Edge 283—May 1, 2009
(6,000 words)

THE THIRD CULTURE

MADDOX BY HIS SUCCESSOR
By Philip Campbell

HOW TO PREVENT A PANDEMIC
By Nathan Wolfe

ARTICLES OF NOTE

NATURE
Obituary: John Maddox (1925-2009)
Walter Gratzer

THE BOSTON GLOBE
Inside the Baby Mind
By Jonah Lehrer

ABC NEWS
GOOD MORNING AMERICA

Swine Flu Hits Mexico
Dr. Nathan Wolfe

NATURE
Tech Titans Plan to Save the Planet

THE NEW YORK TIMES
Editorial
Photos from Saturn

THE NEW YORK TIMES
Don't Waste Time Cutting Emissions
By Bjorn Lomborg



It has been said of the archetypal Great Man (by Nietzsche) that "he is colder, harder, less hesitating and without fear of opinion". To me, whether Maddox was a Great Man or not, that seems a fair description. Nietzsche also said that such a person "wears a mask: there is a solitude within him that is inaccessible to praise or blame." Maddox was as capable as anyone of openly enjoying people's company or, when necessary, of good poker-like negotiation. He was someone for whom collegiality mattered, but for whom it was ultimately impersonal. He was a good judge of people, often supportive, never (as far as I know) betraying the interests of his staff whereas, in professional contexts, he could be ruthless and always retained a cool-headed detachment. These qualities, combined with his journalistic virtuosities, made him a controversial editor but also a great one.

MADDOX BY HIS SUCCESSOR
By Philip Campbell

Philip Campbell succeeded John Maddox as editor of Nature in 1995.

Philip Cambell's Edge Bio Page.

PERMALINK


MADDOX BY HIS SUCCESSOR

It was early 1980 and the news was astonishing. John Maddox was coming back to be, for the second time, the editor of Nature.

To appreciate just how astonishing this was, you have to know about certain negative-sounding facts that some would say shouldn't be part of a tribute. But Maddox saw journalism, and his editorship, as above all being about uncovering truths, however uncomfortable.

John Maddox: retired and knighted, 1996.
Maddox family archive

At the time the news broke, the editor of Nature, David "Dai" Davies, had just decided to move on after seven years. Then a junior editor in the physical sciences, I was as concerned as the rest of my editorial colleagues about who might take over. As part of a consultative procedure, we'd seen the names on the shortlist, and were underwhelmed. To judge by what happened next, Macmillan's then managing director Nicholas Byam Shaw, whose own tribute to Maddox precedes this one, wasn't that keen on them either.

Dai Davies had had the task of taking over Nature from Maddox in 1973. Maddox had made the journal very much his own fiefdom over a period of seven years, and had left, so rumour had it, under something of a cloud. Indeed, I was told on my own first arrival at Nature in 1979 that one of our principal agendas was to restore the journal's reputation following Maddox's (as it was described) over-involvement, which had resulted in sometimes whimsical decision-making and delays in the handling of scientific papers.

So, a year or so later, you can imagine my surprise, and the consternation (leading to at least one departure) of more senior staff, when Byam Shaw, sweeping aside the shortlist and all consultation, announced that the new editor was to be John Maddox. I'd prefer not to speculate on what Dai Davies's feelings were, although I have no doubt that he handled the transition with decency and professionalism.

So Maddox took over, and Nature proceeded to do what it had done for much of his previous editorship. It thrived.

As I recall from my time as physical-sciences editor (I moved on to launch Physics World in 1988), Maddox did not involve himself much in decisions over scientific papers. Nevertheless, as he described on his final retirement (see Nature 378, 521–523; 1995), it was he, when he first became Nature's editor in 1966, who had transformed the assessment of such manuscripts from a process based on word-of-mouth recommendations to a system based on peer review. By the time he took over again from Davies, that system was less dependent on the editor and far more dependent on specialist editors in close contact with their respective communities — as it still is.

Despite his original establishment of the peer-review process at Nature, Maddox always had strong reservations about its conservatism. These were perhaps best reflected in his view that the Watson and Crick paper on the structure of DNA wouldn't pass muster under the current system. That paper was published as a result of recommendations by Lawrence Bragg, the head of Watson and Crick's laboratory, and John Randall. (The idea of Nature publishing a paper on the recommendations of the head of the authors' lab is nowadays, of course, sadly but appropriately laughable.)

