Thought X: Fixing Science with Fiction
Author: Ra Page, William Fiennes
Publisher: Carcanet Press Ltd.
Release Date: February 25, 2016
Science is always telling stories. Whether in the creation myths of evolution or the Big Bang, or in the eureka moments of science history, narrative—just as much as metaphor—is a key tool in the scientist’s surprisingly literary toolkit. Perhaps the most interesting use of story is the thought experiment, the intuition pump, that draws on the most instinctive parts of the imagination to crack otherwise perplexing problems. From Newton’s Bucket and Maxwell’s Demon to Einstein’s Lift and Schrodinger’s Cat, all are examples of “fiction” being used at the highest level, not just to explain but to deduce and to prove. In this unique anthology, authors—including Hassan Blasim, Lucy Caldwell, Julian Gough, Simon Ings, Sara Maitland, Adam Marek, Sean O’Brien, and Katherine Orr—have collaborated with leading scientists to bounce literary, human narratives against purely theoretical ones, alloying together real stories with abstract ones to produce truly extraordinary results.