Convergence: The Idea at the Heart of Science by Peter Watson
Carl Sagan once said that science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge. In Convergence, historian and journalist Peter Watson demonstrates one important aspect of this profound insight. Individual scientific disciplines once regarded as separate are converging, influencing and fueling one another to reveal a clearer and more detailed picture of reality. The findings of geology help answer questions in biology. Discoveries in physics shed light on issues in cosmology. Assuming the existence of an objective reality, science is how we learn about it. A fact discovered by one scientific discipline remains a fact across all. This is why the inability of quantum mechanics and general relativity to play well together is so bothersome. Each works remarkably well in its own realm. Each makes accurate predictions. But if both theories are describing different aspects of a single reality, it means that at least one of them still needs a bit of work. Watson touches on this quest for a unified theory in this book, but it is mostly a broad overview of the science of the last 150 years or so with a focus on how separate disciplines have come together. It’s an informative read.