But, as Maddox's redoubtable and indispensable assistant Mary Sheehan knew only too well — as did some authors who appealed to him to reverse his staff's decisions — committing himself to close involvement with even a few manuscripts was usually a recipe for aeons of delay. Indeed, I fully expect to be told that a pile of still-unanswered appeals has been discovered in the back of his car. On the other hand, he was also delighted occasionally to spot a really important paper and ensure its processing and publication at record-breaking speed.

Although Maddox had learned to delegate the assessment of submitted papers, he worried that his staff were, like referees, too conservative, and also (especially in hot areas of biology), too intent on achieving high impact factors and not ready enough to recognize bold ideas. I suspect there isn't an editor anywhere who doesn't worry about missing great new ideas, and we all have ways of trying to address the issue. Maddox had the willingness and authority very occasionally to ignore or even abandon the peer-review system when he was convinced that it would do nothing but delay publication. He ignored it in publishing the cosmological ideas of Fred Hoyle and colleagues — Hoyle was just the sort of brilliantly unconventional scientist whom Maddox respected most — and abandoned it altogether in publishing the first, controversial hominid discoveries made by Richard Leakey at the Olduvai Gorge.

Nature covers for the 100- and 125-year anniversary issues in 1969 and 1994. Maddox was editor on both occasions.

But it was as a journalist that Maddox most made his mark as Nature's editor, in both of his incarnations. The journal's significant increase in international circulation in the 1980s and 1990s during his second stint reflected not only strong marketing but also the impact of his journalistic instincts at play. And I mean 'play', rather than work. Like every Editor of Nature (and many of their colleagues), he worked ridiculous hours, but knew that the secret of survival was, above all, simply to enjoy the work. One of his favourite stated reasons for embarking on a controversial course of action was that it would be 'Fun' — a Maddoxian term received by colleagues with an equal measure of glee and foreboding.

Throughout his editorships, he was fecund in his writing, and brilliantly voracious in his scientific interests. Often more reliant on his capacious memory than was advisable for accuracy, his errors of fact were a blemish in his writings, at least in later years. But for me and many other readers, such faults rarely seemed to undermine the stimulating quality at the heart of what he had to say.

There were many controversies — some more resonant than others. One that has left little impact, but that much preoccupied him, sprang from a combination of his loathing of political correctness in environmental issues and his scientific instinct that people were exaggerating the dangers in global change. The latter instinct was at the heart of his attack on Rachel Carson's Silent Spring in his book The Doomsday Syndrome (McGraw-Hill, 1972). But it was the combination of science and guts, I think, that subsequently led him to campaign against the espousal by Carl Sagan and others of nuclear-winter scenarios, and against the consensus-forming principles of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Several other controversies were, in my view, more interesting and certainly focused the minds of his editorialcolleagues. I much regret that he never fulfilled his wish to write a book about three notorious debates in which he played an important part: AIDS and Peter Duesburg, 'cold fusion', and Jacques Benveniste's claim that water can have 'memory'. Although he no doubt relished the controversies as Fun, I am certain that he was intellectually fully committed in his pursuit of them. He truly believed that those casting doubt on links between HIV and AIDS were scientifically pernicious, and campaigned accordingly. He wanted to ensure the scientific integrity of claims and rebuttals of cold fusion, and took trouble to ensure that his decisions to reject one of the original claims and to publish one of the experimental rebuttals were well founded.

And as for Benveniste, the episode will go down in the annals of scientific publishing as one extreme way to handle a report of what seems to be an absurd scientific result that comes from a well-respected laboratory and that the referees cannot fault: publish, and then send in an inquisitional team, including the conjuror James Randi, to investigate. Benveniste's results could not be replicated. A good account of the affair can be found in Philip Ball's book H2O: A Biography of Water (Phoenix, 2000). (Phil was working at Nature at the time of the controversy.) People sometimes ask me whether I would have done such a thing. Hindsight is always 20–20, but perhaps I'd have brought in the conjuror before rather than after publication.

Maddox was close to influential people just about everywhere, not least the British establishment — he was a networker par excellence, and made it his business to know at least cabinet ministers and preferably prime ministers. But he never seemed to fit comfortably within these charmed circles in Britain until after he had retired — if then. This was probably right and proper — his opinionated leading articles usually ensured that he was unpopular with somebody important. Characteristically, sometime in the mid-1980s, he walked out of a meeting of the UK Medical Research Council to which he had been invited. He did so, by his own account, as soon as he realized that he'd been summoned to defend his public criticisms of the body and its then head, James Gowans.

