Serendipity: Fortune and the Prepared Mind

Serendipity: Fortune and the Prepared Mind

Paperback Darwin College Lectures

Edited by Iain Morley, Edited by Mark de Rond

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  • Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Paperback | 164 pages
  • Dimensions: 174mm x 246mm x 10mm | 340g
  • Publication date: 1 November 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 052118181X
  • ISBN 13: 9780521181815
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Illustrations note: 18 b/w illus. 2 tables
  • Sales rank: 637,943

Product description

Since 1986 Darwin College, Cambridge has organised a series of annual public lectures built around a single theme approached in a multi-disciplinary way. These essays were developed from the 2008 lectures, which explored the idea of serendipity - the relationship between good fortune and the preparation of the mind to spot and exploit it. Serendipity is an appealing concept, and one which has been surprisingly influential in a great number of areas of human discovery. The essays collected in this volume provide insightful and entertaining accounts of the relationship between serendipity and knowledge, in the human and natural sciences. Written by some of the most eminent thinkers of this generation, Serendipity explores a variety of subjects, including disease, politics, scientific invention and the art of writing. This collection will fascinate and inspire a wide range of readers, highlighting the multifaceted nature of the popular, but elusive, concept of serendipity.

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Author information

Iain Morley is a Fellow of Keble College, Oxford, where he is Tutor in Archaeology and Anthropology, and a Lecturer for the Institute of Human Sciences. A scholar of archaeology and the evolution of human cognition, he has undertaken archaeological fieldwork around the world, and has published on the origins of music, early ritual and religion. Mark de Rond is a Reader at the Judge Business School and a Fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge, with a particular interest in causation, explanation and imaginations of human importance in organisational life. His published work has received several prestigious awards, including the George R. Terry Book Award and inclusion in the Best of Books 2008 (Financial Times).

Table of contents

Introduction. Fortune and the prepared mind Iain Morley and Mark de Rond; 1. The stratigraphy of serendipity Susan E. Alcock; 2. Understanding humans - serendipity and anthropology Richard Leakey; 3. HIV and the naked ape Robin Weiss; 4. Cosmological serendipity Simon Singh; 5. Serendipity in astronomy Andrew C. Fabian; 6. Serendipity in physics Richard Friend; 7. Liberalism and uncertainty Oliver Letwin; 8. The unanticipated pleasures of the writing life Simon Winchester.