One fashionable school of thought holds that scientific revolutions are spurred primarily by shifts in the basic concepts that science understands the world with, and that those shifts are largely the outcome of struggles in the social and political realms. Freeman Dyson, however, is having none of it. For him, scientific breakthroughs owe just as much to the introduction of new technologies--the telescope in early modern Europe, for instance; the computer more recently. He's not the first to make that argument, but his lifetime of accomplishments as an eminent theoretical physicist puts some heft behind his claims.
Dyson likewise argues that new technologies can have as much of an effect on the social and political realms as new ideologies do. In particular, he cites three burgeoning technologies--solar energy, genetic engineering, and the Internet--for their potential to affect a more equitable worldwide distribution of wealth and power in the coming century. His visions of the future meander a bit, and they include such seemingly outlandish possibilities as forests of genetically enhanced trees oozing high-octane fuel from their roots and laser-launched earthlings colonizing the comets of the Kuiper Belt. But it's the business of visionaries to be outlandish, after all, and you have to admit: this one does have better credentials than most. --Julian Dibbell --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Although the title implies discrete concepts, this book from the professor emeritus of physics at Princeton finds a common thread among themAthat developments in our use of each of these elements can be employed, separately and together, to create a more just society. Dyson, who bases this slim volume on a series of lectures he gave at the New York Public Library in 1997, argues that, if properly deployed, solar power can introduce cheap electricity to poor villages, the genome can be used to synthesize life-sustaining plants and the Net can provide jobs to people with no access to cities. After laying out these somewhat conventional arguments, Dyson takes an unusual turn by asserting how genetic engineering in plants and non-chemical-based rocket technology can enhance the space program, which he feels suffers as a result of political considerations. For our long-term benefit, he says, the U.S. government should be plotting voyages of great distance to pave the way for human life in space, instead of launching short-term manned missions that often ignore the prospects of space colonization. In attempting to write both a broad work of futurism and a deep social critique, Dyson offers an appetizing perspective, but many readers will find themselves eager for more than is given in this all too brief, albeit tantalizing, book.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Much of the material here has been covered in Dyson's other books, and there is plenty of filler. One mildly interesting aspect of this book is that Dyson revises some of his... Read morePublished 10 months ago by ogilvie
The title is misleading - the essay that addresses "the Sun, the Genome and the Interent" is only a small part of this short book. Read morePublished on Dec 21 2001 by The Don Wood Files
Dyson's future is a utopia based on advanced technology, the benefits of which are equitably distributed to all. Read morePublished on Sept. 27 2001 by Aquatic Ape
Think of this book as an engaging evening with a rather authoritarian dreamer who happens to be a distinguished scientist. Read morePublished on June 1 2001 by Rolf Dobelli
In this book Freeman Dyson contends that the driving force of scientific revolutions is more often new tools rather than new concepts. Read morePublished on Oct. 22 2000 by Tatsuo Tabata
This is yet another wonderful book written by the physicist / mathematician Freeman J. Dyson of Princeton university. Read morePublished on July 16 2000 by D. Roberts
In these passionate "threshold" conferences, Dyson leans out on Tomorrow with the vision capacity of Verne and Wells, aware however to be just sketching one of the... Read morePublished on June 19 2000 by Hermes Trismegistus
Wow, Freeman Dyson, as usual, is very theoretical. This is not a spectacular read, but it is more of an opinion coming from a physicist who shares an outline of what he thinks... Read morePublished on June 15 2000