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John Brockman

Curious Minds

In this book John Brockman has persuaded a group of scientists to write about what set them on the scientific path. However, if you are a parent hoping to set your child on this path, then I don't think that you will find much to help you here. Many of the contributors say that they didn't decide on their careers until they were well into their university studies. Others put doubt on whether such childhood recollections can be given any value. But the book is certainly worth reading - the early life of well known scientists makes fascinating reading, whether or not it influenced their future.

One thing I did find was that some of the contributions seemed to come to an end just at they were getting interesting - I would have preferred each to be at least 10 pages in length. Also, many of the contributors came from Brockman's 'Third Culture' acquaintances, which explains some similarities in upbringing. This has the benefit that many of the contributors have written popular science books and we get to find out which books influenced them when they were young. For instance Richard Dawkins was impressed by Dr. Dolittle, and when he found out about the work of Darwin he saw many parallels with his fictional hero.  |  Chronon Critical Points  |  Recent Science Book Reviews