James Gleick is a native New Yorker and a graduate of Harvard and the author of a half-dozen books on science, technology, and culture. His latest bestseller, translated into 20 languages, is The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood, which the NY Times called "ambitious, illuminating, and sexily theoretical." Whatever they meant by that. They also said "Don’t make the mistake of reading it quickly."
Tagged with “book:author=james gleick” (8)
This week’s show is dedicated to a discussion of the six books shortlisted for the Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books.
Next week the winner of the prestigious Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books will be announced. Previous winners have included Jared Diamond (twice), Stephen Hawking, Steve Jones, Bill Bryson and Stephen Jay Gould.
To discuss the merits of the shortlisted books (see below), Alok Jha is joined by one of the prize judges, Kim Shillinglaw, who is commissioning editor for science and natural history at BBC TV, and by science writer Ruth Francis, formerly of head of press at Nature Publishing Group.
During the course of this week the Guardian will review all the books online. We’re also giving away two complete sets of the shortlisted titles in our usual science trivia competition.
- The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker
- The Hidden Reality by Brian Greene
- The Information by James Gleick
- My Beautiful Genome by Lone Frank
- Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
- The Viral Storm by Nathan Wolfe
This year’s winner of the prestigious Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books, James Gleick, discusses The Information. Plus, will we see a Briton on the moon in our lifetimes?
We tear into this show with a dark scene from 1665. A young Isaac Newton, hoping to ride out the plague by heading to the country to puzzle over the deep mysteries of the universe, finds himself wondering about light. And vision. He wants to get to the bottom of where color comes from—is it a physical property in the outside world, or something created back inside your eyeball somewhere? James Gleick explains how Newton unlocked the mystery of the rainbow. And, as Victoria Finlay tells us, sucked the poetry out of the heavens.
Jonah Lehrer restores some of the lost magic by way of Goethe—who turned a simple observation into a deep thought: even though color starts in the physical world, it is finished in our minds.
Which, thanks to Mark Changizi, brings us to a very serious question: what do dogs see when they look at the rainbow? We humans see seven colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet (ROYGBiV!). But as Thomas Cronin and Jay Neitz—two guys who study vision—explain, that’s just a sliver of the spectrum. Along the way, we get some help imagining the rainbow from a choir, and we meet this little sea creature, who with 16 color receptors, blows the rest of us earthlings out of the water:
Acclaimed journalist, author and biographer James Gleick visits the RSA to tell the story of how information became the modern era’s defining quality - the blood, the fuel, the vital principle of our world.
From the invention of scripts and alphabets to the long misunderstood “talking drums” of Africa, James Gleick shows how information technologies changed the very nature of human consciousness.
Providing portraits of key figures including Charles Babbage, Ada Byron, Alan Turing and Claude Shannon, Gleick traces the inexorable development of our modern understanding of information to our present moment, when so often we feel we are drowning in a deluge of signs and signals, news and images, blogs and tweets.
Join James Gleick at the RSA to discover how we got here and where we are heading.
For some kinds of books the writing is on the wall, but the concept of the book itself will survive, adapting to new technologies in the delivery of words, argues James Gleick in this timely and provocative Sydney Writers’ Festival Closing Address. The question is: Can we adapt? Gleick is an author, journalist and biographer whose books explore the cultural ramifications of science and technology. His most recent publication, The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood, is being hailed as his crowning work. Gleick is the author of the bestselling Chaos, Genius and Faster, and has penned a biography of Isaac Newton. Three of Gleick’s books have been Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalists, and translated into more than 20 languages.
James Gleick’s closing address at the @SydWritersFest On the future of the book http://t.co/A2lBV17
In his book The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood, James Gleick writes of information sharing through the ages, from African talking drum languages to telegraphs, telephones and the internet. Google search guru Scott Huffman also joins to talk about how Google refines the search for information on the internet.
A podcast interview with James Gleick.
Subjects Discussed: Claude Shannon, the origin of the byte, Charles Babbage and relay switches, measuring information beyond the telegraph, bit storage capacity, being right about data measurement, “A Mathematical Theory of Communication,” information overload, TS Eliot’s The Rock, email warnings in 1982, information compression, George Boole’s symbolic logic, information overload, Ada Lovelace and Babbage, James Waldegrave’s November 13, 1713 letter providing the first minimax solution to the two person game Le Her, game theory, Lovelace’s mathematical aptitude, the difficulties of being too scientifically ambitious, connecting pegs to abstraction, Norbert Wiener and cybernetics, Wiener’s contribution to information theory, Wiener vs. Shannon, mathematical formulas to solve games, Ada Lovelace’s clandestine contributions, Luigi Menabrea, a view of machines beyond number crunching, entropy, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, James Clerk Maxwell’s view of disorder as entropy’s essential quality, dissipated energy within information, Kolmogorov’s algorithms and complexity, links between material information and perceived information, molecular disorder, connections between disorganization and physics in the 19th century, extraneous information, Thomas Kuhn’s paradigm shifts, Richard Dawkins’s defense of dyslexia as a selfish genetic quality, new science replacing the old in information theory, the English language’s redundant characters, codebreaking, Shannon’s scientific measurements of linguistic redundancy, the likelihood of words and letters appearing after previous words and letters, Bertrand Russell’s liar’s paradox and Kurt Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem, Gregory Chaitin and algorithmic information theory, Alan Turing, uniting Pierre-Simon Laplace and Wikipedia, extreme Newtonianism, and the ideal of perfect knowledge.