By Martin Rees
W.W. Norton & Company, $23.95, 145 pages
Esteemed British astronomer Martin Rees in From Here To Infinity, A Vision For The Future Of Science provides some of the hope and optimism that seems to be missing these days. For example, many science fiction writers have become pessimistic about the future. These four Rees lectures were collected by the BBC in 2010, designated a “year of science.” One will find here wonder and excitement about what has been achieved. There are all sorts of references to some of the other famous scientists of the century here, and this reads as a group effort rather than a polemic.
We have the option to act intelligently if we choose. It is also the responsible thing to do. Some may not be able to give up their anger and frustration to do so. With an astronomical point of view, Rees argues that we need to know more about science so that we can be better able to survive the century. There may be things we will never know in a world that is running away from us. This too slim book also has an environmental message which is needed in an age of climate change. He even takes the environmental message to Mars, pointing out that many will defend alien life that we might find there. Sadly, not everybody will be caught up by this plea.
Reviewed by Ryder Miller