THE EDGE "NEW AGE OF WONDER" DINNER 2010

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  • Edge Dinners

A NEW AGE OF WONDER

In a 2009 talk at the Bristol Festival of Ideas, Freeman Dyson articulated a vision for the future. Referencing The Age Of Wonder, by Richard Holmes, which was centered on chemistry and poetry, Dyson pointed out that we are entering a new Age of Wonder, which dominated by computational biology. 

"A new generation of artists," Dyson said, "writing genomes as fluently as Blake and Byron wrote verses, might create an abundance of new flowers and fruit and trees and birds to enrich the ecology of our planet. Most of these artists would be amateurs, but they would be in close touch with science, like the poets of the earlier Age of Wonder. The new Age of Wonder might bring together wealthy entrepreneurs ... and a worldwide community of gardeners and farmers and breeders, working together to make the planet beautiful as well as fertile, hospitable to hummingbirds as well as to humans." 

The leaders of the new Age of Wonder, Dyson noted, include "biology wizards" Kary MullisCraig Venter, medical engineer Dean Kamen; and "computer wizards" Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Charles Simonyi, and  John Brockman and Katinka Matson, the cofounders of Edge, the nexus of this intellectual activity.