Type of site
|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 edge.org website, edited by publisher and businessman John Brockman. The site is a critically noted 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 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.
Many areas of academic work are incorporated, including genetics, physics, mathematics, psychology, evolutionary biology, philosophy and computing technology.
Edge poses its members an annual question: