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Edge Question Series

This Idea Must Die

Scientific Theories That Are Blocking Progress

About the Book

The bestselling editor of This Explains Everything brings together 175 of the world’s most brilliant minds to tackle’s 2014 question: What scientific idea has become a relic blocking human progress?

Each year, John Brockman, publisher of—”The world’s smartest website” (The Guardian)—challenges some of the world’s greatest scientists, artists, and philosophers to answer a provocative question crucial to our time. In 2014 he asked 175 brilliant minds to ponder: What scientific idea needs to be put aside in order to make room for new ideas to advance? The answers are as surprising as they are illuminating. In :

  • Steven Pinker dismantles the working theory of human behavior
  • Richard Dawkins renounces essentialism
  • Sherry Turkle reevaluates our expectations of artificial intelligence
  • Geoffrey West challenges the concept of a “Theory of Everything”
  • Andrei Linde suggests that our universe and its laws may not be as unique as we think
  • Martin Rees explains why scientific understanding is a limitless goal
  • Nina Jablonski argues to rid ourselves of the concept of race
  • Alan Guth rethinks the origins of the universe
  • Hans Ulrich Obrist warns against glorifying unlimited economic growth
  • and much more.

Profound, engaging, thoughtful, and groundbreaking, This Idea Must Die will change your perceptions and understanding of our world today . . . and tomorrow.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

Praise for This Idea Must Die: “Take a look. No matter who you are, you are bound to find something that will drive you crazy.” —New York Times

“Garrulous and argumentative. ... Brockman’s formula is tried and tested. Better still, it shows no sign of getting old.” —New Scientist

This Idea Must Die is an excellent gathering of thoughts, rants and lamentations to add to your book list.” —Forbes

“Discern[s] the zeitgeist of ideas with which some of our era’s greatest minds are tussling. ... Profound. ... Provocative. ... Mind-stretching.” —Brain Pickings

“Fascinating. ... Thought-provoking.” —Science News

“A fascinating smorgasbord of 175 short essays about every field and facet of research.” —Science News

“Brockman succeeds in presenting scientific work that will appeal to a variety of readers, no matter their background.” —Publishers Weekly

Praise for Edge: “Physics, statistics, robotics, linguistics, medicine-all are zestfully scrutinized in this exuberant, mind-blowing gathering of innovative thinkers.” —Booklist

“An epicenter of bleeding-edge insight across science, technology, and beyond.” —Atlantic Monthly

“The brightest minds in the known universe.” —Vanity Fair

“A forum for the world’s most brilliant minds.” —The Observer (UK)

“A provocative and informative compilation.” —Library Journal

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062374349
  • ISBN 10: 0062374346
  • Imprint: Harper Perennial
  • On Sale: 02/17/2015
  • Pages: 592
  • List Price: 19.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: SCIENCE / Cognitive Science
  • BISAC2: PSYCHOLOGY / Cognitive Psychology & Cognition
  • BISAC3: SCIENCE / General

This Idea Must Die by John Brockman

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