Letter from the Publisher
Bennett, Thomas Bennett, Science News
Humankind has puzzled over the eternal questions of existence for millennia. Where did the universe come from? Where did we come from? How does the cycle of life from birth to death repeat itself? What is our relation to the other living creatures on Earth? We have sought answers to such questions through religion, art, philosophy, and science. Indeed, the more we learn about human cultures, both past and present, the more we appreciate the timelessness and universality of this endeavor.
Many of the natural laws underlying science and mathematics were discovered thousands of years ago by scholars in China, Egypt, Greece, and elsewhere. In the ensuing centuries, scientists moved from observation of natural laws to an understanding of how those laws operate. Inevitably, they began to use this understanding as a tool to modify the human condition-for better and for worse-and to manipulate the world around them.
Today's scientists are continuing to examine the unchanging verities of human existence. Building on the accomplishments of earlier scientists, they are developing new methodologies, new hypotheses and theories, and new, interdisciplinary approaches. With their armamentarium of knowledge about astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics, scientists are turning their attention to even more complex systems: the effect of human activities on the biosphere; the relationship of land, oceans, and atmosphere; the means by which cells communicate; the recesses of the human mind-memory, consciousness, behavior; chaos, in its many mathematical and biological guises. …