Flashback: Human Uniqueness

A physicist and a philosopher walk into a lab… no, this isn’t the start of a joke. It’s an everyday occurrence in the lab of Andrew Briggs, Professor of Nanomaterials at Oxford University. While working on how to exploit quantum mechanics to better store and process information, he also maintains an active interest in philosophy, and even has a philosopher working as part of his team. His interests extend into the nature of scientific inquiry, and to the nature of human uniqueness—hearkening back to the very first issue of Nautilus.

How does philosophy play a role in physics?

Well, for the last three years we’ve had a

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Nautilus

Nautilus5 min read
The Argument Against Terraforming Mars
In Kim Stanley Robinson’s science-fiction Mars Trilogy, human colonists “terraform” Mars, turning the rocky red planet into a lush green world. The colonists melt the polar ice caps with nuclear explosives, inducing a greenhouse effect that warms the
Nautilus6 min readHappiness
No, You Can’t Feel Sorry for Everyone: The idea of empathy for all ignores the limits of human psychology.
The world seems to be getting more empathetic. Americans donate to charity at record rates. People feel the pain of suffering in geographically distant countries brought to our attention by advances in communications and transportation. Violence, see
Nautilus6 min readScience
Outraged By the Google Diversity Memo? I Want You to Think About It
That leaked internal memo from James Damore at Google? The one that says one shouldn’t expect employees in all professions to reflect the demographics of the whole population? Well, that was a pretty dumb thing to write. But not because it’s wrong. D