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Convergence: The Idea at the Heart of Science

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  126 ratings  ·  25 reviews
A brilliant history of science over the past 150 years that offers a powerful new argument—that the many disparate scientific branches are converging on the same truths.

Convergence is a history of modern science with an original and significant twist. Various scientific disciplines, despite their very different beginnings, have been coming together over the past 150 years,
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Hardcover, 576 pages
Published February 21st 2017 by Simon Schuster (first published July 28th 2016)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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Peter Tillman
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-tech
Very cool idea, but the mid-19th century historical sketches drag a bit. Well, we'll see. Not quite a doorstop, but at 575 pages, a substantial commitment. I think I'll jump ahead to a chapter where I have some expertise....

OK, chapter 14, "Big History," gives extensive weight to a 1998 book by a British pediatrician: "Eden in the East", which proposes a pretty radical revision in the melt-off of the last ice age as it affected SE Asia. Not my area of expertise, but certainly sets off the BS de
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Emma Sea
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.82 stars overall, but 5 shiny stars for the book excluding chapters 14 & 15.
D.L. Morrese
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Carl Sagan once said that science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge. In Convergence, historian and journalist Peter Watson demonstrates one important aspect of this profound insight. Individual scientific disciplines once regarded as separate are converging, influencing and fueling one another to reveal a clearer and more detailed picture of reality. The findings of geology help answer questions in biology. Discoveries in physics shed light on issues in cosmology. Ass ...more
Juan Camilo Vélez Johnson
Este es otro de esos libros a los que les he pegado dos enviones. El primero hace unos cuatro años en donde a duras penas llegué a terminar el prefacio y esta, en la que literalmente conté las horas y los minutos para volver a sentarme a leer. La realidad es que el libro es el mismo, el que cambié fui yo.

Este es uno de tantos títulos del afamado Peter Watson que por cosas que he oído escribe tremendos ladrillos... o MUROS como se lo comenté recientemente a un amigo cercano. Afortunadamente Conve
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Tom
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, science
I found this book challenging, not because it isn't clearly written, the author is very skilled at explaining scientific concepts in an easily grasped manner. In fact, his review of inorganic and organic chemistry would have been welcome when I was in university. The challenge was more how his argument runs counter to where my reading and thinking has been tending for some time.

Watson is a confirmed reductionist. All will eventually be explained by further advances in our understanding of the un
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Mishehu
Jul 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Overall, a very interesting synthesis of research crosscutting the natural and the social sciences. The first half of the book -- which dealt mostly with key developments in the history of physics and with the advent of modern biology -- was tightly and compellingly argued. The second half of the book -- in particular, the protracted discursus on the origins of human beings, society, and culture -- were less so, not because these are any less fascinating topics but because the treatment was a) s ...more
K Veysel Kaya
Büyük umutlarla başlayıp yaklaşık yüzde 30'unu okuduktan sonra bıraktığım bir kitap oldu. Kitap için yapabileceğim en sade yorum gereksiz bilgilerle dolu olduğu olur. Bu da kitabı okumayı oldukça zorlaştırıyor. Bununla ilgili örneklere geçmeden önce kitapla ilgili diğer yorumlarda da özellikle Biyoloji ve Jeoloji alanlarında yanlış bilgi ve yorumların yer aldığının belirtildiğini söylemeden geçemeyeceğim.

Yazarın neredeyse okuduğu her dergi veya internet makalesine atıfta bulunarak alıntıladığı v
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Murray
Convergence is another example of Peter Watson's ability to write an accessible and excellent synthesis of intellectual history. In this case, Watson turns to the history of science over the past 150-years, atypically arranging developments by their converging insights, ending in a crescendo of the inspiring emerging order in quantum biology.

My challenge; a fascinating thesis of convergence was largely left until the end. A history of scientific discoveries needs weaving with this thesis if it
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Joseph M. O'Connor
Disappointed...

Is the only term i can use, having reached almost the midpoint of this book. I was going along full speed just lapping up Watson's accounts of convergence of disciplines in the early days of chemistry and physics and mathematics. It was mesmerizing. Dry as the subjects were, he made them interesting and brought together advancements in parallel fields as they merged and melded.

