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The splendors of science, delightfully demystified.
How do we make sense of the modern world? Science is a profoundly affecting aspect of contemporary life, and yet the gulf between experts and everyone else is widening. Colette Brooks bridges the gap by playing the role of curious layperson, serving as a tour guide to some of the most important discoveries and innovations of the last five centuries.
Through serious and absurd stories alike, Brooks takes readers back and forth in time, from dark, cavernous laboratories to the pristine facilities of the twenty–first century. Laugh along with Newton, peer at the moon with Galileo, work beside the Wright Brothers, ride with the astronauts of Apollo 11, watch for UFOs in the 1950s, probe the secrets of the fruit fly, visit Chernobyl, or examine suspicious packages in a Hazmat suit. With Brooks as the guide, it’s easy to become immersed in the twists, turns, and surprises of each imaginative leap forward.
Through a series of “thought experiments," Brooks also poses questions and offers helpful tips that ease the readers way into this strange but provocative territory. Bringing her unique perspective to the larger cultural conversation about science, Brooks ultimately unleashes the most powerful force of all: our own wonder.
About the Author
Colette Brooks is the author of In the City: Random Acts of Awareness, which won the PEN/Jerard Fund Award. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, Partisan Review, and elsewhere. She lives in New York City.
Praise for In the City
"This book is one of a kind: a view straight through the stone and steel, an X–ray of the city's consciousness. Colette Brooks writes like someone telling a secret." —Luc Sante
"A lively mix of narrative, catechism, reportage, memoir, and meditative essay. This is an engaging book, so fraught with self–consciousness as to bring into question our notions of writing and literary structure." —Billy Collins
"I've read In the City three times and expect to read it again. In lovely, exact prose Colette Brooks has fixed her experience of urban life with insight and compassion and humor and a sense of the encompassing mystery." —Stanley Kauffmann