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Know This: Today's Most Interesting and Important Scientific Ideas, Discoveries, and Developments

(Edge Question )

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  421 ratings  ·  72 reviews

Today's most visionary thinkers reveal the cutting-edge scientific ideas and breakthroughs you must understand.

Scientific developments radically change and enlighten our understanding of the world -- whether it's advances in technology and medical research or the latest revelations of neuroscience, psychology, physics, economics, anthropology, climatology, or genetics. And yet amid the

Kindle Edition, 608 pages
Published February 7th 2017 by Harper Perennial (first published 2017)
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Science (Fiction) Comedy Horror and Fantasy Geek/Nerd a.k.a Mario
Short stories and tiny tales from many disciplines, which can serve as starting points for own ideas and an expansion of the spectrum.

Please note that I have put the original German text to the end of this review. Just if you might be interested.

The influence that the concept of such works can have is still difficult to quantify. Previously, the Usus was rather to write a whole book and fill with various personal anecdotes and information dump to achieve the appropriate scope. The d
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
Know This: Today’s Most Interesting and Important Scientific Ideas, Discoveries, and Developments (Edge Question) by John Brockman

“Know This” is a thought-provoking book of essays brought to you by the by The Edge that provides readers with better tools to think about the world. The Edge is an organization that presents original ideas by today's leading thinkers from a wide spectrum of scientific fields. The 2017 Edge question is, “What do you consider the most interesting recent (sc
Teo 2050

Brockman J (ed.) (2017) (14:40) Know This - Today's Most Interesting and Important Scientific Ideas, Discoveries, and Developments

Preface: The Edge Question

001. Steven Pinker :: Human Progress Quantified
002. Freeman Dyson :: Doing More with Less
003. Kurt Gray :: The “Specialness” of Humanity
004. Stuart Pimm :: J. M. Bergoglio’s 2015 Review of Global Ecology
005. Laurence C. Smith :: Leaking, Thinning, Sliding Ice
006. R
Tonstant Weader
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
Know This is a collection of short essays that answer the 2016 question from Edge, “What do you consider the most interesting recent (scientific) news? What makes it important.” The question is different every year. For 2017, the question is “What scientific term or concept out to be more widely known?” What makes the Edge annual questions so interesting is they are answered by leaders in many fields, mostly in science, but also artists, mathematicians, historians, software developers, musicians ...more
Mar 14, 2018 rated it did not like it
I was really disappointed by this book - I expected some enlightenment, some excitement about the direct of the future. Instead there were sourceless essays by various professors mostly fearmongering about the state of the world. I imagine there was probably a word limit given but still, no numbers, no references, no nothing (also, to the author who wrote only one paragraph, consisting basically just of "enjoy 3+ additional meters of water you gas-guzzlers" - screw you. What a waste of a platfor ...more
Tadas Talaikis
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Life without problems make more idiots, here's how it will be in the future in the vision of Idiocracy.

“This isn't tolerable for the democracy in the increasing technological world. The most significant example is climate change, it turns out, for instance, that many basic terms are unintelligible for newspaper readers.

Or as this quote from the book:

"Recently I encountered a statement that theory is just a guess, and that includes evolution, not mentioning what was reconst
Aug 23, 2019 rated it liked it
While I found this book interesting much of the content seemed redundant though from a different scientist’s perspective. I would have loved to see more writing on LIDO than was written here. I feel it would really be great if someone could write about how lasers are utilized to interpret gravitational anomalies occurrences in space.
Pegi Ferrell
Jun 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting concept and fascinating information. This would be a four except it is dated already -- and, seriously, Alan Alda?
May 31, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
preachy, more political than scientific
Steven Colucci
Nov 07, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It really wasn't I was expecting. The essays are extremely subjective and do not really teach or address anything relevant. I was really disappointed.
Know This: Today's Most Interesting and Important Scientific Ideas, Discoveries, and Developments (Paperback)
by John Brockman

