Neal Stephenson’s The Diamond Age (1995) has had a significant impact on many people; not only is it one of the precursors to the Center for Science and the Imagination, but it has also been used by the likes of Amazon for code words related to the development of the Kindle e-reader. The ideas in it […]
Space exploration has always been driven by both the imagination of the individual and the political will of nations. When the United States decided to go to the Moon it was an inherently political endeavor, part of the Cold War arms race; however, the majesty of the journey itself inspired the imaginations of millions of people to dream of traveling far beyond the Moon.
Have you ever thought about robots? I mean really thought about them. They are so prevalent in science fiction that it is easy to take the existence of robots for granted. But someone had to invent robots at some point, and for some reason. The answer can be found partially in the etymology of the word: the English robot comes from the Czech robota, meaning forced or compulsory labor. The term “robot” in its original use would be unfamiliar to modern audiences; it was first used by Karel Čapek in his work R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots), a science fiction play from 1920.
David Quammen’s Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic (W.W. Norton, 2012) is an eloquent book, weaving a compelling, scientifically-grounded narrative about the potential for emergent global pandemics. I have come to expect nothing less from Quammen, who throughout his illustrious career has elevated scientific journalism to a true art form. As a scientist […]
Have you ever wondered what people in the past thought the future would be like? What kinds of inventions they thought would revolutionize the way we live? When I look back at what people thought our present would look like, I feel a little cheated in some ways (I mean, where is my jetpack?), while […]