The Great Unknown: Seven Journeys to the Frontiers of Science

Marcus du Sautoy (The Music of the Primes) is an accomplished and popular ambassador for science. He is a mathematician with hobbies in the arts, the author and host of many television series and books, and the second Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. In The Great Unknown, he explores the potential limits of human knowledge with great clarity and charm.

"Would we want to know everything? Scientists have a strangely ambivalent relationship with the unknown... what we don't know is what intrigues and fascinates us, and yet the mark of success as a scientist is resolution and knowledge, to make the unknown known." Du Sautoy investigates the frontiers of mathematical and scientific ideas, sorted into broad concepts such as Chaos, Matter, Consciousness and Infinity, and set in the context of history, evolution, philosophy, literature and music. He expresses his own confusion and worries, interviews specialists, tells personal anecdotes and provides lively hand-drawn illustrations.

A lot of popular science rehashes metaphors that have been floating around for decades. There's a little of that here, but du Sautoy's explanations are always solid and thoughtful, and many are unusually clever and original. Like the first Simonyi Professor, Richard Dawkins, he is an atheist, but unlike Dawkins, du Sautoy has genuine interest in religious ideas that relate to his theme of the unknowable. For anyone with great curiosity about scientific inquiry and the deep mysteries of the universe, this will be a rewarding tour of the current scene. --Sara Catterall

Powered by: Xtenit