whose ventures into ``meta-physics'' relate to Brockman's view that we are constantly ``re-inventing'' the universe. (March)
Library Journal
These two works on epistemology and the scientific method challenge the reader in different ways. Both offer the authors' perceptions of what scientists really do, as opposed to what they say they do. Brockman's idiosyncratic thesis is that scientists invent the universe, rather than discover it. That is, instead of exploring reality, empirical descriptions tend to create it. Brockman's synopsis of major current scientific advances and hypotheses is not exhaustive, but it makes for highly interesting reading. Heavy on theory, he depicts events and notions that have fascinated him personally, and that lend themselves to what he calls ``human imaging.'' Einstein's theory of relativity, von Heinsenberg's uncertainty principle, Watson and Crick's double helix, and McClintock's jumping genes all figure prominently here in fitting together the pieces of the cosmic puzzle. Berlinski's skeptical excursion through laboratories and academic institutions generates a realistic sense of the actual practice of scientific research. With urbane wit, Berlinski shows the sometimes wild uncertainty, the uneasy groping in the dark for tenable ideas, even the unseemly influences of personalities and prejudices in the formulation of theory and development of empirical knowledge. Berlinski feels that most scientists are severely limited in their understanding of the world, because it is based on the long- outmoded mechanistic model of Newtonian physics. For their unscientific tendencies, he lambasts AI, neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory, and generative grammar. Berlinski displays a wry sense of humor and refreshing irreverence. Both books are recommended for most libraries. Robert Paustian, Wilkes Coll. Lib., Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670804801
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/4/1986
  • Pages: 307
  • Product dimensions: 20.00 (w) x 20.00 (h) x 20.00 (d)

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