Curated essays on genetics

[ Sat. Jun. 11. 2016 ]

John Brockman is a colourful character, known to share photos of himself rubbing shoulders with the likes of Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, or John Cage. That popular culture should include intelligent conversations about science is a given for him.

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Edge.org, sometimes dubbed “the world’s smartest website”, was born out of an idea from Brockman’s late friend, performance artist James Lee Byars, who suggested that rather than trying to assimilate the information contained in the six million books housed in the Harvard library it might be more productive and instructive to assemble the hundred most brilliant minds and have them ask each other questions in order to achieve what Brockman has referred to as “a synthesis of all thought”.

Life is the fifth volume in The Best Of Edge series, and as with previous books, most of the featured content has already appeared on the Edge.org website....

...[T]here is an advantage to reading the essays featured in Life as opposed to gleaning information from random articles on the Internet.

On the net knowledge is dispersed, whereas this book has a structured sense of narrative, showing how research from different disciplines, and their disciples, can bolster and inform each other.

Ultimately, the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, perhaps an apt and fitting off-the-cuff metaphor for the subject matter – life.