Brian Clegg holds a physics degree from Cambridge and has written regular columns, features, and reviews for numerous magazines. His most recent book is Before the Big Bang.
It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn.
—Mary Shelley (1797–1851), Frankenstein (1818)
Mass destruction—killing on a vast scale—is a uniquely human concern. It’s not that other animal species aren’t threatened by it. Many have been driven to extinction, and many more now teeter on the brink.