Despite, or perhaps partly because of, such attitudes, but also no doubt as a tribute to his lifetime of achievement as a science journalist and editor, he was awarded a specially created honorary fellowship of the Royal Society and a knighthood, soon after his retirement.

As a result of his controversies, Maddox made enemies, but also attracted people who remember him fondly as an editor willing to champion unusual ideas before everyone else had seen their value. Ultimately, his complete editorial independence was backed by Nicholas Byam Shaw and by the Macmillan family, then Nature's owners, who simply referred all complaints about him directly to him.

Maddox also championed places. He instigated a series of regional supplements, and liked nothing more than to plunge into a place — historically, geographically, politically and scientifically — and recount its many aspects in 20 or 30 pages of Maddoxian prose.

Arrogance? Journalistic hubris? Maybe so, yet the results, especially when he was inspired by scientists' resilience in the face of obstacles in, say, India or Russia, were often compelling. But at a cost. As one of my colleagues, production editor Charles Wenz, describes it, a supplement was 'finished' in Maddox's mind when he knew what he wanted to say. The nuts and bolts of putting it together came later, usually after the deadline.

It has been said of the archetypal Great Man (by Nietzsche) that "he is colder, harder, less hesitating and without fear of opinion". To me, whether Maddox was a Great Man or not, that seems a fair description. Nietzsche also said that such a person "wears a mask: there is a solitude within him that is inaccessible to praise or blame." Maddox was as capable as anyone of openly enjoying people's company or, when necessary, of good poker-like negotiation. He was someone for whom collegiality mattered, but for whom it was ultimately impersonal. He was a good judge of people, often supportive, never (as far as I know) betraying the interests of his staff whereas, in professional contexts, he could be ruthless and always retained a cool-headed detachment. These qualities, combined with his journalistic virtuosities, made him a controversial editor but also a great one.

I've deliberately kept this account factual, by and large. Maddox appointed many talented people, some of whom still work for Nature and have good memories of him. He sacked some talented people too, who may have a more negative perspective than I do. But I've not tried to appraise him. I couldn't do it even if it were appropriate for me to try. In that impersonal sense that I have mentioned, I was influenced by his journalistic approach — he showed by example rather than tuition what could be done, while respecting his colleagues' capacity for making their own judgements. In various ways, both in the publication and in the Nature offices, things have changed significantly since he left — whether for better or worse is for others to judge. But many of the basic standards and procedures that he established are still in operation.

When, in 1980, I heard that John Maddox was returning to be Nature's editor again, all I knew about him was his radio broadcasts on science, to which I and other young researchers I knew had listened avidly, and the rather questionable aura around his name when it was mentioned in the Nature office at that time. So I had a quiet word with Dai Davies, in full awareness of Dai's rather delicate position, but also knowing his integrity, and asked him to tell me about John. Not being a close acquaintance of John's himself, and no doubt conscious of sensitivities too, he didn't tell me much. But he said one thing that seemed simplistic at the time but which I came to see as profoundly true about John, and which is as fitting an epitaph for Nature's pages as anyone could wish: John loved science.

[First published in Nature, 17 April 2009 | 458, 985-986 (2009]


My organization and its collaborators have recently set up virus monitoring stations in China, Laos, Madagascar, Malaysia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Yet this is just a beginning. To establish a worldwide safety net, we would need to monitor thousands of people exposed to animals in dozens of sites around the world — not only hunters but also people working on farms and in animal markets. It is important that the American government make pandemic prevention a priority and devote more resources to expanding disease surveillance in people and in wild and domestic animal populations throughout the world.

HOW TO PREVENT A PANDEMIC
By Nathan Wolfe

NATHAN WOLFE is the Lorry Lokey Visiting Professor of Human Biology at Stanford University and directs the Global Viral Forecasting Initiative (www.gvfi.org). His research combines methods from molecular virology, ecology, evolutionary biology, and anthropology to study the biology of viral emergence.

