June 8, 2018

Colloquium Speaker: David Brin


David Brin is a scientist, speaker, technical consultant and world-known author. His novels have been New York Times Bestsellers, winning multiple Hugo, Nebula and other awards. At least a dozen have been translated into more than twenty languages.

His 1989 ecological thriller, Earth, foreshadowed global warming, cyberwarfare and near-future trends such as the World Wide Web. His 2012 novel Existence extends this type of daring, near future extrapolation by exploring bio-engineering, intelligence and how to maintain an open-creative civilization.

A 1998 movie, directed by Kevin Costner, was loosely based on The Postman.

Brin serves on advisory committees dealing with subjects as diverse as national defense and homeland security, astronomy and space exploration, SETI and nanotechnology, future/prediction and philanthropy. He has served since 2010 on the council of external advisers for NASA's Innovative and Advanced Concepts group (NIAC), which supports the most inventive and potentially ground-breaking new endeavors.

In 2013 David Brin helped to establish the Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UCSD, where he was honored as a distinguished alumnus and where he was thereafter a Visiting Scholar in Residence. Other honors include the American Library Association's Obeler Freedom of Speech Award, the California Library Association's Zoia Horn Intellectual Freedom Award, The Potomac Institute's 2015 Navigator Award for public service, and the first annual National Endowment for the Humanities/Hannah Arendt Center Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Bard College 2015.

His non-fiction book — The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Freedom and Privacy? — deals with secrecy in the modern world. It won the Freedom of Speech Award from the American Library Association.

As a public scientist and futurist David appears frequently on TV, including, most recently, on many episodes of "The Universe" and on the History Channel's best-watched show (ever) "Life After People." He also was a regular cast member on "The ArciTECHS."

Brin's scientific work covers an eclectic range of topics, from astronautics, astronomy, and optics to alternative dispute resolution and the role of neoteny in human evolution. His Ph.D in Physics from UCSD — the University of California at San Diego (the lab of nobelist Hannes Alfven) — followed a masters in optics and an undergraduate degree in astrophysics from Caltech. He was a postdoctoral fellow at the California Space Institute and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. His patents directly confront some of the faults of old-fashioned screen-based interaction, aiming to improve the way human beings converse online.

David's novel Kiln People has been called a book of ideas disguised as a fast-moving and fun noir detective story, set in a future when new technology enables people to physically be in more than two places at once.

A hardcover graphic novel The Life Eaters explored alternate outcomes to WWII, winning nominations and high praise in the nation that most loves and respects the graphic novel.

David's science fictional Uplift Universe explores a future when humans genetically engineer higher animals like dolphins to become equal members of our civilization. He also recently tied up the loose ends left behind by the late Isaac Asimov. Foundation's Triumph brings to a grand finale Asimov's famed Foundation Universe.




Colloquium Topic: Opportunities, Dangers and Destiny in the Solar System … and Beyond

Can our civilization survive? In this thought-provoking presentation, David Brin will explore a broad range of threats to human civilization – from ancient to recent, natural and of our own making – and the corresponding opportunities to explore and expand into our own solar system and more.