Chelsea Green Publishing

Mind, Life and Universe

eBook: 9781603580373
Pub. Date August 15, 2007

Mind, Life and Universe

Conversations with Great Scientists of Our Time

Edited by Lynn Margulis and Eduardo Punset
Foreword by David Suzuki

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
August 15, 2007

$24.95 $19.96

Nearly forty of the world's most esteemed scientists discuss the big questions that drive their illustrious careers. Co-editor Eduardo Punset—one of Spain's most loved personages for his popularization of the sciences—interviews an impressive collection of characters drawing out the seldom seen personalities of the world's most important men and woman of science. In Mind, Life and Universe they describe in their own words the most important and fascinating aspects of their research. Frank and often irreverent, these interviews will keep even the most casual reader of science books rapt for hours.

Can brain science explain feelings of happiness and despair? Is it true that chimpanzees are just like us when it comes to sexual innuendo? Is there any hard evidence that life exists anywhere other than on the Earth? Through Punset's skillful questioning, readers will meet one scientist who is passionate about the genetic control of everything and another who spends her every waking hour making sure African ecosystems stay intact. The men and women assembled here by Lynn Margulis and Eduardo Punset will provide a source of endless interest.

In captivating conversations with such science luminaries as Jane Goodall, James E. Lovelock, Oliver Sachs, and E. O. Wilson, Punset reveals a hidden world of intellectual interests, verve, and humor. Science enthusiasts and general readers alike will devour Mind, Life and Universe, breathless and enchanted by its truths.


"In this smorgasbord of science, Eduardo Punset (the Bill Moyers of Spanish TV) lets us sample the central ideas of dozens of prominent scientists he has interviewed over the years. The payoff from such a buffet is being introduced to new fascinating minds . . . dishes that make me want to taste more."--Charles Lineweaver, Planetary Science Institute, Australian National University

"Science and technology affect every facet of our lives, yet the content of science often seems remote and arcane. In first-hand, candid interviews, Mind, Life, and Universe not only explores the cutting-edge content of science, but it also reminds us, as beautifully as any book I know, that the pursuit of science is an intensely human endeavor."--Robert Hazen, Carnegie Institution and George Mason University

"A marvelous collection of fascinating interviews with 37 renowned scientists—from physicists Sheldon Glashow and Lisa Randall to ethologist Jane Goodall to evolutionary biologists Richard Dawkins, Stephen J. Gould, and Edward O. Wilson. Wide-ranging topics include extra dimensions, time travel, the nature of psychopaths, the evolutionary basis for the concept of human beauty, and evolution and purpose. Mind, Life, and Universe is a splendid introduction to the thoughts of some of the greatest and most interesting scientific minds in the world today."--Professor James W. Walker, Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

"It is wonderful to hear these scientists respond in their own voice to such interesting questions. A book full of nuggets of wisdom."--David Baltimore, Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine (1975) and President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

"What a delight it is to eavesdrop on conversations with so many agile, inventive, piquantly-original minds. That the interviewers are farsighted and wide-ranging themselves enriches the dialogues. A profound and timely book."--Diane Ackerman, author of The Zookeeper's Wife

"This book gives a fascinating overview of current research on life and its origins, man, and the cosmos from many different levels of perspective—the 'cosmic zoom' or 'powers of ten' shifting of perspective made famous by Philip Morrison. I learned much that was new to me about cells, about aging, about the human brain and language, and about the Earth as a whole system. Just as important, I unlearned much that is widely believed but not true about all those areas of research, not least about entropy and thermodynamics, yet in very readable, conversational prose. A stimulating read!"--Dr. James Strick, Dept. of Earth and Environment, and Chair, Program in Science, Technology and Society, Franklin and Marshall College

To understand what sets humans apart from other creatures, look at their dreams. So argues evolutionary psychologist Nicholas Humphrey as he probes the distinctive cognitive balance that humans maintain through nightly adventures in dreamland. But other scientists approach the puzzles of human life from different perspectives, now rapidly expanding in genetics, neurophysiology, biochemistry, and quantum physics. What curious nonspecialist, then, could resist a volume bringing together all of these perspectives? Originating in 36 interviews conducted by Spanish television personality Eduardo Punset, the conversations collected here provide a capacious survey of cutting-edge science. Judicious editing helps readers recognize the themes linking these wide-ranging reflections. Again and again it is the paradox of human identity that commands attention. Naturalist Jane Goodall, for instance, ponders the disturbing similarities between aggressive chimpanzees and war-prone humans. Meanwhile, biochemist Sydney Brenner muses on how humans have converted cultural evolution into the new engine driving species change. And physicist Eugene Chudnovsky contemplates a future in which human inventiveness may create half-human, half-computer cyborgs. Rich food for speculation!