Nathan Wolfe's Edge Bio Page

PERMALINK


HOW TO PREVENT A PANDEMIC

The swine flu outbreak seems to have emerged without warning. Within a few days of being noticed, the flu had already spread to the point where containment was not possible. Yet the virus behind it had to have existed for some time before it was discovered. Couldn’t we have detected it and acted sooner, before it spread so widely? The answer is likely yes — if we had been paying closer attention to the human-animal interactions that enable new viruses to emerge.

While much remains unknown about how pandemics are born, we are familiar with the kinds of microbes — like SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), influenza and H.I.V. — that present a risk of widespread disease. We know that they usually emerge from animals and most often in specific locations around the world, places like the Congo Basin and Southeast Asia.

By monitoring people who are exposed to animals in such viral hotspots, we can capture viruses at the very moment they enter human populations, and thus develop the ability to predict and perhaps even prevent pandemics.

Over the past 10 years, my colleagues and I have demonstrated that such monitoring is possible. In Cameroon, we have studied hunters who are exposed to the blood and body fluids of monkeys, bats, wild pigs and other hunted animals. By collecting specimens from both the hunters and their prey, we have discovered previously unknown viruses and documented how they’ve jumped from animals to humans. We have seen, for example, a gorilla retrovirus, never before seen in humans, infect one of our study subjects.

Then, by monitoring infected people and those who are in contact with them, we observe what effects these novel viruses have on people, and how easily they can move from person to person.

We can also identify a virus’s genetic and immunological signatures and other biological information that is needed to create diagnostic tests, vaccines and treatments — so that when a disease appears, it is possible to respond as quickly as possible.

Had similar monitoring systems been in place at farms in Mexico, where the current swine flu outbreak is assumed to have emerged, perhaps we would have been able to identify the movement of the virus at or near the point where it entered humans. Such information could have significantly speeded up our response.

We are not alone in working on pandemic prevention. Many federal agencies — including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States Agency for International Development and the Department of Defense — as well as the World Health Organization and private conservation organizations like the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Wildlife Trust are also looking for ways to stop pandemics early. But much more work is needed.

My organization and its collaborators have recently set up virus monitoring stations in China, Laos, Madagascar, Malaysia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Yet this is just a beginning. To establish a worldwide safety net, we would need to monitor thousands of people exposed to animals in dozens of sites around the world — not only hunters but also people working on farms and in animal markets. It is important that the American government make pandemic prevention a priority and devote more resources to expanding disease surveillance in people and in wild and domestic animal populations throughout the world.

Our current global public health strategies are reminiscent of cardiology in the 1950s — when doctors focused solely on responding to heart attacks and ignored the whole idea of prevention.

We needn’t have been so surprised by the swine flu last week, and we must make sure that we are not caught off guard by the epidemics that will certainly follow it.

[First published by the OpEd page of The New York Times, April 30, 2009]



NATURE
April 17, 2009

Obituary: John Maddox (1925–2009)

John Maddox, who died on 12 April, was editor of Nature during 1966–73 and 1980–95. He transformed the journal from a collegially amateurish publication into one that was challenging and professional in its assessment of science and in its journalistic reportage.

Walter Gratzer

John Royden Maddox exerted an influence on science and the politics of science that was unequalled by any journalist or editor in recent times. He was unique among science journalists in the depth of his understanding and his authority, for he began his career as an academic scientist and throughout his life maintained a passionate enthusiasm for science. In many areas, especially in theoretical physics and in cosmology, he could debate technical questions with the professionals at their own level. As editor of Nature he took nothing for granted, and was known to settle arguments with authors or referees by tackling the equations himself.

Maddox's intellectual appetites were voracious. His powers of assimilation and a remarkable memory enabled him to talk and write penetratingly on just about any subject with little apparent effort. During his two long stints as editor of Nature, he would dictate his leading articles to his secretary, Mary Sheehan, in prose that seldom needed revision. ...



THE BOSTON GLOBE
April 26, 2009

Inside the baby mind
By Jonah Lehrer

It's unfocused, random, and extremely good at what it does. How we can learn from a baby's brain.

WHAT IS IT like to be a baby? For centuries, this question would have seemed absurd: behind that adorable facade was a mostly empty head. A baby, after all, is missing most of the capabilities that define the human mind, such as language and the ability to reason. Rene Descartes argued that the young child was entirely bound by sensation, hopelessly trapped in the confusing rush of the here and now. A newborn, in this sense, is just a lump of need, a bundle of reflexes that can only eat and cry. To think like a baby is to not think at all.

