Synopses & Reviews
What was the greatest invention of the past 2,000 years, and why? This provocative question was posed to some of the world's foremost scientific and creative thinkers, including several Nobel laureates. Their answers may surprise you. Lively and thought-provoking, The Greatest Inventions of the Past 2,000 Years
is not only an entertaining book about science and creativity but also an opportunity to peek inside the minds of some of the leading thinkers of our time.
With contributors such as Stewart Brand, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Howard Gardner, Sherry Turkle, Steven Pinker, Jared Diamond, Freeman Dyson, Murray Gell-Mann, and Leon Lederman, The Greatest Inventions of the Past 2,000 Years is an invitation to a salon of our leading thinkers. Their answers to the editor's question are as varied as the group itself. Candidates for the greatest invention include the expected, such as the computer and movable type (although even here there are intriguing insights into how these inventions have altered our civilization), and the surprising, such as the Indo-Arab counting system, the lens, classical music, and the eraser. Some contributors comment perceptively on their colleagues' nominees.
Not all of the respondents limited their answers to concrete objects. Some chose as greatest "inventions" the concepts of free will, marketing, democracy and social justice, the scientific method, and our disbelief in the supernatural, arguing persuasively that ideas are inventions as much as are mechanical objects.
The Greatest Inventions of the Past 2,000 Years is a provocative, insightful look at how science, technology, and the creative mind have altered our lives and changed the world.
Table of Contents
Preface -- Part I: how we live -- Part II: how we think -- Afterword / by Jared Diamond -- Contributors.