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.

Amazon.com info
Paperback 256 pages  
ISBN: 1400076862
Salesrank: 998944
Weight:0.45 lbs
Published: 2005 Vintage
Amazon price $12.60
Marketplace:New from $5.75:Used from $1.64
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Amazon.co.uk info
Paperback 256 pages  
ISBN: 0099469464
Salesrank: 1350093
Weight:0.44 lbs
Published: 2005 Vintage
Marketplace:New from £86.99:Used from £0.01
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Amazon.ca info
Paperback 256 pages  
ISBN: 1400076862
Salesrank: 1653298
Weight:0.45 lbs
Published: 2005 Vintage
Amazon price CDN$ 17.72
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 9.64:Used from CDN$ 0.01
Buy from Amazon.ca





Product Description
What makes a child decide to become a scientist?

•For Robert Sapolsky–Stanford professor of biology–it was an argument with a rabbi over a passage in the Bible.
•Physicist Lee Smolin traces his inspiration to a volume of Einstein’s work, picked up as a diversion from heartbreak.
•Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a psychologist and the author of Flow, found his calling through Descartes.

Murray Gell-Mann, Nicholas Humphrey, Freeman Dyson . . . 27 scientists in all write about what it was that sent them on the path to their life's work. Illuminating memoir meets superb science writing in stories that invite us to consider what it is–and what it isn’t–that sets the scientific mind apart.