Modern science has largely agreed, spending decades outlining all the things that babies couldn't do because their brains had yet to develop. They were unable to focus, delay gratification, or even express their desires. The Princeton philosopher Peter Singer famously suggested that "killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all."

Now, however, scientists have begun to dramatically revise their concept of a baby's mind. By using new research techniques and tools, they've revealed that the baby brain is abuzz with activity, capable of learning astonishing amounts of information in a relatively short time. Unlike the adult mind, which restricts itself to a narrow slice of reality, babies can take in a much wider spectrum of sensation - they are, in an important sense, more aware of the world than we are. ...

..."We've had this very misleading view of babies," says Alison Gopnik, a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of the forthcoming book, "The Philosophical Baby." "The baby brain is perfectly designed for what it needs to do, which is learn about the world. There are times when having a fully developed brain can almost seem like an impediment." ...



ABC NEWS
GOOD MORNING AMERICA
April 26, 2009

Swine Flu Hits Mexico

Dr. Nathan Wolfe of the Global Virus Forecasrting Initiative talks about the flu.


[click here]

GMA: And joining us now is one of the world's most foremost virus hunters. When a bug moves from animals to humans in some exotic corner of the globe, Dr. Nathan Wolfe and his team at Gobo al virus forecasting initiative drop in try try to study and contain it. Good morning to you.

NATHAN WOLFE: Good morning.

GMA: How would you characterize this particular virus?

WOLFE: Certainly concerning. What we know is that most important viruses in humanity come from animals. This is an interesting virus because we know that flu has the potential to spread globally and cause major pandemics. This is an interesting one because it's actually a mixed virus that includes bits of pig virus, swine virus, human as well as bird and we still don't know what's going on with it.

GMA: It seems like it's killing people in Mexico but mild cases here in the States. Is that a result of the quality of medicine?

WOLFE: I think its still early to say. Early on in an outbreak like this one of our main objectives is to figure out case mortality rate - what percentage of individuals that it infects does it kill. What's really of concern is that this virus is spreading from human to human which is the point at which we become very, very interested and focus on understanding it. human to human focus to understanding.

GMA: Memories are short, but back in 2003 Sars killed 525 people and then the Asian bird flu popped up that same year and killed about 250 or so. I wonder when we look back at those pictures of everyone in Hong Kong wearing a mask if a certain amount of fear is good to contain something like that.

WOLFE: My take is that attention is necessary important for people t be vigilant. The the good news is that in terms of response we have been thinking about influenza quite a bit. WHO, CDC, to a certain extent organizations such as USAID these are on this topic, they're focused on it, they're thinking about it. But one of the things I think is really important is we'll constantly have these kind of "disease du jour", and this one may turn out to be very important - we need to watch it - but what's vital for us, can we think of ways to prevent these pandemics. Can we be moving away from being cardiologist who waits for the disease to occur which is sort of where we are with regard to global disease control now.

GMA: I see. So we spend billions worrying about terrorism. How prepared are we for fighting a potential plague.

WOLFE: If you think about the importance of these sorts of threats, of infectious disease threats, they're just paramount for humanity. We need to think about responding to them. We need to think much more carefully about do we forecast them. How do we actually prevent pandemics and how do we understand how they're born. This should be a major focus I think of our government and governments throughout the world.

GMA: So for this one stay tuned and wash your hands.

WOLFE: That's right.

[Edge Link: "Waiting For the Final Plague": A Talk with Nathan Wolfe]



NATURE
April 17, 2009

Tech titans plan to save the planet

Former Google philanthropy chief targets climate change and the Middle East.

Declan Butler

Epidemiologist Larry Brilliant, who helped to eradicate smallpox, is to leave his job as head of Google.org, the search giant's philanthropic arm, to lead the Skoll 'Urgent Threats Fund', created this month by Jeffrey Skoll, former founding president of eBay and head of the Skoll Foundation.

The new fund aims to bring money — some $100 million to begin with — along with advocacy, technology and Hollywood, to bear on five threats facing humanity and the planet: climate change, water scarcity, pandemics, nuclear proliferation and conflict in the Middle East. Nature News asked Brilliant about how he intends to help save the world.

How did the idea of an Urgent Threats Fund come about?

