Mission To Abisko: Stories and Myths In The Creation of Scientific "Truth"

Casti, John L.

In May 1997, acclaimed science author John Casti led a dozen gifted writers to a remote Swedish village called Abisko, far above the Arctic Circle, to discuss the nature of scientific truth. Their discussions and debates focused on one major question: How do the stories that scientists tell each other, and the public, affect the way they do their science? This book is the outcome of that lively meeting of the minds. Each chapter is by a noted scientist who writes, or science fiction writer who practices science, and the cast includes John Barrow, Greg Bear, Ian Stewart, Gregory Benford, Larry Niven, and John Casti himself. In this fascinating look behind the scenes of science, eleven of the world's top scientist-authors examine the phenomenon of science as storytelling.As these authors demonstrate, the tales scientists tell each other are often even more mysterious or fanciful than those they tell the public. Many of these tales are called "thought experiments," and their purpose is to focus and encapsulate large amounts of knowledge into short, pithy pictures, that capture the essence-and the shortcomings-of a scientific theory. Nevertheless, some of these tales-such as "Schrödinger's Cat" and "Hilbert's Infinite Hotel"-have worked their way into the public consciousness, almost to the point of being household words.Mission to Abisko is a must-read for people curious about our perception of scientific "truth."

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