The Importance of Being Interested went on my book wishlist as soon as I saw its back cover description and its promises of exploration and wonder. It aims to be a book of science communication rather than a book of science facts, where author Robin Ince tries to convey why he finds science wonderful and inspiring rather than clinical and cynical. Spoiler alert: he does this really well.
Each chapter focuses on a topic – including time, the universe, conspiracy theories, and religion – and features answers and discussions from scientists who work in areas related to that topic as well as people from other fields who have interesting perspectives to offer, from astronauts to authors to paranormal investigators. These chapters and their discussions will probably introduce you to areas of science that you didn’t know existed. For me, this book was my first introduction to the idea of space archaeology, and Ince’s brief explanation of the field demonstrated both the sheer coolness of that title and the meaningful value of the field. (He also gets bonus points for not following up any of the odder-sounding aspects of the book with the usual tired jokes about research funding!).
The input from the experts also feels “just right”: Ince gives each expert space to explore ideas rather than being forced into simplified soundbite answers, but without just parroting their words. Some experts reappear across multiple topics and chapters in a way that feels natural and contributes to the book feeling like a larger conversation rather than a linear list of topics.
“Black holes are the reason spaghetti needed to be transformed into a verb”Continue reading “Review | The Importance of Being Interested – Robin Ince”