Friday, April 04, 2008

Science in the 21st Century

An update on the previously mentioned conference we are organizing on

that will take place at Perimeter Institute from September 8th to 12th.

The registration is now open! So, if you want to join us, fill out the form and convince us we absolutely want to have you at our meeting. The registration fee is $ 120 (that's Canadian dollars, not that it currently makes much of a difference).

For those of you who can't come to Waterloo, we encourage you to join the discussion online. What are the topics that come into your mind, where do you think our future will lead us, what are the developments we need - or don't need? If you want to write a blog post about the conference or a topic related to its scope, please let me know so I can add a link to your contribution on our website.

And yeah, the inspiration for this comes from the SciBarCamp I attended two weeks ago. Though I'm not much a fan of relying on self-organization under time pressure, I very much like the idea to extend the conference to a wider audience and timeframe.

See also:



  1. The APS has 60,000+ members. 13 and 16 sig figs measurements are made. TeraFLOPS computation is routine. Theory irreducible to analytic form surrenders to other assaults. Orbital telemetry reachs across the entire spectrum to the Big Bang. What does not fear being squeezed dry?

    What we do not know barely hurts us. What we know to be true that isn't is crippling.

    21st century science arises from 19th century simplifying assumptions. Physics is about simplicity falling to exactitude. The failure of string theory in particular and all quantized gravitations as a set - as Euclid and Newton fell - suggests falsifiable founding postulates.

    For 21st century science to rise above process not product it must be different not more. Discovery and innovation generate personal, political, and Official distaste. Rise up from the mud.

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  3. Hi Bee,

    This I’m sure will be both an interesting and worthwhile event. If it wasn’t for it being held at a time at which I am run off my feet, I would be tempted to have you consider my application to attend. I would offer to bring more of the informed and concerned layman’s perspective to all of this. That is as one that has not simply watched with interest, yet participated in from the beginnings with the emergence of our new communication/ information technology. I would in particular like to raise the concerns and reasons I have to understand that for many this is coming to form to be a substitution for reality rather as it should a extension of it; and further is something which many are becoming forced to serve, rather then have it serve them.

    I will however monitor all this with great interest, with the hope that this discussion will then expand to those that it truly influences and effects, which of course is us all.



  4. What worries me about 21st century science, particularly the role of IT (my professionalism at present) is that it is not really breaking down information barriers.

    Most of the journals only provide online access to articles to subscribers, and since there are so many technical journals that means you have to have academic affiliation to access them. Otherwise you need to pay quite large one-off charges for each paper.

    Because there is no proper peer-review of free preprint server papers like, these suffer from problems of reliability.

    One thing I'd like to see is some software to enable scientific papers to be easily written, reviewed, updated and corrected online (something that is a cross between a wiki page and a blog). Such a system should also be open to all, regardless of affiliation. People should be encouraged to do their best to write up, improve, and eventually publish any useful ideas they have, not censored out on the basis of a lack of affiliation. If they don't have affiliation, people will automatically be cautious of their papers anyway, so you really don't need to exterminate such papers altogether. As long as people are critical of what they read, papers by outsiders, containing wacky ideas, shouldn't do any harm.


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