Just shared an elevator with Al Gore over the break. He introduced himself to me…I played it cool, like I share elevators with former American V-Ps all the time. My mother won’t appreciate the fact that I didn’t try and get a photo-op.
1. Speaker One – Lisa Randall (Theoretical Physicist). Eh, this one went completely over my head.
2) Speaker Two – Paul Berg (“Father of Genetic Engineering” / Led Human Genome Project.
- Spoke about the informational basis of heredity.
- Epigenetics is the new frontier for genes. Basic genome sequence remains unchanged, but subtle changes influence the genome including environmental changes/exposure – this phenomenon is called imprinting. Studies focus on identical twins who have been raised in different environments and long-term studies of twins (which find that genome patterns have changed as they grew older and led separate lives).
- Imprinting is thought to be a leading cause of cancer.
3) Speaker Three – Bill Joy (Engineer Turned Futurist, largely responsible for UNIX and creator of TCP/IP)
- First read this.
- Bill Joy is focusing on innovations that address big global problems through venture capital at Kleiner, Perkins.
- 3 things he is particularly excited about: 1) Education – projects like the One Laptop per child, also nanotechnology will reduce the cost of computing. The challenge is whether tools will be developed (e.g. software) that use powerful computing well. Sees the $100 computer as the future; 2) Environment – Moore’s law trend that is driving the ability to address environmental problems is new materials e.g. carbon nanotubes and new ways of making ethanol. Kleiner have dedicated $100 million to this area. 3) Pandemics and bio-defense – have raised $200 million fund specifically for this. Focus is on bio-terrorism (wonder if they are looking at malaria and AIDS – he didn’t mention them).
That’s it for the day’s sessions. There’s a special speech by Al Gore in a bit, but not sure if I’ll be able to cover that.