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Is Science Nearing its Limits?

George Steiner and Emilio Rui Vilar

Is Science Nearing its Limits?
Series: Gulbenkian Foundation Publications
Categories: 21st Century, Portuguese
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • Contributors:

    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’.

    Emilio Rui Vilar
    Emilio Rui Vilar was born in Oporto in1939. He graduated in law from Coimbra University in 1961 and has been President of the Board of Trustees of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation since May 2002. He is also President of the Portuguese Foundation Centre and Chairman of the European Foundation Centre. Since ... read more
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