In an On-Line Salon, Scientists Sit Back and Ponder [1]

[ Mon. Dec. 29. 1997 ]

At his Web site, called Edge [4], John Brockman, a literary agent for many scientists and an author himself, tries to achieve what he calls "electronic discourse at the highest level" with people of "the third culture" -- scientists and other researchers who, he says, "are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meaning of our lives, redefining who and what we are."

To mark the first anniversary of the site, Brockman posed a question: "Simply reading the six million volumes in the Widener Library does not necessarily lead to a complex and subtle mind," he wrote, referring to the Harvard library. "How to avoid the anesthesiology of wisdom?" He answered the question with other questions -- by inviting participants to submit "the question you are asking yourself." Here are some of their queries. They and others are now available at Edge.