A Spectator’s Guide
to Science on the Eve of the 21st Century

Dennis Flanagan
Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1988;
230 pages; $18.95

For 40 years and more, Dennis Flanagan has been struggling to popularize the scientific revolution that we are in. Now that is a long time.

It’s about enough time, for example, for a northeastern maple to mature, be cut down with an amateur’s handsaw, sawn into lengths, split, stacked, dried, laid in the fireplace, and lighted to accompany a good story. It’s also about enough time for our synthetic view of man-kind, the earth, and the universe— the one that we build out of snippets of book learning, conversation, and journalism, to expand and change profoundly.

In that view today, we see recent human evolution against a vast background of evolving forces, particles, galaxies, stars, planets, features on the surface of our own planet, and...

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