In his most recent book If Science is to Save Us, Astronomer Royal Martin Rees argues that we need to think globally, we need to think rationally and we need to think long-term, empowered by twenty-first-century technology but guided by values that science alone cannot provide. In this timely work, Lord Rees details how there has never been a time when ‘following the science’ has been more important for humanity. He warns that our world is so interconnected that a collapse - societal or ecological - would be a truly global catastrophe. So it’s ever more crucial to ensure that science is deployed optimally, and that brakes are applied to applications that are dangerous or unethical. At no other point in history have we had such advanced knowledge and technology at our fingertips, nor had such astonishing capacity to determine the future of our planet. Therefore, decisions we must make on how science is applied belong outside the lab and should be the outcome of wide public debate. For that to happen, science needs to become part of our common culture. Science is not just for scientists: if it were, it could never save us from the multiple crises we face. For science can save us, if its innovations mesh carefully into society and its applications are channeled for the common good. Martin Rees is the UK's Astronomer Royal. He is based at Cambridge University where he is a Fellow (and Former Master) of Trinity College. He is a member of the House of Lords, and a former President of the Royal Society. His research interests include space exploration, black holes, galaxy formation, the multiverse and prospects for extraterrestrial life. He is co-founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risks at Cambridge University (CSER). In addition to academic publications, and research papers he has written many general articles and ten books, most recently 'On the Future: Prospects for Humanity'.
00:00:00Intro 00:03:06The story of the book cover and title. 00:05:30 How do you feel about Queen Elizabeth's passing? 00:07:47 What is the state of science in the UK? 00:08:47 The state of science in the UK and how can the U.S. take advantage of it? 00:12:46 Are you putting too much of a burden on science? Is science also wise? 00:14:17 What drew you to science? 00:15:00 What does society owe scientists? 00:19:26 Did you set out to become a great science communicator? 00:28:24 What is the role of incentives in science? 00:30:21 Why did you criticize the Nobel Prize Chapters in Professor Keating's book, Losing The Nobel Prize? 00:37:47 Is it too much pressure to make scientists into heroes? 00:40:00 What do you think of the privatization of science and its ability to set priorities? 00:44:06 Discussing solutions to scientific provenance: Blockchain? 00:52:05 What do you think is the greatest scientific mystery yet to be solved? 00:56:56 Do you think an AI could experience emotion or have imagination? 01:04:53 What would happen to James Clerk Maxwell on Twitter? Would he be trolled? Pros and cons of Twitter. 01:11:32 How do you address the failures of science? 01:16:17 What led you to the CMB polarization prediction,? 01:19:47 How can physics address contemporary issues? 01:24:09 What is the role of nuclear energy in solving contemporary problems? 01:31:59 What will science save us from? 01:34:28 What is humanity's most important discovery? 01:36:14 What have you changed your mind about? Is Just Six Numbers still valid?