What Remains to be Discovered
The book is in three parts, starting with the physical sciences. Maddox looks at cosmology, particle physics and the promises of a Theory of Everything. The second part deals with life sciences. Here the question of the origin of life on earth is still open, and we have much to do in working out the workings of the cell. Maddox also discusses the mapping of genomes and the theory of evolution. The final part includes a look at what we know about the workings of the brain, and the new fields, such as chaos theory that fast computers are opening up. The final chapter examines some of the threats to humanity which we need to find a way to deal with. Being hit by an asteroid is an obvious example, but Maddox is also worried about genomic instability. Some inherited diseases get worse with each generation, and he thinks the same sort of thing may be happening to humanity as a whole.
My opinion is that this is a strange sort of book, or at least that it doesn't match what you would expect from the title. If you're looking for speculation about what is likely to happen in the next century then you're likely to be disappointed. Maddox has a tendency to be more dogmatic than speculative, and the gaps in our knowledge seem to be failures rather than opportunities. But if you ignore the title, then you might find the book useful as a readable summary of some of the important areas of twentieth century science.