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March 31, 2006

Dr. Rudy Rucker, Author, Winner of the Philip K. Dick Award, and Professor (retired) of Computer Science, San Jose State University, 3/29/06

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Dr. Rudy Rucker has generously provided this brief autobiography —

I began publishing at age 30 and moved to Silicon Valley at 40. I’ve put out 25 books of science-fiction and popular science.

Growing up, I was greatly influenced by the Beat authors. I was an early cyberpunk and an editor at the Berkeley-based Mondo 2000. I won two Philip K. Dick awards for the four cyberpunk novels in my best-selling Ware series about intelligent robots.

My most recent novels were written in other modes. Frek and the Elixir is a far-future epic about a boy’s galactic quest to restore Earth’s ecology. The book was designed to incorporate the mythic elements described in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With A Thousand Faces. And As Above So Below: A Novel of Peter Bruegel is a historical novel about my favorite painter. I identify with Bruegel: he loved both the fantastic and the specific, and depicted both otherworldly drolleries and everyday life — sometimes in a manner deemed vulgar or obscure.

I recently retired from my position as a professor of computer science at San Jose State University, where I created a number of freeware programs relating to chaos, artificial life, cellular automata, higher dimensions and computer games.

My classic nonfiction books The Fourth Dimension and Infinity and the Mind have remained in print for 20 years, and exist in dozens of translations. I recently completed a nonfiction book called The Lifebox, The Seashell and The Soul, and a fantastic novel called Mathematicians in Love. And now I’m starting a new novel, Postsingular, about life after a computational singularity.

I revel in the craft of writing; I like being able to control these little worlds where things work out the way I want. My emotional makeup is such that it doesn’t require any special exercise of willpower to stay focused during the weeks and months that it takes to turn out a book. Writing is simply what I like to do. If anything, it could be that I’m a bit compulsive about my writing, preferring it to the uncertainties and disappointments of daily life. It’s no accident that so many of my heroes leave the ordinary world for adventures in fabulous other lands --- for the real me, those other lands are my books.

Even so, writing is hard, and after each book is finished, I wonder if I’ll manage to write another. So far, I always do — but each time it works, I’m surprised.

I recently took up blogging, which is a huge time-sink, but a good way to limber up, test out ideas, and do self-promotion — not to mention doing public service by providing an alternate news source. My blog and home page can be found here.

Posted by David Lemberg at 01:12 PM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

March 17, 2006

Jim Hurd, Founder and Director, NanoScience Exchange, 3/15/06

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Jim Hurd is the Founder and Director of the NanoScience Exchange, which was founded in early 2002. The organization examines key business and policy issues that affect venture-backed nanotechnology-related start-ups. The NanoScience Exchange hosts regular events in Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C. on topics such as “Applications to Combat Biogical and Chemical Weapons”, “Renewable Energy Applications Changing the U.S. Landscape”, “Navigating the Funding Maze in Washington, D.C.”, and “Nano Materials: Real Revenues Today and Impact on the U.S. Economy”.

On February 17, 2006, in Washington, D.C., the NanoScience Exchange presented “Nanotech Patents and Environmental Policy: A Threat to Economic Viability of Nanotech Companies?”

Mr. Hurd also heads the consulting firm, Molecular Business, located in San Francisco, which since December 2001 has assisted leading nanotechnology start-ups in building strategic alliances with major corporations and in putting together rounds of investment. He works with Natural Nano and other companies on developing key strategic relationships and increasing company visibility.

Mr. Hurd worked with the Woodrow Wilson International Center in 2005 on an EPA-related project. He authored a chapter, “Converging Technologies in Developing Countries” for a National Science Foundation book released in Fall 2005.

Posted by David Lemberg at 07:47 AM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

March 09, 2006

Jim O'Leary, Honeywell Headquarters Spokesperson, Honeywell Hometown Solutions, 3/8/06

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On January 14, 2004, President George W. Bush unveiled a new vision for space exploration in order to "gain a new foothold on the moon and to prepare for new journeys to the worlds beyond our own."

NASA calculates that the first human to walk on Mars is currently sitting in a middle or elementary school classroom somewhere in the United States. However, student aptitude and interest in math and science is on the decline. Studies show that American eighth graders have fallen far behind their peers in other countries. Enrollment in technical courses is declining at American colleges and universities while jobs in technology are growing at a rate of three times that of all other careers combined.

As a global technology leader, Honeywell recognizes the importance of inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers. That’s why Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the philanthropic arm of Honeywell, joined together with NASA on a breakthrough program called FMA Live!. Named for Sir Isaac Newton’s Second Law (Force = Mass X Acceleration), FMA Live! is an award-winning multimedia science education show that travels the United States using live actors, hip hop music, videos, and scientific demonstrations to teach kids about Newton’s Laws of Motion and Gravity in a compelling and memorable way. Launched in March 2004, FMA Live! targets middle school children and energizes their interest in math and science though an unprecedented combination of original songs, high-energy demonstrations, and student interaction.

Honeywell and NASA are committed to helping young people appreciate the relevance of science, math, engineering, and technology to their lives, and to the future of our nation. Much like Newton’s Laws of Physics, the program is designed to set students’ minds into motion and encourage greater involvement in the sciences.

Jim O’Leary manages several of Honeywell’s community relations programs including the award-winning FMA Live! hip-hop science education program. He is part of Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the company’s corporate citizenship initiative which focuses on three areas of vital importance: Family Safety and Security; Housing and Shelter; and Science and Math Education. Together with leading public and nonprofit institutions, Honeywell has developed powerful programs to address these needs in its communities.

Posted by David Lemberg at 04:46 PM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index

March 04, 2006

Dr. Lawrence Krauss, author of "The Physics of Star Trek" and Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics and Professor of Astronomy at Case Western Reserve University, 2/22/06

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Dr. Lawrence Krauss, Ambrose Swasey Professor of Physics and Professor of Astronomy at Case Western Reserve University. Professor Krauss is the author of over 200 scientific publications, as well as numerous popular articles on physics. He has written six popular books, including the international bestseller, The Physics of Star Trek. His latest book, Hiding in the Mirror: The Mysterious Allure of Extra Dimensions from Plato to String Theory and Beyond, was published in Fall 2005 by Viking.

Professor Krauss has received numerous awards for his research, writing, and lecturing. These include include the Gravity Research Foundation First Prize Award (1984) and the Presidential Investigator Award (1986). In February 2000, in Washington D.C., he was awarded the American Association for the Advancement of Science's 1999-2000 Award for the Public Understanding of Science and Technology, joining previous awardees Carl Sagan (1995) and E.O.Wilson (1994).

In April 2001, he received the Julius Edgar Lilienfeld Prize of the American Physical Society. The citation reads “For outstanding contributions to the understanding of the early universe, and extraordinary achievement in communicating the essence of physical science to the general public”. In April 2001 the American Institute of Physics announced that he had been awarded the 2001 Andrew Gemant Award, given annually to "a person who has made significant contributions to the cultural, artistic, or humanistic dimensions of physics". Previous awardees include Freeman Dyson, Steven Weinberg, and Stephen Hawking. In 2002 Professor Krauss was awarded the American Institute of Physics Science Writing Award, for his book, Atom.

In 2003 Professor Krauss was awarded the Oersted Medal, the highest award of the American Association of Physics Teachers, for his contributions to the teaching of physics. Previous awardees include Richard Feynman, I.I. Rabi, Edward Purcell, and Hans Bethe.

Posted by David Lemberg at 08:38 AM Return to Science and Society Podcasts Main Index