Virgin and the Mousetrap: Essays in Search of the Soul of Science

The Virgin and the Mousetrap: Essays in Search of the Soul of Science
by Chet Raymo

C, T, GA **


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The reader would do well to read this book starting with Raymo's introduction to better understand his viewpoint and objective. There is a reference to C.P. Snow's gap between "scientific culture" and "literary culture," which needs to be narrowed if humankind wishes to reap the full benefits offered by the world. In these essays that cover a spectrum of scientific disciplines, the reader shares Raymo' s experience and response to the wonderment of nature. But he adds a word of caution: "These essays do not attempt to explain science, but to experience it, to discover the way in which science enriches our personal lives" (p. xviii). Raymo also shares his methodology with us: "I have sought the aesthetic, historical, and moral connections between science and human experience" (p. xviii). He does not hesitate to inveigh against such pseudosciences as astrology and scientific creationism or to voice his concern about animal rights and the dangers of uncontrolled radioactivity. In closing, the author shares this striking thought: "But to reject science because it does not confirm our cosmic centrality is to reject the one instrument that lets us encompass within our minds the central mysteries of creation--life, intelligence, order, and evolution on the cosmic scale" (p. 199). Read carefully, the book will enrich the reader.

--Reviewed by Fred K Kirchner in Science Books and Films, 27/8 (November 1991), p. 228.