Thursday, September 27, 2012

Renowed Science Fiction Author Predicts New Building Will Heal the Divide Between the Hard Sciences and the Arts and Humanities

The University of California, San Diego, recently dedicated a one-of-a-kind building, which is home to structural engineers, nanoengineers, medical device researchers and visual artists. Best-selling science fiction author and UC San Diego alumnus David Brin was the keynote speaker at the event and imagined some of the future discoveries engineers and artists will make by working hand-in-hand. 
Brin is particularly well suited for this exercise. He has won both the prestigious Nebula and Hugo awards for science fiction writing and also earned a Ph.D. in physics from UC San Diego in 1981.
The building will help heal the divide described by philosopher C. P. Snow 50 years ago between the academic culture of the hard sciences and the arts and humanities, Brin said. “This building will thrive because its cells are leaky, its structures malleable and adaptable to changing needs—deliberately almost biological,” he said.
He also described some of the amazing discoveries that he believes will come out of research within the new building. Researchers will create a world where truly smart materials will allow your shoes, your shirt, your dinner plate to actively respond to your will, Brin predicted.“Problem solvers within these walls will send robots into the bloodstream and mysterious nonlinear realms within the cell,” Brin said. “New work in fluidics, materials and battery storage will help us tackle vexing energy problems.”

Watch Brin's speech:

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