No work of literature has done more to shape the way people imagine science and its moral consequences than Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus, Mary Shelley’s enduring tale of creation and responsibility. The novel’s themes and tropes—such as the complex dynamic between creator and creation—continue to resonate with contemporary audiences. Frankenstein continues to influence the way we confront emerging technologies, conceptualize the process of scientific research, imagine the motivations and ethical struggles of scientists, and weigh the benefits of innovation with its unforeseen pitfalls.
Arizona State University will serve as a network hub for celebration of the bicentennial of the writing and publication of Frankenstein, 2016-2018. The Frankenstein Bicentennial Project will encompass a wide variety of public programs, physical and digital exhibits, research projects, scientific demonstrations, competitions, festivals, art projects, formal and informal learning opportunities, and publications exploring the novel’s colossal scientific, technological, artistic, cultural and social impacts.
I co-chair the editorial board for Tomorrow Project USA, an ongoing collaboration with Intel designed to inspire science and fact-based conversations about the future.
Our first anthology, Cautions, Dreams & Curiosities, features stories and artwork on the theme of “Green Dreams” from several Arizona State University students and is available for download here.
What is the future of the book? We are exploring this question through a series of experiments in collaborative, improvisational publishing. The concept: a series of “book sprints” that took place in real time at the Frankfurt Book Fair (October 2013), at Arizona State University in Phoenix, AZ (January 2014), at Stanford University in California (May 2014) and at the Society for Scholarly Publishing Annual Meeting (June 2016). Drawing together a diverse collective of authors, critics, publishers, journalists and others, we are curating a series of performances, investigations and polemics on the future of reading, writing, editing, and the broader systems of literary production and consumption
I am the founding director of Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, which brings writers, artists and other creative thinkers into collaboration with scientists, engineers and technologists to reignite humanity’s grand ambitions for innovation and discovery. The center serves as a network hub for audacious moonshot ideas and a cultural engine for thoughtful optimism. We provide a space for productive collaboration between the humanities and the sciences, bring human narratives to scientific questions, and explore the full social implications of cutting-edge research.