101 Things You Don't Know About Science and No One Else Does by James Trefil Physics Professor

By James Trefil Physics Professor

James Trefil takes the reader on an exhilarating journey around the borders of present clinical knowledge-from astronomy to genetics, from details expertise to cosmology, the good contested questions that preoccupy researchers at the present time and may develop into headlines the next day. In based, witty three-page summations, Dr. Trefil "makes experience of technological know-how for the remainder of us" (Washington Post).

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Whichever of these (or other) theoretical processes actually occurred, it had to produce that first living cell within a few hundred million years. And this fact, in turn, gives rise to the most intriguing idea of all. If primitive life is really that easy to produce, sooner or later (and I suspect it will be sooner) someone is going to reproduce the process in the laboratory. The product of such an experiment won't look impressive compared to even the simplest cells today, although it will have the same basic biochemistry.

Previous page page_29 next page > < previous page page_30 next page > Page 30 8 Are Viruses Going to Get Us All? You may remember that the medicine practiced in Star Trek was pretty advanced. They did brain surgery by putting something on the patient's forehead and made complete diagnoses while the patient lay on a bed surrounded by instruments. For all their virtuosity, however, they had not found a cure for the common cold. The more we learn about the effects of viruses on human beings, the more this little plot twist seems like an astonishingly accurate prediction.

Now I don't want you to think I'm bitter about this. The fact that in my darkest hours I think that one of humanity's noblest dreams was cut off by an alliance of political hacks and a few scientists whose level of bad judgment was exceeded only by the depth of their envy really shouldn't sway your thinking one way or the other. Whatever we think, the SSC is dead, and we have to turn to the question of what is going to happen in the foreseeable future. The search for the ultimate nature of the material world has been a succession of realizations that each type of matter is made up of smaller, more fundamental units.

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