Thursday, September 10, 2009

Book Review: "Thinking About Almost Everything"

Thinking About Almost Everything: New Ideas to Light up Minds (Profile Books, 2009) is a compilation of short "think pieces" written by faculty members at Durham University. The essays, which deal with everything from global warming to plant genetics to racism to the roots of secularism to music theory (and far beyond) are each just 1-2 pages long, but taken together they make for some fascinating reading and offer a glimpse into the sorts of in-depth research being done by the faculty at Durham and other institutions around the world.

While some of the essays are perhaps a bit jargony for the average non-physicist/theologian/master critic, most are fairly accessible and all are interesting and thought provoking. I would have been very keen to see some more cross-disciplinary/interdisciplinary approaches, since I'm a firm believer in the idea of consilience, but what's here is worth reading even though each piece remains rather insular.

A good idea by Durham's administrators, and one which other colleges and universities might consider adopting in some form or fashion.

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