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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