About a year and a half ago, I went with Jeff Skoll to India, and I took him to a village that had a lot of polio, a village where I'd worked during the World Health Organization's smallpox eradication programme.

During the conversation, the thread emerged of how the smallpox effort's momentum had been crucial in engendering public support and commitment for polio eradication. That led on to thinking about the whole variety of threats that could bring the planet to its knees, such as climate change and nuclear proliferation, and we figured that one common denominator was that, as with polio, preventing them would require unprecedented levels of sustained public awareness and support.

Jeff said what was needed was to bring together fresh money, the community of social entrepreneurs and organizations already working on these issues, and media campaigns the likes of which nobody has ever seen, and why not the expertise of Hollywood. That's when the idea of the Urgent Threats Funds was born, a dedicated venture that binds together these activities to put them at the service of combating, mitigating and preventing these urgent threats.

Jeff's uniquely placed here. As founder of eBay, he understands technology, and he's supported social entrepreneurs for a decade through his Skoll Foundation. On top of that, his film company Participant Media has so far made 17 films to promote social progress — including An Inconvenient Truth, Good Night and Good Luck, Syriana, Darfur Now, and The Visitor — while his Capricorn Investment Group targets projects that include social goals — and not just profit — in the bottom line, such as the Tesla electric car.

[Edge Link: "Total Early Detection: Rapid Response": Larry Brillitant's TED Prize Wish]



NEW YORK TIMES
April 26, 2009

EDITORIAL

Photos From Saturn

Most of us tend to lose track of space missions, especially unmanned ones. Even a shuttle launch slips by almost unnoticed — a far cry from the old days when the whole planet paused to watch Gagarin or Shepard or Glenn jump skyward in what now look like pressurized tin cans. Such is the hectic gradualism of modern life. What brings this thought to mind is a new collection of photos from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, which has been orbiting Saturn since mid-2004.

What these photographs show is the planet, its moons and its alphabetical rings in many different orientations. Some photographs show Saturn’s turbulent surface. Some show disturbances in the rings (made of ice, dust and debris) caused by so-called shepherd moons, whose gravity helps define the edge of a ring.

Most of the photos were shot at a distance of several hundred thousand miles, but they have a serene and eerie clarity, as if they had been created by computer graphics software. And here is what’s surprising: we find ourselves marveling simply at their beauty, not the technical difficulty of capturing the images.

After all, we have been looking at images from space for a long time now. We have seen video from the moon. We are accustomed to panoramic snapshots from Mars. Thanks to the Hubble telescope, we have looked back through a knothole in time, into a realm where galaxies are as thick as dust motes.

This is the sort of thing that happens on Earth all the time: humans growing used to what is completely extraordinary. The hard part is grasping the actual — understanding that Cassini is actually out there, orbiting Saturn some 700 million miles away.

[Edge Link: "NASA Goes Deep": By Carolyn Porco]



NEW YORK TIMES
April 24, 2009

OPED PAGE

Don’t Waste Time Cutting Emissions

By Bjorn Lomborg

WE are often told that tackling global warming should be the defining task of our age — that we must cut emissions immediately and drastically. But people are not buying the idea that, unless we act, the planet is doomed. Several recent polls have revealed Americans’ growing skepticism. Solving global warming has become their lowest policy priority, according to a new Pew survey.

Moreover, strategies to reduce carbon have failed. Meeting in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, politicians from wealthy countries promised to cut emissions by 2000, but did no such thing. In Kyoto in 1997, leaders promised even stricter reductions by 2010, yet emissions have kept increasing unabated. Still, the leaders plan to meet in Copenhagen this December to agree to even more of the same — drastic reductions in emissions that no one will live up to. Another decade will be wasted.

Fortunately, there is a better option: to make low-carbon alternatives like solar and wind energy competitive with old carbon sources. This requires much more spending on research and development of low-carbon energy technology. We might have assumed that investment in this research would have increased when the Kyoto Protocol made fossil fuel use more expensive, but it has not. ...



WHAT HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR MIND ABOUT
Edited by John Brockman
With An Introduction By BRIAN ENO

The world's finest minds have responded with some of the most insightful, humbling, fascinating confessions and anecdotes, an intellectual treasure trove. ... Best three or four hours of intense, enlightening reading you can do for the new year. Read it now."
San Francisco Chronicle

"A great event in the Anglo-Saxon culture."
El Mundo


Praise for the online publication of
What Have You Change Your Mind About?

