SCIENTISTS ARE NATURALLY OPTIMISTIC

[ Sat. Mar. 29. 2008 ]

Writer, editor and architect of a great number of the recent years' scientific bestsellers, American John Brockman recounts how the project came about to summon a hundred brilliant minds, mostly scientists, and each year ask provocative questions to synthesize, in a way, contemporary thought. The answers are striking.

By Juana Libedinsky

NEW YORK — "It was July and so hot that you could fry an egg on Park Avenue. I went out to do some errands, driving around the city in an airconditioned taxi when I was distracted by the news on the radio: the war in Iraq was going from bad to worse; Bush was, well, being Bush (and let me clarify that among the many hundreds of science-minded thinkers that I know, I can count three who are Republicans). It was then that I had the idea: the question of the year could only be "What are you optimistic about!".

Sitting in his magnificent office on Central Park, with the St. Patrick's Day parade going by below, John Brockman, a writer, editor and the agent behind nearly every major scientific bestseller in recent years (such as books by Richard Dawkins, Jared Diamond and Nassim Taleb, among others) talks about how the idea came about for his latest compilation entitled, obviously "What are you optimistic about?" ...

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