EDGE.ORG AND BIG QUESTIONS: THE VIRTUAL 'THINK TANKS'

[ Wed. Feb. 20. 2013 ]

In a review published early last year in The Observer, the cultural entrepreneur John Brockman had his friend artist James Lee Byars had shared with him a sort of epiphany that changed his life. Byars believed that "to achieve a satisfactory level of knowledge would be crazy to go to Widener Library at Harvard and read six million books. Instead, they should be locked up in a room at the 100 brightest minds in the world and have them ask each other the things we were wondering themselves. "

The experiment did not work exactly as I imagined Byars, but that room Brockman built virtually in 1996 to create Edge.org, a site that brings together more than 600 scientists, artists, philosophers, entrepreneurs, and other intellectuals who share their knowledge free with the world, in order to "reach the boundaries (edge) of knowledge." One of the most interesting ways to share in this forum is through the question posed annually. In 2010, the question was "how the Internet is changing the way you think? ". In 2011, the question was "What scientific concept would improve your thinking?". And the most recent question was "what is your explanation profound, beautiful or elegant favorite?". ... If you review some of the more than 190 answers posted online find, among others, a physicist who explains why his favorite is "why we live in a world understandable" and a psychologist who vote for the "sexual conflict theory "along with many others, from the most general to the most specialized. Certainly, reading material for several months.