"The splendidly enlightened Edge website (www.edge.org) has rounded off each year of inter-disciplinary debate by asking its heavy-hitting contributors to answer one question. I strongly recommend a visit." The Independent

"A great event in the Anglo-Saxon culture." El Mundo

"As fascinating and weighty as one would imagine." The Independent

"They are the intellectual elite, the brains the rest of us rely on to make sense of the universe and answer the big questions. But in a refreshing show of new year humility, the world's best thinkers have admitted that from time to time even they are forced to change their minds." The Guardian

"Even the world's best brains have to admit to being wrong sometimes: here, leading scientists respond to a new year challenge." The Times

"Provocative ideas put forward today by leading figures."The Telegraph

The world's finest minds have responded with some of the most insightful, humbling, fascinating confessions and anecdotes, an intellectual treasure trove. ... Best three or four hours of intense, enlightening reading you can do for the new year. Read it now." San Francisco Chronicle

"As in the past, these world-class thinkers have responded to impossibly open-ended questions with erudition, imagination and clarity." The News & Observer

"A jolt of fresh thinking...The answers address a fabulous array of issues. This is the intellectual equivalent of a New Year's dip in the lake—bracing, possibly shriek-inducing, and bound to wake you up." The Globe and Mail

"Answers ring like scientific odes to uncertainty, humility and doubt; passionate pleas for critical thought in a world threatened by blind convictions." The Toronto Star

"For an exceptionally high quotient of interesting ideas to words, this is hard to beat. ...What a feast of egg-head opinionating!" National Review Online


WHAT ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC ABOUT?
Today's Leading Thinkers on Why Things Are Good and Getting Better
Edited by John Brockman
Introduction by DANIEL C. DENNETT



[2007]

"The optimistic visions seem not just wonderful but plausible." Wall Street Journal

"Persuasively upbeat." O, The Oprah Magazine

"Our greatest minds provide nutshell insights on how science will help forge a better world ahead." Seed

"Uplifting...an enthralling book." The Mail on Sunday


WHAT IS YOUR DANGEROUS IDEA?
Today's Leading Thinkers on the Unthinkable
Edited by John Brockman
Introduction by STEVEN PINKER
Afterword by RICHARD DAWKINS


[2006]

"Danger – brilliant minds at work...A brilliant bok: exhilarating, hilarious, and chilling." The Evening Standard (London)

"A selection of the most explosive ideas of our age." Sunday Herald

"Provocative" The Independent

"Challenging notions put forward by some of the world's sharpest minds" Sunday Times

"A titillating compilation" The Guardian

"Reads like an intriguing dinner party conversation among great minds in science" Discover


WHAT WE BELIEVE BUT CANNOT PROVE?
Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty
Edited by John Brockman
Introduction by IAN MCEWAN


[2006]

"Whether or not we believe proof or prove belief, understanding belief itself becomes essential in a time when so many people in the world are ardent believers." LA Times

"Belief appears to motivate even the most rigorously scientific minds. It stimulates and challenges, it tricks us into holding things to be true against our better judgment, and, like scepticism -its opposite -it serves a function in science that is playful as well as thought-provoking. not we believe proof or prove belief, understanding belief itself becomes essential in a time when so many people in the world are ardent believers." The Times

"John Brockman is the PT Barnum of popular science. He has always been a great huckster of ideas." The Observer

"An unprecedented roster of brilliant minds, the sum of which is nothing short of an oracle—a book ro be dog-eared and debated." Seed

"Scientific pipedreams at their very best." The Guardian

"Makes for some astounding reading." Boston Globe

"Fantastically stimulating...It's like the crack cocaine of the thinking world.... Once you start, you can't stop thinking about that question." BBC Radio 4

"Intellectual and creative magnificence" The Skeptical Inquirer



[2008]



"Compelling"
"Stellar"

"Important"

[2006]

"Irresistible"
"Excellent"
"Fascinating"


[2006]

"incisive"
"deeply passionate"
"engaging"

[2004]

"Intriguing"
"Engrossing"
"Invigorating"



[1994]

"Rousing"
"Astonishing"
"Bloodthirsty"

[2000]

"Dazzling"
"Wondrous"
"Outstanding"


[2002]


"Provocative"
"Captivating"
"Mind-stretching"

Edge Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit private operating foundation under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.


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