Berkeley Arts & Letters and the Bay Area Science Festival Present
In 2010, scientists led by J. Craig Venter became the first to successfully create “synthetic life” -- putting humankind at the threshold of the most important and exciting phase of biological research, one that will enable us to actually write the genetic code for designing new species to help us adapt and evolve for long-term survival.
The science of synthetic genomics will have a profound impact on human existence, including chemical and energy generation, health, clean water and food production, environmental control, and possibly even our evolution.
In Life at the Speed of Light, Venter presents a fascinating and authoritative study of this emerging field from the inside -- detailing its origins, current challenges and controversies, and projected effects on our lives. This scientific frontier provides an opportunity to ponder anew the age-old question “What is life?” and examine what we really mean by “playing God.” Life at the Speed of Light is a landmark work, written by a visionary at the dawn of a new era of biological engineering.
“One of the world’s leading scientists delivers a history of molecular biology and its many ramifications depicted as it has been and will continue to be, creator of the golden age of modern biology. His style is that of a dispatch from the front, urgent and engaged, as only a participant could write it, and the best of its genre since James D. Watson’s The Double Helix.”
-- Edward O. Wilson, University Research Professor Emeritus, Harvard University
J. Craig Venter is best known for sequencing the human genome. He is the founder, chairman, and CEO of the J. Craig Venter Institute, a not-for-profit research organization dedicated to genomic research. He is also the founder and CEO of Synthetic Genomics, Inc. He is the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, including the 2008 United States National Medal of Science.
“In 1943 Erwin Schrödinger asked the question “What is life?” Craig Venter decided to find out. The first step in understanding something is to take it apart. The next step is to put it back together. Finally, prove that you haven’t neglected anything by building it yourself from scratch. In this articulate, precise, and uniquely first-person report from the front lines between biology and technology—commendably addressing the role of proteins as well as the nucleotides that code for them—Craig Venter sheds new light on Schrödinger’s question, while explaining how his own pioneering work reading and writing genetic sequences between living cells and computers is enabling life as we know it to take the first steps toward becoming something else. A landmark account.” --George Dyson, author of Turing’s Cathedral and Darwin Among the Machines
7:30 PM at the Hillside Club (2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley)
Tickets: $15 general, $8 students; $20 at the door
Brown Paper Tickets online or 800-838-3006