In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

242 Books Without a doubt, Ziman has admirably succeeded in presenting an accurate and lively written account of contemporary science and its relations to the world in general. The narrative style suggests its origin in a set of lectures to average Honours studentsof physics, chemistry and biology who had no particular strong interests in sociology and philosophy. Ziman ‘titivated the lectures with a large number of slides’ to give his audience something to look at while he was talking. Fortunately for readers, reproductions of these appear throughout the text, ranging from Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘transparent torso’ sketch to a photograph of particle tracks in a hydrogen bubble chamber. Readers of Leonardo will likely appreciate the eminently successful integration of pictorial with narrative material. Individual chapters are concerned with such topics as styles of research, scientificcommunication, authority and influence, Big Science, paying for science, science and war, and science as a cultural import. A reader begins to realize the character of science policy and then develops an increasing awareness of the ethical and social dilemmas posed by scientific accomplishments. Ziman offers an incisive and virtually panoramic view of the history of science, as well asa masterful account of the manner in which contemporary science actually functions. This book’s worth is additionally enhanced by the critically selective list of references to further books where each of the topics can be studied in greater detail. The Future of Science and Technology:Proceedingsof a Seminar. Victor J. Danilov. ed. Museum of Scienceand Industry, Chicago. Ill., 1975. 77pp., illus. $3.95. Reviewed by Frank P. Davidson’ In a slim and often sagacious book, a half-dozen leaders of the scientific establishment in the U.S.A. present an optimistic picture of the next century’s progress: concocted for a Bicentennial exhibit entitled ‘America’s Inventive Genius’. one must read carefully to disengage the cautionary-and more fundamental-substratum from the surface cheerfulness of a very official compendium. The Seminar was opened by Guyford Stever, Director of the National Science Foundation. Imagining what a Tricentennial seminar might find to celebrate, he hypothesizes a ‘Helsinki Arms Limitation Treaty (HALT) of 1982’, on the basis of which ‘a large flow of capital’ is ‘re-channeled toward peaceful development’. The energy crisis is then mastered by a combination of solar and fusion power; giant agro-industrial complexesprovide ‘acornucopiaof food’ for a world population stabilized at eight or nine billion. But-and here’s the catch-. ‘the world of 2076 will be what we make it’. Lewis Branscomb, Chief Scientist of International Business Machines (IBM), follows with the sobering conclusion that ‘progress in the aggregate is not an imperative of science or of technology; it isa reflectionof the incentives,the institutions, and the capabilities of the society which achieves it’. As for prophecies of new technological wonders, he prefers to rely on sciencefiction writers: their track record is better than that of the specialists, who know too much about the problems to be confident in predicting solutions! I felt particular sympathywith the strictures of Edward David. Tempered by his not-always-easy experiences as a Presidential Science Advisor, David finds his countrymen too mesmerized by the glamour of space odysseys, and insufficiently willing to cope with the mundane technologies of shipbuilding, railroading, steelmaking and metal refining. Viewing with alarm current outbreaks of 19th-century anti-trust mentality (for instance, the current efforts to impair national assets, such as the Bell Laboratories), he stresses the need for creative partnership between government and industry. That Chief Scientist Jacob Goldman, of the Xerox Corp. sees communications as a key element in a century bent on environmental preservation is wholly understandable. But one wonders whether travel and talk are really ‘substitute goods’: experience thus far seems to indicate a more subtle feedbackthe more one communicates, the more one has the urge to travel (and vice versa!). *I40 Walden St., Concord, MA 01742, U.S.A. In an otherwise unexceptional paper, Charles Huggins (Nobel Laureate in Medicine) enthuses: ‘For survival of man. scientific research is not the main thing. it’s the only thing’. He admonishes us. however, that ‘a component of research, crucial in importance, is recognition of a noble problem. . . . A...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 242-243
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.