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

eBook

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.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

"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

Booklist-
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

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Pinhook

Pinhook

By Janisse Ray

Janisse Ray, award-winning author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood and Wild Card Quilt, writes an evocative paean to wildness and wilderness restoration with an extraordinary journey into southern Georgia's Pinhook Swamp.

Pinhook Swamp acts as a vital watershed and wildlife corridor, a link between the great southern wildernesses of Okefenokee Swamp and Osceola National Forest. Together Okefenokee, Osceola, and Pinhook form one of the largest expanse of protected wild land east of the Mississippi River. This is one of America's last truly wild places, and Pinhook takes us into its heart.

Ray comes to know Pinhook intimately as she joins the fight to protect it, spending the night in the swamp, tasting honey made from its flowers, tracking wildlife, and talking to others about their relationship with the swamp. Ray sees Pinhook through the eyes of the people who live there--naturalists, beekeepers, homesteaders, hunters, and locals at the country store. In lyrical, down-home prose, she draws together the swamp's need for restoration and the human desire for wholeness and wildness in our own lives and landscapes.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

Pinhook

Janisse Ray

Paperback $15.95

Living at Nature's Pace

Living at Nature's Pace

By Gene Logsdon

For decades, Logsdon and his family have run a viable family farm. Along the way, he has become a widely influential journalist and social critic, documenting in hundreds of essays for national and regional magazines the crisis in conventional agri-business and the boundless potential for new forms of farming that reconcile tradition with ecology.

Logsdon reminds us that healthy and economical agriculture must work "at nature's pace," instead of trying to impose an industrial order on the natural world. Foreseeing a future with "more farmers, not fewer," he looks for workable models among the Amish, among his lifelong neighbors in Ohio, and among resourceful urban gardeners and a new generation of defiantly unorthodox organic growers creating an innovative farmers-market economy in every region of the country.

Nature knows how to grow plants and raise animals; it is human beings who are in danger of losing this age-old expertise, substituting chemical additives and artificial technologies for the traditional virtues of fertility, artistry, and knowledge of natural processes. This new edition of Logsdon's important collection of essays and articles (first published by Pantheon in 1993) contains six new chapters taking stock of American farm life at this turn of the century.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

Living at Nature's Pace

Gene Logsdon, Wendell Berry

Paperback $25.00

The End of Stationarity

The End of Stationarity

By Mark Schapiro

Scientists have devised a new term to explain the turmoil caused by climate change: the end of stationarity. It means that our baselines for rainfall, water flow, temperature, and extreme weather are no longer relevant—that making predictions based on past experience is no longer possible. But climate change has upended baselines in the financial world, too, disrupting the global economy in ways that are just becoming clear, leaving us unable to assess risk, and causing us to fundamentally re-think economic priorities and existing business models.

At the heart of that financial unrest is the role of carbon, and as the world moves toward making more and more polluters pay to emit it, a financial mystery unfolds: What are the costs? Who has the responsibility to pay for them? Who do you pay? How do you pay? And how will those costs ripple through the economy?

These are the questions veteran journalist Mark Schapiro attempts to answer as he illuminates the struggle to pinpoint carbon's true costs and allocate them fairly—all while bumping up against the vagaries of the free market, the lobbying power of corporations, the political maneuverings of countries, and the tolerance of everyday consumers buying a cup of coffee, a tank of gas, or an airplane ticket.

Along the way, Schapiro tracks the cost of carbon through the drought-ridden farmland of California, the jungles of Brazil, the world's greatest manufacturing center in China, the carbon-trading center of Europe, and the high-tech crime world that carbon markets have inspired. He even tracks the cost of carbon through the skies themselves, where efforts to put a price tag on the carbon left by airplanes in the no-man's land of the atmosphere created what amounted to a quiet but powerful global trade war.

The End of Stationarity deftly depicts the wild, new carbon economy, and shows us how nations, emerging and developed, teeter on its brink. Originally published in hardcover as Carbon Shock, the book is updated throughout and includes a new afterword, based on the Paris climate talks.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

The End of Stationarity

Mark Schapiro

Paperback $17.95

Sex and the River Styx

Sex and the River Styx

By Edward Hoagland

Called the best essayist of his time by luminaries like Philip Roth, John Updike, and Edward Abbey, Edward Hoagland brings readers his ultimate collection. In Sex and the River Styx, the author's sharp eye and intense curiosity shine through in essays that span his childhood exploring the woods in his rural Connecticut, his days as a circus worker, and his travels the world over in his later years.

Here, we meet Hoagland at his best: traveling to Kampala, Uganda, to meet a family he'd been helping support only to find a divide far greater than he could have ever imagined; reflecting on aging, love, and sex in a deeply personal, often surprising way; and bringing us the wonder of wild places, alongside the disparity of losing them, and always with a twist that brings the genre of nature writing to vastly new heights. His keen dissection of social realities and the human spirit will both startle and lure readers as they meet African matriarchs, Tibetan yak herders, circus aerialists, and the strippers who entertained college boys in 1950s Boston. Says Howard Frank Mosher in his foreword, the self-described rhapsodist "could fairly be considered our last, great transcendentalist."

Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

Sex and the River Styx

Edward Hoagland, Howard Frank Mosher

Paperback $17.95