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by Michael Nielsen on March 3, 2011

I’m speaking today about open science at the TEDxWaterloo event, just outside Toronto. I’m really looking forward to the event, and to all the talks – I’m especially excited to see Abby Sunderland and Roberta Bondar. There will be live streaming for the event. I’m speaking around 1:20 pm (Canadian EST), if you’re interested. I don’t seem to be able to find a schedule for the other speakers.

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  1. The on-line TEDxWaterloo 2011 livestream shows Michael’s talk during the period 1:48:10 — 2:05:12 … it is well worth viewing.

    [MN: For anyone tempted to view the talk: a professionally edited version of the talk will be available shortly on YouTube, and I will post the link on my blog. I advise waiting for the edited version, since the image and sound should be quite a bit clearer!]

    Michael, everyone I know is looking forward to your forthcoming book Reinventing Discovery, of which your TEDx talk no doubt was a partial preview. The talk was wonderful … it would have been wonderful at double the length … and so please let me share the hope that there will be more talks, and more books to come from you, along the lines of Reinventing EngineeringReinventing MedicineReinventing Enterprise.

    [MN: Thankyou, as always, John, for your tremendous enthusiasm and encouragement! I really appreciate it.]

    For the 21st century to achieve all that our planet’s sobering realities require us to achieve, discovery is one the one hand essential, but on the other hand, is only the bare beginning. And so please let me express the hope that Reinventing Discovery will be only the beginning of your writings.

  2. Michael, one reason I greatly enjoy your TEXxWaterloo talk is that provides a wonderfully natural bridge between two works that I admire. The first (older) work is Bill Thurston’s On Proof and Progress in Mathamematics (1994) which ranks among the most-cited works on the arxiv server’s category “Math.HO: History and overview”. The second (newer) work is Charles Hill’s Grand Strategies: Literature, Statecraft, and World Order, which concludes with the following sobering quotation of Henry Kissinger:

    I put a proposition to you all: we have entered a time of total change in human consciousness of how people look at the world. Reading books requires you to form concepts, to train your mind to relationships. You have to come to grips with who you are. A leader needs these qualities. But now we learn from fragments of facts. A book is a large intellectual construction; you can’t hold it all in mind easily or at once. You have to struggle mentally to internalize it. Now there is no need to internalize because each fact can be instantly called up on the computer. There is no context, no motive. Information is not knowledge. People are not readers but researchers, they float on the surface. Churchill understood context. This new thinking erases context. It disaggregates everything. All this makes strategic thinking about world order nearly impossible to achieve.

    It seems to me that the mathematical themes and social strategies of Thurston’s essay provide one effective remedy for Kissinger’s pessimism … as does your TEDxWaterloo talk … and hopefully your coming book(s) will help too … that’s why I’m greatly looking forward to them.

  3. Well, I continue to check this site regularly … because I greatly respect Michael’s views on the future of science (without having any particular views myself on this topic).

    When it comes to the future of engineering and medicine, I *do* have particular views, which I have posted on Dick Lipton’s and Ken Regan’s Gödel’s Lost Letter and P=NP weblog, under the St. Patrick’s day topics The STEM Leprechaun’s Questions and The STEM Leprechaun’s Restriction.

    These two “leprechaun” posts were written in a light-hearted tone, but their intent is entirely serious, namely, to contribute an engineer’s voice, and an engineer’s perspective, regarding the future of the STEM enterprise, and in particular, the future of science.

    It is my hope (and even my confident expectation) that Michael will someday write a book The Future of Engineering or (perhaps a better title?) The Future of Enterprise.

    For sure, there is going to be plenty to write about … I greatly hope that Michael will keep lecturing, writing, and blogging about it.

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