The Book

The Author

Table of Contents

Cambridge Press

Advance Praise



Advance Praise for Uncertain Science ... Uncertain World

'Public policy debates are constantly getting stuck in the mire of perceptions about scientific uncertainty and risk. Yet science is no different than many other areas of human experience, in that uncertainty and risk are inevitably present. In a readable, entertaining presentation, Henry Pollack removes some of the mystery surrounding scientific uncertainty by placing it alongside examples from everyday life.'

Sir John Houghton, Co-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and author of Global Warming--The Complete Briefing

'Uncertain Science...Uncertain World gives the layman an excellent inside look at how science works and flourishes even though it is immersed in uncertainty. Pollack analyses the paradox that society is unable or unwilling to address environmental problems of global scale - often under the pretence that there's not enough scientific certainty to take action - while at the same time the insurance industry and other businesses routinely hedge the risks attendant to an uncertain future. It's my hope that this very clearly written book, devoid of both polemics and equations, will be widely read by the general public and policy-makers.'

Paul Crutzen, Winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for work on the Ozone hole

'This excellent book will serve as a blast of common sense to counter two dangerous attitudes. One is the desperate search for impossible certainties in a complex world where few comprehend the meaning of probability. The other is a belief that scientists are the magicians of today who can deliver certainty by 'scientific tests'. Pollack writes with vigour and clarity about big issues such as global warming, and reading this book ought to help us become better judges when 'facts' conflict. There are few more important attributes we need for the twenty-first century.'

Aubrey Manning, Professor Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh, and author of An Introduction to Animal Behaviour

'At last we have a solid, scientific look at the vexing subject of uncertainty. You may not be more certain about some subjects when you finish this book, but you'll understand why.'

James Trefil, Professor of Physics at George Mason University, and author of A Scientist in the City

'Uncertain Science...Uncertain World is certain to clarify one of the most fundamental popular misconceptions about science - that it is exact and certain. Henry Pollack demolishes the mythology about certainty in science with short and clear examples of how uncertainty is both endemic to science and not a cause for paralysis or inaction. This well-written book is a welcome antidote to the misrepresentations of special interests, who misuse scientific uncertainty to stall public policy and advance their own agendas.'

Stephen Schneider, Professor of Environmental Biology at Stanford University and author of Laboratory Earth: The Planetary Gamble We Can't Afford To Lose

'Too often, scientists fall into the quicksand of technical jargon and fail to communicate important information to the general public. In Uncertain Science...Uncertain World, Henry Pollack uses plain English and engaging examples to explore uncertainty both in science and everyday life.'

Neal Lane, Professor at Rice University, former Science Advisor to President Clinton and former Director of the U. S. National Science Foundation