Science Foo Camp 2008: Chapter 0

This is a hel­luva week. I’ve been pro­mot­ing and prepar­ing for my upcom­ing sci­ence com­edy show at the San Fran­cisco Punch Line: Ratio­nal Com­edy for an Irra­tional Planet, Mon­day, August 11, 8pm, please come.

But between now and Mon­day I have what promises to be one of the most mem­o­rable week­ends of my life…

Fri­day through Sun­day, I’ll be attend­ing Sci­ence Foo Camp 2008 (“Sci­Foo”).

What is Sci­Foo, you ask?

Well, it’s an invitation-only gath­er­ing orga­nized by Nature, O’Reilly Media, and Google, and hosted at the famed Google­plex in Moun­tain View, CA.

It’s a week­end of inter­ac­tive ses­sions. All del­e­gates are also pre­sen­ters. There’s no agenda until we get there and then it is deter­mined col­lab­o­ra­tively and sub­ject to change through­out the week­end.

And who was invited?

“About 200 peo­ple from around the world who are doing ground­break­ing work in diverse areas of sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy.”

And they aren’t kid­ding… it’s an impres­sive col­lec­tion, an All-Star Game of sci­en­tists, writ­ers, artists, investors, and other thought-leaders. And we’re talk­ing elite, world-class, Olympic-style thinkers, giants in their fields.

199 geniuses and one sci­ence come­dian (that would be me).

I’m thrilled and not a lit­tle intim­i­dated.

Here are a few of the atten­dees with whom I’m already famil­iar –

Ann Druyan (co-writer of the COSMOS tele­vi­sion series), Dean Kamen (inven­tor of the Seg­way), Euge­nie Scott (who fights the good fight against cre­ation­ism), Stew­art Brand (cre­ator of The Whole Earth Cat­a­log), Dan Tani (an astro­naut who spent four months on the Inter­na­tional Space Sta­tion), Nick Bostrom (mod­ern philoso­pher and tran­shu­man­ist), Neal Stephen­son (author of Snow Crash and Crypto­nom­i­con), a gag­gle of super­star physi­cists: Lee Smolin, Mar­tin Rees, Max Tegmark, Paul Davies, the entire Dyson clan (Free­man, Esther, and George), and not one but two(2) identically-spelled Chris Ander­sons – Chris Ander­son, editor-in-chief of Wired Mag­a­zine and Chris Ander­son, cura­tor of the TED Con­fer­ence.

… and there are 180 more doing amaz­ing and excit­ing work in all fields of sci­ence – from mol­e­c­u­lar biol­ogy and bio­engi­neer­ing to quan­tum physics and cos­mol­ogy, from neu­ro­science and chem­istry to evo­lu­tion and mycol­ogy… robot­ics, math­e­mat­ics, cli­mate sci­ence, infor­mat­ics, con­ser­va­tion sci­ence, bioa­coustics, mol­e­c­u­lar cell biol­ogy, space sci­ence and astron­omy, earth sci­ence and remote sens­ing, com­pu­ta­tional sci­ence, eco­nom­ics, ecol­ogy, seman­tics, art his­tory, pale­on­tol­ogy, and more.

There are doc­tors, inven­tors, entre­pre­neurs, investors, engi­neers, pro­fes­sors, open source evan­ge­lists, broad­cast­ers, blog­gers, writ­ers, film­mak­ers, and at least one surfer.

What­ever will we talk about? 

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