“All men, everywhere, have asked the same questions: Whence we come, what kind of thing we are, and at least some intimation of what may become of us . . .”
So begins Nobel Prize–winning scientist George Wald’s 1970 Massey Lectures, now in print for the first time ever. Where did we come from, who are we, and what is to become of us — these questions have never been more urgent. Then, as now, the world is facing major political and social upheaval, from overpopulation to nuclear warfare to environmental degradation and the uses and abuses of technology. Using scientific fact as metaphor, Wald meditates on our place, and role, on Earth and in the universe. He urges us to therefore choose life — to invest in our capabilities as human beings, to heed the warnings of our own self-destruction, and above all to honour our humanity.
“In addition to being a superb scientist, Wald was a marvellous teacher, lecturer, and writer. TIME magazine’s 300 Biographical Memoirs named him ‘one of the ten best teachers in the country’ in a cover story published in 1966. He wrote and lectured on a wide variety of topics from the ‘Origin of Life’ and ‘Life and Mind in the Universe’ to political issues. The Vietnam War horrified him and, beginning in the mid-1960s until shortly before his death, he was deeply involved in anti-war and anti-nuclear activities. He considered his political actions as part of being a biologist: one who is concerned with life.” — John Dowling, Biologist, Professor Emeritus at Harvard University, and Author of Creating Mind: How the Brain Works
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