The Secret Life of Science: How It Really Works and Why It Matters

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The Secret Life of Science: How It Really Works and Why It Matters Author: Format: Hardback First Published: Published By: Princeton University Press Pages: 248 Illustrations and other contents: 41 b/w illus. Language: English ISBN: 9780691174358 Category:

A revealing and provocative look at the current state of global science We take the advance of science as given. But how does science really work? Is it truly as healthy as we tend to think? How does the system itself shape what scientists do? The Secret Life of Science takes a clear-eyed and provocative look at the current state of global science, shedding light on a cutthroat and tightly tensioned enterprise that even scientists themselves often don’t fully understand. The Secret Life of Science is a dispatch from the front lines of modern science. It paints a startling picture of a complex scientific ecosystem that has become the most competitive free-market environment on the planet. It reveals how big this ecosystem really is, what motivates its participants, and who reaps the rewards. Are there too few scientists in the world or too many? Are some fields expanding at the expense of others? What science is shared or published, and who determines what the public gets to hear about? What is the future of science? Answering these and other questions, this controversial book explains why globalization is not necessarily good for science, nor is the continued growth in the number of scientists. It portrays a scientific community engaged in a race for limited resources that determines whether careers are lost or won, whose research visions become the mainstream, and whose vested interests end up in control. The Secret Life of Science explains why this hypercompetitive environment is stifling the diversity of research and the resiliency of science itself, and why new ideas are needed to ensure that the scientific enterprise remains healthy and vibrant.

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"[The Secret Life of Science] strikes a nice balance between exposing the gears behind the science machine for those unrelated to it, and pushing those caught up in the gears to let go for a moment and look at the bigger picture. . . . I advise all new PhD students to read this book before willingly stepping into the jungle."---Maria Maragkou, Nature Physics "A lover of science and a scientist himself, Baumberg cautiously advocates on behalf of what he sees as an ecosystem under too much pressure. The very success of science, he argues, may pose the gravest threat to its continued effectiveness as intense competition for everything from jobs, funding, publication space (notably, in this journal), and conference slots results in too much bandwagon science and not enough diversity of ideas."---Sarah Dry, Science "[The Secret Life of Science is] a timely warning that the scientific endeavour that has brought our societies astonishingly greater prosperity and improvements in the quality of life is sclerotic and failing to deliver for the societies funding research."---Diane Coyle, The Enlightened Economist "World's 2018 Books of the Year" "[A] solid, coherent and thoughtful study. . . . Baumberg clarifies the dynamics of publishing, conferences, media, translation to industry and careers, and provides a broad summary of influence."---Jonathan Adams, Nature "We need to read this book - not to find ways to make science a better servant of the economy but to consider how to preserve its central meaning in the face of political and economic pressure."---Harry Collins, Times Higher Education "[B]rilliant, original and stimulating study."---David Lorimer, Paradigm Explorer

Author Biography

Jeremy J. Baumberg is professor of nanotechnology and photonics in the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. He is the coauthor of Microcavities, and his work has been featured in such publications as Nature, New Scientist, and Wired. He lives in Cambridge, England.