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Type of site
Group blog
Created by John Brockman

The Edge Foundation, Inc. is an association of science and technology intellectuals created in 1988 as an outgrowth of The Reality Club. Its main activities are reflected on the website, edited by publisher and businessman John Brockman. The site is a critically noted [1] [2] [3] online magazine exploring scientific and intellectual ideas.

A long-running feature on Edge is the Annual Question, which gathers many short essays on topical questions from Brockman's broad network of thought leaders in philosophy and science; these essays are usually published collectively as a book shortly thereafter.

Many of the feature articles on Edge are structured as video interviews with a prominent figure in some scientific field (such as Daniel Kahneman or Steven Pinker) discussing his or her recent research or mental preoccupations, in a free-flowing spiel from which the interviewer—often Brockman himself—is largely absent. This is usually accompanied by a full transcript which includes more material than the video portion (which is typically edited for brevity, down to less than an hour in length).

Because Brockman functions primarily as a literary agent, subjects featured on Edge are in most cases lucid communicators, even when relating new developments in highly specialized research areas. The lucid exposition of challenging and novel science is Edge's primary calling card.

A less common format is video conference proceedings or Master Class round-table seminars on a set subject matter, such as Philip E. Tetlock's seminar on superforecasting from 2015, or Richard Thaler's seminar on behavioural psychology from 2008.

Edge adds new content relatively infrequently, with no set schedule, apart from the Annual Question.

The Third Culture

The Third Culture is the growing movement towards reintegration of literary and scientific thinking and is a nod toward British scientist C. P. Snow's concept of the two cultures of science and the humanities. John Brockman published a book of the same name whose themes are continued at the Edge website. Here, scientists and others are invited to contribute their thoughts in a manner readily accessible to non-specialist readers. In doing so, leading thinkers are able to communicate directly with each other and the public without the intervention of middlemen such as journalists and journal editors. [4]

Many areas of academic work are incorporated, including genetics, physics, mathematics, psychology, evolutionary biology, philosophy and computing technology.

Edge Question

Edge poses its members an annual question: [5]

  • 1998:"What questions are you asking yourself?" [6]
  • 1999: "What is the most important invention in the past two thousand years?"
  • 2000: "What is today's most important unreported story?"
  • 2001: "What questions have disappeared?" and "What now?" This was the only year with two separate questions.
  • 2002: "What is your question? ... Why?"
  • 2003: "What are the pressing scientific issues for the nation and the world, and what is your advice on how I can begin to deal with them?"
  • 2004: "What's your law?"
  • 2005: "What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?" [7] The responses generated were published as a book under the title What We Believe But Cannot Prove: Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty with an introduction by the novelist Ian McEwan. [8]
  • 2006: "What is your dangerous idea"? [9] The responses formed the book What Is Your Dangerous Idea?, which was published with an introduction by Steven Pinker and an afterword by Richard Dawkins. [10]
  • 2007: "What are you optimistic about? Why?", [11] which resulted in a companion publication. [12]
  • 2008: "What have you changed your mind about?" [13] and the corresponding book published shortly thereafter. [14]
  • 2009: "What Will Change Everything? What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?" [15] and a book version. [16]
  • 2010: "How has the Internet changed the way you think?" [17] and associated book. [18]
  • 2011: "What Scientific Concept Would Improve Everybody's Cognitive Toolkit?" [19] and associated book. [18]
  • 2012: "What is your favorite deep, elegant, or beautiful explanation?" [20] and associated book. [21]
  • 2013: "What should we be worried about?" [22] and associated book. [23]
  • 2014: "What scientific idea is ready for retirement?" [24] and associated book. [25]
  • 2015: "What Do You Think About Machines that Think" [26] and associated book. [27]
  • 2016: "What Do You Think the Most Interesting Recent [Scientific] News? What makes it Important?" [28] and associated book. [29]
  • 2017: "What scientific term or concept ought to be more widely known?" [30] and associated book. [31]
  • 2018: "What is the last-question?" [32]

