Synopses & Reviews
Fresh and insightful, The Half-Life of Facts offers a new approach to understanding the ever-changing information that bombards us. Facts change all the time. Smoking has gone from healthy to deadly. The recommended age for a mammogram continues to increase. And the healthiness of carbs and fat seems to be in constant flux. We used to think the Earth was the center of the universe, that Pluto was a planet, and that the brontosaurus was a real dinosaur. What we know about the world is constantly changing. Samuel Arbesman is an expert in scientometrics, literally the science of science--how we know what we know. He shows us how knowledge in most fields evolves systematically and predictably and how this evolution can have a powerful impact on our lives. The Half-Life of Facts features fascinating examples from fields as diverse as technology and literature. Approachable yet abstract, Arbesman shows us how we can find new ways to measure the world while also accepting the limits of how much we can know with certainty.