trying to get the audio edition

Preface: The Edge question / John Brockman --
Human progress quantified / Steven Pinker --
Doing more with less / Freeman Dyson --
The "specialness" of humanity / Kurt Gray --
J.M. Bergoglio's 2015 review of global ecology / Stuart Pimm --
Leaking, thinning, sliding ice / Laurence C. Smith -- Glaciers / Robert Tr
Jan 23, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was a bad idea. I read another of these Edge books, and I really liked it, I liked how it was getting opinions and ideas from all over the place, without filtering anything out. The premise of these books is that every year the editor asks a question to leading scientists and thinkers, and they answer in a few pages. This book’s question was “what is the biggest recent news in science” and the problem with this is:
1) you get a lot of redundant answers. When you ask an opinion on
Dec 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Another entry in his Edge series where brilliant people answer a question. In 2015, the question was "What do you consider the most interesting recent scientific news?" Physicists, neuroscientists, economists, environmentalists and others responded. Answers from some respondents grouped naturally - the Large Hadron Collider, CRISPr technology (gene manipulation), cancer treatments, the use of Big Data - but some stood alone. My favorite was the essay by Max Tegman, who discussed the race between ...more
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you like to keep up to date with scientific thought, if you like to dip in and out of a book, and if you like to think that one day you'll totally read Science, Nature and all the other sciencey journals out there (but really know you won't) then this is the perfect book for you.

John Brockton asked 100s of scientists the question: "What do you consider the most interesting recent [scientific] news? What makes it important?"

The result is a 600+ page tome with each scien
Christian Pedersen
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Know this is only a couple of years old and yet, in some areas, it's outdated. This small fact shows the importance of reading books like Know this in an attempt to keep up with a world moving at the speed of stupidity. A collection of more than 200 short essays from scientists, artists and the like, Know this tries to illuminate important issues like the environment, AI, Big Data and so on. Some of the essays are hard, some are very easy, some are poignant, some are flamboyant but the constant ...more
Kiran Brahma
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
A book which is not everyone’s cup of tea. It’s highly diverse and disjointed, with lot of technical jargon that may get lot of us disillusioned to read further. However, once you persist and continue to read, you will come across some high quality essays, insights, ideas, discoveries and inventions that personally got me intrigued. This book opened my mind to so many new ideas, perspectives and insights that I would certainly give a second read to this to keep in mind the few good essays that I ...more
Sep 03, 2019 rated it liked it
"We believed the humans were fundamentally different from other animals and possessed intelligence that could never be duplicated. Those ideas made us feel comfortable and safe, and so were easy to believe - but they were wrong..."

New things learned from this book:

Longue durée (History)
Satusfice - accept an available option as satisfactory. (Herbert Simon)
Hubble / Planck lengths, largest and smallest scale in Physics.
The Electron, discovered by. J.J. Thomson
Anton Hammarstedt
Aug 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Importance (how important is the subject matter? How important is the thesis? How grave are the consequences if the thesis is wrong?): 2
Interestingness (How interesting is the subject matter? Does the book make an uninteresting subject interesting? Does the book provide a fresh perspective?): 4
Credibility (How well does the book defend its thesis? How well-researched are evidence and anecdotes?): 4
Clarity (How good is the disposition? Is information presented in a way that make
Christopher Willey
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: zpd
This book was like an 18 hour long TED conference. I was initially skeptical about but now I realize that my ignorance was massive, and will forever be threatened (my ignorance that is) by the curiosities books like this will lead me towards.

Not every single essay was perspective altering, but there were many that were. Which is saying something.

If you like Radiolab, if you like TED, you'll love these anthologies of thought written by some of the most inquisitive among us.

In a rush r
Jun 23, 2017 rated it liked it
This collection of short essays is like a box of chocolates: gives you a sampling of the best scientific news of 2015 from the point of view of the experts. But like a box of chocolates or samplers, they are teasers and you may not like everything in the box. There are a few gems though, and you wish those really interesting stories were elaborated further. The book gives a nice overview on everything, but lacks depth of insight on anything. I would have liked it more if the stories were tied to ...more
Nia Nymue
Nov 20, 2017 rated it liked it
I understand why there are no sections in the book because a lot of the topics overlapped, but I find that there were some inclusions that were unnecessary because there were some written pieces that covered the same/ similar-enough topics, and which were better-written. By that, I don't just mean the style of writing but also the depth of thought and analysis. It's best read with speed-reading and then zooming in more closely on key pieces. The bother for the new reader is in identifying the ke ...more
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
A few of these essays were really interesting; it's cool to see how many people agree on what the overarching most important topics today are, as well as those who found micro-scale stories to tell that connect to the greater theme: environmental degradation and the ensuing climate change are unprecedented, and we need to take drastic action now.