Then he came to the DNA part and something seemed a little off from what I had heard and read about in t
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Anthony L
Mar 16, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-or-owned
I gave up after reading (speeded-read or skimmed rather) through the first few chapters. It is very unfortunate that books like this are so heavily padded with words just to produce the pages for a book. For example, unnecessary biographic details are so extensive (". . . impressed by his telescopes and intrigued by his diminutive sister Caroline . . .") that most of book is not focused on its theme. The reader had to speed-read or skim to try and get to the point. I regret buying this book and ...more
Daniela Orozco
Jan 14, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me gustó mucho la forma de divulgar del autor. Hace bastante tiempo ya que no leía un libro sobre historia de la ciencia y éste en particular, me gustó mucho para refrescar conocimientos que tenía y que se me habían ido olvidando. La forma de informar del autor es magistral, es concisa, clara y sin titubeos. Quizás la tesis del libro no se desarrolla muy bien a lo largo de sus páginas y por ende no se exponen congruentemente las convergencias entre las ciencias como propósito real del libro. Sin ...more
Deniz Bakkalcı
Peter Watson bu kitapta bilimin 150 yıllık tarihinin bir özetini yapmış. Fizik, matematik, kimya, biyoloji ve toplum bilimleri alanlarının ortaya çıkışı ve bu alanlardaki güncel gelişmeler hakkında aşinalığını artırmak isteyenler için bu kitap uygun. Fakat kitabın ana fikri olan tüm bilimlerin "yakınsaması"nın çok ikna edici bir argüman olmadığını ve yazarın da kitabı bu çatıda birleştirmek için çok ikna edici argümanlar sunamadığını düşünüyorum. Özellikle de günümüzde bilgide ilerlemenin alanla ...more
Suzy
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Peter Watson does a great job of making high-level science almost understandable to someone such as myself who has high interest in science in general, but only a smattering of basic college-level courses under my belt--much of which is now outdated. He writes in an even, mature style that is neither too academic nor too patronizing or folksy--just right, I'd say. I found the connections he draws among the sciences and almost-sciences very fascinating, and thought his discussions of points of co ...more
Jeffrey
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it
The main thing I liked about this book was the excellent future reading list it provided me in the form of the notes & references section. The thesis of the book is not particularly interesting or well argued, but the first few hundred pages of the book are a very nice capsule history of science from the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries, incorporating interesting little micro-biographies of many of the scientists involved in major developments. The quality of the book steeply declines as it moves ...more
Erdem Yılmaz
Dec 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Adı güzel kendi güzel Peter Watson "Hitabetim iyi, cebimde de bol bol bilim ve tarih bilgisi var, yaşım da ilerlediği için anektodal hikayeler anlatmayı sevmeye başladım" diyerek bilgisayarının başına oturmuş anlaşılan.

Neden böyle diyorum? Bir mucidin yaptığı çalışmayı anlatmaya o mucidin kız kardeşinin başından geçen tüberküloz hastalığıyla başlamak mantıklı değil. Watson da böyle düşünmüş olacak ki mucidin kardeşini de yeterli görmeyerek tüberküloz için çözüm üreten şifacıyı anlatmak istemiş.
...more
Nguyen Hoang Phong
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
The author is not a scientist. Let me preface with that. He is a science historian. So some of the scientific explanations in the book are not entirely correct, more like pop-science versions of the true ideas (especially regarding more esoteric subjects such as quantum mechanics). The last few chapters do get slightly incoherent, as the science gets more cutting-edge, philosophical, and the link across discoveries more tenuous. However, the first 80-or-so% of the book is solid, entertaining, mi ...more
John Everard Griffith
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This history of the developments of science since 1850 was thorough and fascinating. It shows how the various disciplines in science have contributed to the one story of the evolution of the universe and the evolution of the human species. It also shows how the different disciplines have been influencing each other as well. For anyone who is interested in more specifics as to how our understanding of the universe is evolving this is an excellent book. It is not just about one discipline but all ...more
Cop Deb
Excellente book.
Sean
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
WOW the 20th century waa certainly an impressive one in terms of advances in scienific discoveries.

Worth reading.
Dinithi
Aug 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
One of the most interesting things I've ever read, the book is rife with facts you can pull out in any kind of discussion. Lots of physics though, so a bit hard to get your head around the details. ...more
Volker
Jan 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Surely, this book has some flaws and some major wrong statements (electrons made out of quarks ?!) but in the long run, it gets quite some stuff right. In particular the 19th century is a nice read.
Bjorn Delbeecke
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book. Very enjoyable. However, skip chapters 14 and 15; they are kinda ... speculative, to say the least.
John Bleasdale
Basically all knowledge and science begins as one discipline; then splinters into many and then gradually they come back together again. Chemistry becomes physics biology becomes chemistry and everything becomes maths.
Joseph
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Apr 12, 2019
Kevin Fowler
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Jun 10, 2017
Lena
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Oct 13, 2017
Cristian Romero
rated it it was amazing
Jun 15, 2019
Juan Leon Becerra
rated it really liked it
Mar 27, 2018
Jonah
rated it it was amazing
Dec 22, 2017
shari albracht
rated it liked it
Jun 11, 2017
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Peter Watson was educated at the universities of Durham, London and Rome, and was awarded scholarships in Italy and the United States.

After a stint as Deputy Editor of New Society magazine, he was for four years part of the Sunday Times ‘Insight’ team of investigative journalists. He wrote the daily Diary column of the London Times before becoming that paper’s New York correspondent. He returned t
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