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The Sun, the Genome and the Internet: Tools of Scientific Revolutions

3.71  ·  Rating Details  ·  124 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
In this visionary look into the future, Freeman Dyson argues that technological changes fundamentally alter our ethical and social arrangements and that three rapidly advancing new technologies--solar energy, genetic engineering, and world-wide communication--together have the potential to create a more equal distribution of the world's wealth.
Dyson begins by rejecting th
...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published October 19th 2000 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1999)
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Lindsey
I was surprised by this book. I thought it would just be all "wow, technology, cool." But it was actually about how to thoughtfully and ethically use technology to bring about social justice. Technology shouldn't just be about making new toys for the rich, but it should be about developing ways to level the playing field for everyone in the world. One thing I found that was very interesting was the accounts of how technological advances will often liberate one group of people while taking away t ...more
Rand
Aug 04, 2014 Rand rated it liked it
The finer technical details are absent in this book as it is a series of transcripts but the concepts are solid.

The optimism herein is overwhelming and well asserts that, given sufficient altruism and purpose, the progress of humanity has no definite limit. Had the various powers that be heeded this man's advice, the world would surely be a more comfortable place than it is right now. Luckily, it is still possible to get better.
Upom
This books is actually a group of 3 lectures given by Freeman Dyson compiled into a book. They cover really 3 interesting topics: the nature of scientific revolutions, technology as a means of promoting social justice, and humanity's future in space.
Dyson, opposing Kuhn's idea based revolution, believes in instrument based revolution, and that availability of cheap scientific instruments is what really drives scientific revolutions. He uses the example of steam engines, telescopes, and other de
...more
Peter Tillman
Jan 12, 2016 Peter Tillman rated it it was amazing
Rating: "A/A+" -- another excellent essay collection by Dyson.

Freeman Dyson is my favorite scientist-writer. I know of no one else who combines his clarity of thought, graceful use of language, big ideas expressed modestly, and sense of history. If you haven't yet read Dyson, The Sun, the Genome, and the Internet would be a fine place to start. Highly recommended.


Julia
Sep 06, 2009 Julia rated it really liked it
This slim book has some of the finest science writing I've read yet. It elegantly and concisely talks about three complex scientific revolutions that will drive technology this century. A little dated since it came out 10 years ago but Dyson -- a friend of Feynman's and himself revered in the science community -- has a reverence for applicable science that makes it thrilling even to the lay person. His subtle (and not so subtle) lessons on the social impact of technology enrich the story further ...more
Broodingferret
Another quick and engaging read. Basically a collection of lectures reformated into prose, this book lists a few of Dyson's predictions for the 21st century (it was published in 1999). Some of his predictions are spot on, like the success of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (which is in it's 3rd iteration now), some missed the mark slightly, like his prediction that the Human Genome project would take much longer than planned (it had it's first great success 2 years ahead of schedule), and some, mai ...more
Matthew LaFave
Feb 05, 2013 Matthew LaFave rated it really liked it
It is a short read, only 118 pages, informative, and easy to understand. Published in the year 1999, the author/scientist gives realistic hope, relevant to this day, as to the advancement of society and technology as a whole. Freeman J. Dyson does seem very well grounded in the aspects of solar energy, and has some interesting views on space expeditions, including very frozen fish circling Saturn. In my opinion, the book has a good amount of thought provoking insight.
Nick
Oct 14, 2012 Nick rated it it was ok
A collection of three essays that were given as speeches. The second--a discussion of how technology might serve to increase social justice--is particularly worth reading. The other two essays develop Dyson's argument that the tools of science in addition to the ideas can drive scientific revolutions. This contrasts with Kuhn's "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" and is more in line, as Dyson notes, with Galison's "Image and Logic".
Anthony Tenaglier
Sep 09, 2012 Anthony Tenaglier rated it really liked it
Shelves: science
An imaginative journey of how solar energy, genetic engineering, and the internet are going to change the world we live in. (Published in 1999)
Enrico
Dec 11, 2009 Enrico rated it really liked it
Dyson Freeman really thinks out of the box and aiming at practical advances in technologies for humanity.
Najeh
Apr 13, 2012 Najeh added it
Great book. I think Dyson would revisit some of his assertions in light of new developments.
Richard Williams
The Sun, the Genome, and the Internet: Tools of Scientific Revolutions by Freeman J. Dyson (2000)
David
Jul 02, 2012 David rated it liked it
Shelves: public-policy
It was good, relatively interesting perspective, but a bit dated by now.
Joseph
Feb 14, 2008 Joseph rated it it was amazing
short and to the point. relevant stuff
Elliedakota
Jun 13, 2014 Elliedakota rated it really liked it
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