Books That Inspire 2006

Cat's Cradle
Kurt Vonnegut

Most of the threads of my intellectual life are woven together in this great book: the role of scientist as educator; the side-effects of military funding of scientific discovery; the fundamental importance of defining structure, and the pragmatic need to evaluate the institution of science less by what it is and more by what it does. There were many technical works written in the 1960s about why society ought to consider the costs of technological advance, but Cat’s Cradle achieves the same goal artistically. Vonnegut also manages to throw in a love story; a creation myth; incisive social commentary, and a believable vision of the end of the worldnot in fire, but in ice-nine.
Kyran Mish

Civil Engineering and Environmental Science