This author sets out not just to take the reader up to the frontier of science, but to also show us the beauty in the insights of the scientific discoveries that have come about, and to point out how crooked the path to scientific discovery can really be. He shows that there is nothing linear at all about scientific discovery, or even the scientific process. A great deal of it is subjective, and the result of serendipity and chance.
It is an exciting tour de horizon of the latest and some of the most exotic topics in science: that takes us from developments in consciousness, to those in Anthropology, on to those in game theory, artificial intelligence and information theory. In this latter class he includes Chaos and Catastrophe theory as well as Cellular Automata and Extreme Value theory. Then of course he goes on to the most fascinating science of all, the physics of reality. But here he does not just delve on the familiar topics such as String Theory and the Quantum Physics, but also gets deep into Cosmology: the Anthropic Principle, dark energy/matter and parallel universes.
Although as the reader might expect, a single volume cannot hope to treat all of these in enough depth to satisfy a specialist, the author nevertheless makes a fine effort in these tightly written and compact pieces, to leave us with enough to whet our appetites.
For those who might want to pursue these topics further, there is a lavish bibliography, at the end of each of these twenty-five chapters, which included, much to my surprised, the latest works of two of the game theory gurus from my era of the 1960-70s: Steven Brams and Nigel Howard. Many may recall, that Howard, in a very inventive way, extended and further broadened the platform of the game-theoretic theme of the Prisoner's Dilemma, and in the spirit of the Rand Corporation and Princeton U's Nobel Prize winner, John Nash, explored with great skill the consequences of both "mixed motive" and "mix strategy Zero and Non-zero-sum games." Brams, on the other hand, the reader may recall, introduced something called the "theory of moves," which continues down a different branch of the same tree as that of Howard and Nash.
The bonus of the book of course is that for those of us who may have even forgotten the jargon and terms, the author sets aside in side panel boxes, mini-tutorials to give the reader just the right amount of definitions and explanation of concepts not to leave him hanging. For a book that is very broad but not very deep, it gives the curious reader a lot to chew on. Five stars.