0000-00-00 Bryce Christensen


The Lost Language of Plants

The Lost Language of Plants

By Stephen Harrod Buhner

This could be the most important book you will read this year. Around the office at Chelsea Green it is referred to as the "pharmaceutical Silent Spring." Well-known author, teacher, lecturer, and herbalist Stephen Harrod Buhner has produced a book that is certain to generate controversy. It consists of three parts:

  1. A critique of technological medicine, and especially the dangers to the environment posed by pharmaceuticals and other synthetic substances that people use in connection with health care and personal body care.
  2. A new look at Gaia Theory, including an explanation that plants are the original chemistries of Gaia and those phytochemistries are the fundamental communications network for the Earth's ecosystems.
  3. Extensive documentation of how plants communicate their healing qualities to humans and other animals. Western culture has obliterated most people's capacity to perceive these messages, but this book also contains valuable information on how we can restore our faculties of perception.

The book will affect readers on rational and emotional planes. It is grounded in both a New Age spiritual sensibility and hard science. While some of the author's claims may strike traditional thinkers as outlandish, Buhner presents his arguments with such authority and documentation that the scientific underpinnings, however unconventional, are completely credible.

The overall impact is a powerful, eye-opening expos' of the threat that our allopathic Western medical system, in combination with our unquestioning faith in science and technology, poses to the primary life-support systems of the planet. At a time when we are preoccupied with the terrorist attacks and the possibility of biological warfare, perhaps it is time to listen to the planet. This book is essential reading for anyone concerned about the state of the environment, the state of health care, and our cultural sanity.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

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The Lost Language of Plants

Stephen Harrod Buhner

Paperback $19.95

The Climate Change Playbook

The Climate Change Playbook

By Dennis Meadows and Linda Booth Sweeney and Gillian Martin Mehers

Advocates and teachers often find it difficult to communicate the complexities of climate change, because the people they are trying to reach hold so many mistaken assumptions. They assume, for example, that when climate change becomes an obvious threat to our everyday lives, there will still be time enough to make changes that will avoid disaster. Yet at that point it will be too late. Or they assume we can use our current paradigms and policy tools to find solutions. Yet the approaches that caused damage in the first place will cause even more damage in the future.

Even the increasingly dire warnings from scientists haven’t shaken such assumptions.  Is there another way to reach people?

The simple, interactive exercises in The Climate Change Playbook can help citizens better understand climate change, diagnose its causes, anticipate its future consequences, and effect constructive change. Adapted from The Systems Thinking Playbook, the twenty-two games are now specifically relevant to climate-change communications and crafted for use by experts, advocates, and educators. Illustrated guidelines walk leaders through setting each game up, facilitating it, and debriefing participants. Users will find games that are suitable for a variety of audiences—whether large and seated, as in a conference room, or smaller and mobile, as in a workshop, seminar, or meeting.

Designed by leading thinkers in systems, communications, and sustainability, the games focus on learning by doing.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

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The Climate Change Playbook

Dennis Meadows, Linda Booth Sweeney, Gillian Martin Mehers

Paperback $24.95

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

By Nicky Scott

Answers all of your recycling questions with a complete A-Z listing of everyday household items and how to recycle them. From old cell phones and E-waste to expired medicines and motor oil this little guide shows you where you can send your unwanted items and how you might make a bit of money while you’re at it. Also includes great ideas for reducing consumption and your volume of trash—ideal for businesses and consumers alike!

  • What do you do with your old mobile phone?
  • Where can you take your old car batteries?
  • Which foods are compostable?
  • What happens to the stuff you recycle?

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is packed with ideas for cutting your consumption and reducing your rubbish. It’s an invaluable guide for anyone who wants to slim their bin and help stop the earth going to waste.


Available in: Paperback

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Nicky Scott, Axel Scheffler

Paperback $7.95



By Andrew Moore

The largest edible fruit native to the United States tastes like a cross between a banana and a mango. It grows wild in twenty-six states, gracing Eastern forests each fall with sweet-smelling, tropical-flavored abundance. Historically, it fed and sustained Native Americans and European explorers, presidents, and enslaved African Americans, inspiring folk songs, poetry, and scores of place names from Georgia to Illinois. Its trees are an organic grower’s dream, requiring no pesticides or herbicides to thrive, and containing compounds that are among the most potent anticancer agents yet discovered.

So why have so few people heard of the pawpaw, much less tasted one?  

In Pawpaw—a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award nominee in the Writing & Literature category—author Andrew Moore explores the past, present, and future of this unique fruit, traveling from the Ozarks to Monticello; canoeing the lower Mississippi in search of wild fruit; drinking pawpaw beer in Durham, North Carolina; tracking down lost cultivars in Appalachian hollers; and helping out during harvest season in a Maryland orchard. Along the way, he gathers pawpaw lore and knowledge not only from the plant breeders and horticulturists working to bring pawpaws into the mainstream (including Neal Peterson, known in pawpaw circles as the fruit’s own “Johnny Pawpawseed”), but also regular folks who remember eating them in the woods as kids, but haven’t had one in over fifty years. 

As much as Pawpaw is a compendium of pawpaw knowledge, it also plumbs deeper questions about American foodways—how economic, biologic, and cultural forces combine, leading us to eat what we eat, and sometimes to ignore the incredible, delicious food growing all around us. If you haven’t yet eaten a pawpaw, this book won’t let you rest until you do.

Available in: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook

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Andrew Moore, Michael W. Twitty

Hardcover $26.00