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Is Science Nearing its Limits?
Series: Gulbenkian Foundation Publications
Categories: 21st Century, Portuguese
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Emílio Rui Vilar, President of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
George Steiner, University of Cambridge
Dieter Lüst, Ludwig Maximilians University
Peter Woit, Columbia University
Wolf Singer, Max Planck Institute for Brain Research
Luis Álvarez-Gaumé, CERN
Lewis Wolpert, University College London
Helga Nowotny, European Research College
Eörs Szathmáry, Collegium Budapest
John Horgan, Stevens Institute of Technology
João Caraça, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation
Freeman Dyson, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University
Laura Bossi, Foundation for Biological Psychiatry Pierre Deniker
Jean-Pierre Luminet, Paris-Meudon Observatory, CNRS
In October 2007 the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation invited fourteen of the world’s most innovative thinkers to debate the future of science and scientific practice in an international conference in Lisbon. The challenging papers published here are the result of their engagement with the ethics, potential and limitations of science. Their authors’ areas of expertise encompass life sciences and mathematics, particle physics and law, but all work at the cutting edge of their specialisms, and all share a concern to share scientific knowledge and explore the consequences of scientific development in their practical and moral dimensions.
Four central themes emerge: the extraordinary paradoxes of string theory, the potential for progress within the life sciences, incompleteness and inconsistency in scientific thinking, and how science changes human understanding of our place in the universe. Twenty-first-century science involves disturbing issues of choice and responsibility, as well as inspiring opportunities. Is Science Nearing its Limits? raises questions that concern us all. As Emílio Rui Vilar writes in his Foreword, ‘what prevails is the impulse that is inherent in the human condition, to know more and to want to understand things better’.
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