172— November 1, 2005
History abounds with examples of how instinct, not data, led to discoveries. Even Einstein's theory of relativity had to wait decades for verification, says Ian McEwan
...This collection, mostly written by working scientists, does not represent the antithesis of science. These are not simply the unbuttoned musings of professionals on their day off. The contributions, ranging across many disparate fields, express the spirit of a scientific consciousness at its best - informed guesswork that is open-minded, free-ranging, intellectually playful.
replies offer versions of the future in various fields of study.
Those readers educated in the humanities, accustomed to the pessimism
that is generally supposed to be the mark of a true intellectual,
will be struck by the optimistic tone. Some, like the psychologist
Martin Seligman, believe we are not rotten to the core. Others
even seem to think that the human lot could improve.
Copyright © Ian McEwan, 2005. Excerpted in The Telegraph from Ian McEwan's introduction to What We Believe But Cannot Prove: Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty, edited by John Brockman (UK: Free Press); (US: HarperCollins, forthcoming).
Festival della Scienza 2005 (October 27 - November 8), under the direction of Vittorio Bo, will present leading third culture intellectuals (including numerous Edgies), who are pushing the frontiers of science. Participants include geneticist Luigi Luca Cavalli Sforza, science historian George Dyson, archaeologist Brian Fagan, paleontologist Richard Fortey, physicist Neil Gershenfeld, string theorist Brian Greene, physicist Robert Laughlin, mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot, zoologist Desomond Morris, mathematical physicist Roger Penrose, cosmologist Martin Rees, Merrott ruhlen, biologist Steven Rose, theoretical physicist Gino Segre, physicist John Stachel, paleontologist Tattersall, genomics researcher Craig Venter, among others, and includes influential journalists such as Alun Anderson (New Scientist) and Armando Massarenti (Il Sole 24 Ore). [Click here for a PDF file of the programme].
All roads lead to Genoa for one of the world's leading third culture events.
THE $100,000 EDGE OF COMPUTATION SCIENCE PRIZE
For individual scientific work, extending the computational idea, performed, published, or newly applied within the past ten years.
Edge of Computation Science Prize, established by Edge Foundation,
Inc., is a $100,000 prize initiated and funded by science
philanthropist Jeffrey Epstein.
The Prize recognizes individual achievement in scientific work that embodies extensions of the computational idea — the design space created by Turing. It is a 21st Century prize in recognition of cutting edge work — theoretical, experimental, or both — performed, published, or newly applied within the past ten years.
While many people may contribute to any advance, no advance takes place without an individual who has the will to impose a new reality on the world. The Prize recognizes such individuals, who may be nominated as a leader, or representative, of a team. (A nomination of two-person collaboration was allowed in the slim chance the judges determine that the collaboration is so extraordinary that an exception is warranted.)
The Prize is not a lifetime achievement award. It is (a) an Edge Prize that focuses on "the edge of the world's knowledge" in 2005, and (b) a science prize, not an engineering prize, which encompasses computer science but is far more broadly construed.
Edge asked ask a wide array of people who bring a diversity of interests and expertise to participate in the nominating process by nominating an individual for the Prize within the above parameters. The judges, who shall remain anonymous, are members of the Edge community in computational science.
The list of nominees are being announced Tuesday, November 1st at Festival della Scienza 2005 in Genoa and simultaneously on Edge. The judging will take place on Tuesday-Wednesday, November 8th & 9th, and the winner will be announced on this page on Thursday. November 11th.
Alun Anderson, Chris Anderson, Thomas A. Bass, Patrick Bateson, Stewart Brand, Rodney Brooks, Andy Clark, Paul Davies, Daniel C, Dennett, David Deutsch, Freeman Dyson, George Dyson, Edward Feigenbaum, Beatrice Golomb, Marc D. Hauser, W. Daniel Hillis, Steve Jurvetson, Eric Kandel, George Lakoff, Jaron Lanier, Armand Leroi, Seth Lloyd, Marvin Minsky, Nathan Myhrvold, Douglas Rushkoff, Jordan Pollack, Steven Quartz, Carolyn Porco, Dan Rockmore, Terrence Sejnowski, Michael Shermer, Clay Shirky, Charles Simonyi, Lee Smolin, Maria Spiropulu, Tom Standage, Nassim Taleb, Joseph Traub, J. Craig Venter, Dan Wegner, Anton Zeilinger
LAURENCE ABBOTT, for using mathematical modeling to study the neural networks that are responsible for our actions and behaviors.
BAILEY (Peter Borwein, and Simon Plouffe), for their 1997
work on the BBP algorithm, an exact computation of any digit
of PI without computing previous digits.
J BENTLEY for "Digital Gardening" — taking
the first steps in creating the new science of digital horticulture...by
allowing programs to evolve and grow instead of being designed.
SERGEY BRIN, For achieving practical scaling in social software.
CHAITIN, for extraordinary insights into the nature of mathematical
truth, building on the seminal work of Kurt Gödel and Alan
DAVID DEUTSCH, for the enormous potential of quantum computing in studying the architecture of the brain.
DOYNE FARMER & NORMAN
H. PACKARD, for their work at the forefront of the sciences
GEDYE, the computer scientist who co-conceived of SETI@home,
the distributed computing effort for finding extraterrestrial
HAUSSLER, for pioneering work in the fields of computational
learning theory and bioinformatics, and for establishing strong
and productive interdisciplinary interactions between computer
scientists and molecular biologists.
STUART KAUFFMAN, for work on the dynamical-computational foundations of cell biology.
KITANO, for seminal work in genetic algorithms, artificial
life and multi-agent systems before pioneering and leading the
field of computational systems biology and establishing two ERATO
SETH LLOYD, for turning quantum computers from dream into device.
MANDELBROT, for developing the multi-fractal theory for times
MONTAGUE, for creating a new computational architecture of
mind, value computing, that underlies a revolution in our understanding
OFRIA, for the experimental study of digital organisms to
improve our understanding of how natural evolution works.
ERIC PAULOS, for pushing the boundaries of technology as human extension in tele-robotics, atmosphere, communications, and feedback mechanisms.
JORDAN POLLACK, for pioneering physical instantiations of deeply adaptive systems.
PETER SHOR, for his discovery of revolutionary algorithms for quantum computation, which will hasten the day when this fundamentally new mode of computation becomes practicable.
J. CRAIG VENTER, whose work is (a) outstandingly important, (b) intellectually exciting, and (c) based on advances in information processing in addition to advances in chemical hardware.
CRAIG VENTER, for the shotgun sequencing technique, which
revolutionized genetic analysis and thus biology and medicine.
WISDOM, for illuminating, through his seminal work in both
analytical and computational celestial dynamics, the role that
dynamical chaos plays in the long-term evolution of the solar
system, with far-reaching consequences for a diverse range of
topics including the evolution of climate, the possibility of
life on Mars, and the origin of life on Earth.
STEPHEN WOLFRAM, for asking what the very simplest programs actually do — and establishing their systematic study as a field of basic science.