The New Humanists: Science at the Edge

Front Cover
John Brockman
Barnes & Noble Publishing, 2003 - Science - 408 pages
2 Reviews
When John Brockman’s essay, “The New Humanists” appeared on his popular cutting-edge science website, EDGE (, he received a record number of responses from the intellectuals of the EDGE community. In his essay, Brockman noted that the American intellectual had become proudly or defiantly ignorant of major scientific accomplishments. According to Brockman, intellectual thought was becoming trapped in a “swelling spiral of commentary,” and often ignored the real world. Citing C.P. Snow’s theory of two cultures: the literary intellectual and the scientist, Brockman predicted an “emerging third culture” where scientists and other empirical thinkers, through their work and writing, would redefine who and what we are.

In The New Humanists: Science At the Edge, Brockman has assembled some of the top scientists of today: Jared Diamond, Steven Pinker, Daniel Dennett, Marvin Minsky, Lee Smolin, and others, and has them discuss the unique contributions each of them is making to the development of modern thought. Some of these thinkers are in sync, others in dissent, but what emerges in The New Humanists is a dialogue that serves as a support to Brockman’s theory and an introduction to some of the best scientific minds of the 21st century.

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Essays by scientists on the leading edge of research to date. Some are more engaging than others, but a lot depends on the reader's field of interest. The grand questions of physics are still looking for answers. Read full review

The new humanists: science at the edge

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In academe, there is often believed to be two mutually exclusive "cultures," that of the humanities and that of the hard sciences. Brockman-a polymath whose r sum includes writer, editor, literary ... Read full review

Selected pages


A New Scientific Synthesis of Human History
A Biological Understanding of Human Nature
Getting Human Nature Right
Natural Born Cyborgs?
Animal Minds
The Evolution of Cooking
The Computational Perspective
What Shape Are a German Shepherds Ears?
What Comes After Minds?
The Singularity
One Half of a Manifesto
Evolving Universes
How Fast How Small and How Powerful? Moores Law and the Ultimate Laptop
A Golden Age of Cosmology
The Cyclic Universe
Theories of the Brane

Machina sapiens?
Software Is a Cultural Solvent
The Second Coming a Manifesto
Making Living Systems
Making Minds
Quantum Computation
Loop Quantum Gravity
A Look Ahead
Responses to The New Humanists
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Popular passages

Page 1 - A fifties' education in Freud, Marx and modernism is not a sufficient qualification for a thinking person in the nineties.
Page 10 - The motto of the community is "to arrive at the edge of the world's knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.
Page 1 - CULTURE , he third culture consists of those scientists and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are.

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About the author (2003)

The founder and publisher of the influential online science salon, John Brockman is the editor of "This Will Make You Smarter", "What We Believe but Cannot Prove", "What Is Your Dangerous Idea?", and other volumes. He is also the CEO of the literary agency Brockman, Inc. John lives in New York City.

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