Contributing authors

As of 2011, [19] contributors included Anthony Aguirre, Stephon Alexander, John Allen Paulos, Adam Alter, Alun Anderson, Ross Anderson, Scott Atran, Mahzarin Banaji, Thomas Bass, Sue Blackmore, Paul Bloom, Giulio Boccaletti, Stefano Boeri, Josh Bongard, Nick Bostrom, Stewart Brand, David Buss, William Calvin, Nicholas Carr, Sean M. Carroll, Nicholas Christakis, George M. Church, Andy Clark, Gregory Cochran, James Croak, Satyajit Das, Richard Dawkins, Aubrey De Grey, Daniel Dennett, Emanuel Derman, Keith Devlin, Rolf Dobelli, George Dyson, David Eagleman, Brian Eno, Juan Enriquez, Dylan Evans, Christine Finn, Stuart Firestein, Helen Fisher, Susan Fiske, Tecumseh Fitch, Richard Foreman, Howard Gardner, Amanda Gefter, David Gelernter, Neil Gershenfeld, Gerd Gigerenzer, Marcelo Gleiser, Nigel Goldenfeld, Rebecca Goldstein, Daniel Goleman, Alison Gopnik, Joshua Greene, Jonathan Haidt, Diane Halpern, Kevin Hand, Haim Harari, Sam Harris, Marti Hearst, Roger Highfield, W. Daniel Hillis, Donald D. Hoffman, Gerald Holton, Bruce Hood, Nicholas Humphrey, Jennifer Jacquet, Xeni Jardin, Daniel Kahneman, Kevin Kelly, Douglas Kenrick, Christian Keysers, Vinod Khosla, Marcel Kinsbourne, Jon Kleinberg, Brian Knutson, Bart Kosko, Kai Krause, Lawrence Krauss, Rob Kurzban, George Lakoff, Jaron Lanier, Jonah Lehrer, Garrett Lisi, Seth Lloyd, Stephen M. Kosslyn, Gary Marcus, Hazel Rose Markus, John McWhorter, Thomas Metzinger, Geoffrey Miller, Evgeny Morozov, P.Z. Myers, David Myers, Richard Nisbett, Tor Norretranders, Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Gloria Origgi, Neri Oxman, Mark Pagel, Greg Paul, Irene Pepperberg, Clifford Pickover, Steven Pinker, David Pizarro, Ernst Pöppel, V.S. Ramachandran, Lisa Randall, Martin Rees, Andrew Revkin, Matt Ridley, Matthew Ritchie, Jay Rosen, Carlo Rovelli, David Rowan, Rudy Rucker, Douglas Rushkoff, Paul Saffo, Scott D. Sampson, Robert Sapolsky, Dimitar Sasselov, Richard Saul Wurman, Roger Schank, Kathryn Schulz, Gino Segre, Charles Seife, Terrence Sejnowski, Martin Seligman, Michael Shermer, Clay Shirky, Lee Smolin, Dan Sperber, Tom Standage, Victoria Stodden, Linda Stone, Nassim Taleb, Don Tapscott, Max Tegmark, Richard Thaler, John Tooby, Eric Topol, J. Craig Venter, Eric Weinstein, Frank Wilczek, Dave Winer and Milford Wolpoff.

Carl Zimmer was also a former contributor but asked for his content to be removed after learning of the role of Jeffrey Epstein as a supporter of the foundation. [33]


