The Anthropocene, a new epoch in earth history, reflects the unprecedented ways in which one species — Homo sapiens — has shaped our planet. To many, the Anthropocene began with the Great Acceleration, a period of exponential growth in just about any measurable parameter from population size to energy consumption to the number of new chemicals introduced into the biosphere and patents registered.
But what enabled our species to have such influence? What co-evolutionary and historical processes led to the Anthropocene? Does the Anthropocene represent a phase transition within the coupled natural-social-cultural-technological systems? And what is the future of the Anthropocene?
Watch the discussion (90 minutes)
In this SFI Community Lecture, part of the InterPlanetary Project, a panel of historians, biologists, earth scientists, and artists explore this unique moment in our planet's history, its past, and its future. Panelists included SFI External Professor Sander van der Leeuw, an archaeologist, and historian; D.A. Wallach, an investor, recording artist, and essayist; and SFI Distinguished Professor Geoffrey West, a theoretical physicist whose primary interests have been in fundamental questions in physics, biology, and global sustainability. The panel will be moderated by SFI External Professor, Manfred Laubichler.
Laubichler is a theoretical biologist and historian of science. His undergraduate training was in zoology, philosophy, and mathematics at the University of Vienna (Austria) and his graduate training was in biology at Yale and in History/History of Science at Princeton. He is associate editor of two journals, Biological Theory and the Journal of Experimental Zoology, Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution and is a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin and an external faculty member at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research in Altenberg, Austria.
Generous underwriting from Thornburg Investment Management, with additional support from The Lensic Performing Arts Center, makes this series possible. This particular panel discussion is also funded by the Miller Omega Program, and the ASU-SFI Center for Biosocial Complex Systems.