There was also one really great story in here about the importance of art :)
Miri Niedrauer
May 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: information
This topic had the potential to be fascinating, but in actuality thebook consists of about 7 unique topics. There are about 25 essays each on the Higgs Boson, CRISPR, and deep learning. After the third of each, the authors have nothing new to say and so the majority of this book is exceedingly repetitive. The handful of unique topics presented are quite interesting, but this book could have been shortened by about 80% without losing ANY content.
Doug McColgin
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
There's great information in this book, and I found it immensely useful as far as gaining awareness into a wide range of fields and philosophies.

THAT SAID... it read like a textbook. I can't honestly say that I enjoyed it. It felt a little more like a chore or a long run... I know I'm better off for having completed it, but it wasn't a great ride. Probably wouldn't recommend this to many, save a few with a hunger for hard science or philosophical debate.
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
This book is a large collection of very short pieces by leading thinkers, designers, doctors, etc. Basically it is like listening to a youtube channel of TED talks. There is a lot about space, physics, nutrition, and society. Like TED talks, each is presented tidy and high thinking, but is also exaggerated and simplistic. It gets kind of repetitive and boring pretty quick. Skip it.
Steve Granger
Dec 14, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was like hosting a remarkable interdisciplinary conference in your head. With essays from the likes of Steven Pinker, Helen Fisher, Jared Diamond, Lisa Feldman Barrett and many more, there is doubtlessly a vast array of ideas worth perpetuating. This book is for those with a curious mind and an inclination towards non-fiction.
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This collection of essays is a workout but worth the effort. Most of the "new" news was as of 2015 but in some cases we can see what has come to actually take place. Authors cover a wide range of topics from the human genome, data mining, child rearing and artificial intelligence just to name a few. My last take is to consume this book in small doses.
Dec 03, 2017 rated it liked it
interesting topics, but
1/ a lot of it is not news anymore as it dates back from late 2015 early 2016
2/ there is quite a bit of repetition

it would have nice to organize the content in chapters by themes, so one can skip ahead to the themes they care about
Bek Graham
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
An intriguing illustration of some of the great science discoveries in history. The book portrays a brief description of each science discovery in sections to provide readers' with a picture of the minds who have discovered amazing scientific elements in history and beyond.
Wendi Lau
Sep 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: stopped, science
Some articles were repetitive because they covered the same topic. I like the short essays. However, I discovered that if the topic was of interest, I wanted to read more, which, I suppose, is the point.
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With a broad career spanning the fields of art, science, books, software and the Internet. In 1960 he established the bases for "intermedia kinetic environments" in art, theatre and commerce, while consulting for clients such as General Electric, Columbia Pictures, The Pentagon, The White House... In 1973 he formed his own literary and software agency. He is founder of the Edge Foundation and edit ...more

Other books in the series

Edge Question (1 - 10 of 13 books)
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  • What Are You Optimistic About?: Today's Leading Thinkers on Why Things Are Good and Getting Better
  • What Have You Changed Your Mind About?: Today's Leading Minds Rethink Everything
  • This Will Change Everything: Ideas That Will Shape the Future
  • Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?: The Net's Impact on Our Minds and Future
  • This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking
  • This Explains Everything: Deep, Beautiful, and Elegant Theories of How the World Works
  • What Should We Be Worried About? Real Scenarios That Keep Scientists Up at Night
  • This Idea Must Die: Scientific Theories That Are Blocking Progress
“If it’s in the news, don’t worry about it. The very definition of news is ‘something that hardly ever happens.” 1 likes
“We are entering the Age of Awareness, marked by machine intelligence everywhere.” 0 likes
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