Science is humanity’s intellectual interaction with the physical world. The nature and fruits of the interaction change with time. Modern science ushered in universality but, until this century, it was confined largely within the European tradition. In recent decades, scientific research has been permeating everywhere. In this scholarly study of the facets and impacts of this phenomenon, Redner analyzes the modus operandi of post-WWII science, explores the sociology of current research, unveils its political undercurrents, and underscores the role of authority in science. He draws from a variety of disciplines, ranging from particle physics and fisheries management to genetic engineering and cosmology, refers to countless authors, both classical and current, and suggests how science ought to evolve.
Although the book is based upon much impressive research, its sweep creates superficial summaries of technical sciences and of profound analyses. Some sections will be transparent only to those familiar with the literature. Yet, by intelligently fusing history, philosophy, sociology, and commentary, Redner generates insights into the nature of current science and the future evolution of the scientific enterprise.
October 9, 2013