  1. ^ Naughton, John (8 January 2012). "John Brockman: the man who runs the world's smartest website". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  2. ^ Schappell, Elissa Schappell. "A Mental Spring Cleaning". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  3. ^ Upbin, Brian (5 October 2011). "Forbes Is Seeking Edge Thinkers". Forbes. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  4. ^ John Brockman (1995). The Third Culture: Beyond the Scientific Revolution. Simon & Schuster. ISBN  0-684-82344-6.
  5. ^ "Annual Question". Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  6. ^ Brockman, John (1998). "1998: WHAT QUESTIONS ARE YOU ASKING YOURSELF?". Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  7. ^ "What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?". 2005.
  8. ^ What We Believe But Cannot Prove: Today's Leading Thinkers on Science in the Age of Certainty. Free Press, UK. 2005. ISBN  9781416522614.
  9. ^ "What is your dangerous idea?". 2006.
  10. ^ What Is Your Dangerous Idea?: Today's Leading Thinkers on the Unthinkable. Harper Perennial. 2007. ISBN  978-0-06-121495-0.
  11. ^ "What are you optimistic about? Why?". 2007.
  12. ^ John Brockman, ed. (2007). What Are You Optimistic About?: Today's Leading Thinkers on Why Things Are Good and Getting Better. HarperCollins. ISBN  978-0-06-143693-2.
  13. ^ "What have you changed your mind about?". 2008.
  14. ^ John Brockman, ed. (13 January 2009). What Have You Changed Your Mind About?: Today's Leading Minds Rethink Everything. Harper Perennial. ISBN  978-0-06-168654-2.
  15. ^ "What Will Change Everything? What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?". 2009.
  16. ^ John Brockman, ed. (2010). This Will Change Everything: Ideas That Will Shape The Future. HarperCollins. ISBN  978-0-06-189967-6.
  17. ^ "How has the Internet changed the way you think?". 2010.
  18. ^ a b Is the Internet changing the way you think? : the net's impact on our minds and future. Brockman, John, 1941-, (1st ed.). New York: Harper Perennial. 2011. ISBN  9780062020444. OCLC  641534355.{{ cite book}}: CS1 maint: others ( link)
  19. ^ a b "What Scientific Concept Would Improve Everybody's Cognitive Toolkit?". 2011.
  20. ^ "What is your favorite deep, elegant, or beautiful explanation?". 2012.
  21. ^ This explains everything : deep, beautiful, and elegant theories of how the world works. Brockman, John, 1941- (1st ed.). New York: Harper Perennial. 2013. ISBN  9780062230171. OCLC  795758008.{{ cite book}}: CS1 maint: others ( link)
  22. ^ "What should we be worried about?". 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-18.
  23. ^ What should we be worried about? : real scenarios that keep scientists up at night. Brockman, John, 1941-, (First ed.). New York, NY. 2014. ISBN  9780062296238. OCLC  849787401.{{ cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher ( link) CS1 maint: others ( link)
  24. ^ "What scientific idea is ready for retirement?". 2014. Retrieved 2015-12-21.
  25. ^ This idea must die : scientific ideas that are blocking progress. Brockman, John, 1941- (First ed.). New York. 17 February 2015. ISBN  9780062374349. OCLC  881042113.{{ cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher ( link) CS1 maint: others ( link)
  26. ^ "What Do You Think About Machines that Think?". 2014. Retrieved 2015-01-19.
  27. ^ What to think about machines that think : today's leading thinkers on the age of machine intelligence. Brockman, John, 1941- (First ed.). New York. 6 October 2015. ISBN  9780062425652. OCLC  922877862.{{ cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher ( link) CS1 maint: others ( link)
  29. ^ Know this : today's most interesting and important scientific ideas, discoveries, and developments. Brockman, John, 1941- (First ed.). New York, NY. 7 February 2017. ISBN  9780062562067. OCLC  964787935.{{ cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher ( link) CS1 maint: others ( link)
  30. ^ "2017: What scientific term or concept ought to be more widely known?". 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  31. ^ This idea is brilliant : lost, overlooked, and underappreciated scientific concepts everyone should know. Brockman, John, 1941- (First ed.). New York. 16 January 2018. ISBN  9780062698216. OCLC  1019711625.{{ cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher ( link) CS1 maint: others ( link)
  32. ^ "2018: What is the last question?". 2018. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  33. ^ "How Jeffrey Epstein Bankrolled An Exclusive Intellectual Boys Club And Reaped The Benefits". BuzzFeed News. 26 September 2019. Retrieved 2021-10-03.

External links