Imagination Center Holds Symposium

     

    The new Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UCSD formally opened Tuesday May 14 with a public symposium titled “Visions of the Future.” 

    The symposium, one of several opening events, discussed what the world might be like 33 years from now, in a fashion similar to that of late British science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, who published his book, 2001: A Space Odyssey, discussing the future of the world 33 years from 1968.

    The center itself will largely focus on imagination, analyzing how it works and its impact on our daily lives. Thinkers from multiple disciplines as different as technology, sociology, politics, medicine and literature will be involved in the research projects and public lectures that the center has already begun to plan. 

    “This is the outcome of imagination,” UCSD media arts professor and center director Sheldon Brown said. “We need a more thoughtful, deliberative approach to understanding how it works.” 

    According to creators of the center, this symposium and others to follow are just the beginning steps of a larger exploration of how problem solving, creativity and education can be improved with a better understanding of the imagination.

    Tedson Meyers, chairman of the Clarke Foundation, said many universities responded to the foundation’s request for a permanent home of the Center for Human Imagination, but UCSD was the best suited.

    “Its top flight research resources, facilities and academic excellence in multi-disciplinary collaborations within the UC system and beyond are ideally suited to approach the potential of human imagination from a wide range of perspectives,” Meyers said in a statement.

    Brown said the center would also include well-known science fiction authors and UCSD alumni such as David Brin and Kim Stanley Robinson and UC Irvine physicist Gregory Benford.

    The center’s second major symposium titled “Starship Century” will be held on May 21 to May 22 when some of the world’s brightest writers and scientists — including Peter Schwartz, Neal Stephenson and Robert Zubrin — gather at UCSD to discuss the possibility of space travel in this century.

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