CNS Seminar (In-house)

Thursday, July 11, 2013
2:00 - 4:00pm
Girvetz 2320
Dr. Patrick McCray

Patrick McCray is a professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara and group leader for IRG 1 at CNS-UCSB.   His most recent publication The Visioneers (Princeton University Press) was published in 2013.  He is also the author of Keep Watching the Skies!: The Story of Operation Moonwalk and the Dawn of the Space Age (Princeton) and Giant Telescopes: Astronomical Ambition and the Promise of Technology.

 Dr. McCray will give a talk titled: “Visioneering from Space Colonies to Nanotechnologies”

In 1969 physicist Gerard O’Neill began looking outward to space colonies as the new frontier of humanity’s expansion.  Later, Eric Drexler turned his attention to the molecular world as a place where society’s future needs could be met using self-replicating nanoscale machines.  These modern utopians predicted that their technologies could transform society as humans mastered the ability to create new worlds and atomic-scale engineering.  Patrick McCray examines how these visioneers blended countercultural ideals with hard science, entrepreneurship, libertarianism, and unbridled optimism about the future.  The Visioneers tells the story of how these scientists and the communities they fostered imagined, designed, and popularized speculative technologies such as space colonies and nanotechnologies.