The articles . . . draw the reader more tightly into the web of the world. They forge links in unexpected ways. They connect us to nature and to each other, and those connections nourish the intellect and uplift the spirit.”Jerome Groopman, M.D., editor
This year’s Best American Science and Nature Writing offers another rich assortment of fascinating science and impressive journalism” (New Scientist) culled from an array of periodicals, such as The New Yorker, Scientific American, and National Geographic. The twenty-four provocative and often visionary stories chosen by guest editor Jerome Groopman form an outstanding sampling of the very best in a field of writing that stays ahead of the curve, bringing important topics to the forefront of American discussion.
In The Universe’s Invisible Hand,” Christopher Conselice takes us into the recent spectacular discovery of the crucial role of dark energy, which is making our universe expand faster and faster. Florence Williams tells the story of a more down-to-earth form of energy in A Mighty Wind,” which describes how a small Danish island community is making great leaps in energy conservation by using innovative wind farms. John Cohen explores the marvelous world of ligers, zorses, wholphins, and other hybridized creatures in Zonkeys Are Pretty Much My Favorite Animal.” And Robin Marantz Henig delves into the possibly hazardous ramifications of the rapidly expanding science of nanotechnology.
The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2008 packs a wallop of intriguing, informative, and wondrous stories, each one bringing with it, as Jerome Groopman writes, a sense of excitement [to be] shared with others.”
Groopman (How Doctors Think) has collected a wide range of articles, from futurology to forensics, for this sparkling entry in Tim Folger's annual series. In "Our Biotech Future," Freeman Dyson claims that "the century of biology" is upon us, when biotechnology "follows the path of the computer industry, giving "the tools of genetic engineering become accessible" to the average breeder of animals or plants. In a New Yorker article, Jeffrey Toobin compares forensic experts who actually give testimony in court to the characters in tevelvision's C.S.I. series. Christopher Conselice, in "The Universe's Invisible Hand," discusses how the 1998 discovery of "so-called dark energy" in the universe has led some scientists to create models predicting that its evolution might "rip apart" existing galaxies. Robin Marantz Henig warns in "Our Silver-coated Future" that there may be serious unforeseen risks in unchecked use of nanotechnology, especially the most commonly used, "nanosilver," an "antimicrobial" added to many consumer products. Though prolific readers may argue over the "best" moniker, each piece more than exceeds Groopman's standards ("novel and surprising arguments, protagonists who articulate their themes in clear, cogent voices, and vivid cinema"), making this a delight for any fan of popular science.
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