Our Final Hour spells out doomsday scenarios for cosmic collisions, high-energy experiments gone wrong and self-replicating machines that steadily devour the biosphere. Just when you've stopped worrying and learned to love the bomb, Sir Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, comes along with teeming armies of deadly viruses, nanobots, and armed fanatics. Beyond the hazards most of us know about--smallpox, terrorists, global warming--Rees introduces the new threats of the 21st century and the unholy political and scientific alliances that have made them possible.
If we can avoid driving ourselves to extinction, he writes, a glorious future awaits; if not, our devices may very well destroy the universe: "What happens here on Earth, in this century, could conceivably make the difference between a near eternity filled with ever more complex and subtle forms of life and one filled with nothing but base matter."
Rees places much of the blame for many technological debacles squarely on the shoulders of the scientists who participate in perfecting environmental destruction, biological menaces and ever-more powerful weapons. So is there any hope for humanity? Rees is vaguely optimistic on this point, offering solutions that would require a level of worldwide cooperation humans have yet to exhibit. If the daily news isn't enough to make you want to crawl under a rock, this book will do the trick. --Therese Littleton, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Heady, scary--and very scholarly--Stuff.... Rees writes with beautiful simplicity. This is a conversational book, totally accessible to a general reader."
About the Author
Matrin Rees is a leading researcher on cosmic evolution, black holes, and galaxies. He has himself originated many key ideas, and brings a unique perspective to themes discussed in this book. He is currently a Royal Society Research Professor, and Great Britain's Astronomer Royal. Through based in Cambridge University for most of his career, he travels extensively, and collaborates wit many colleagues in the U.S. and elsewhere. He is an enthusiast for international collaboration in research, and is a member of several foreign academies.