The New Atlantis Archives - Ethics & Public Policy Center

A Scientist’s Mind, A Poet’s Soul

Except for Aristotle, no scientist before or since Alexander von Humboldt can boast an intellect as universal in reach as his and as influential for the salient work of his time. His neglect today is unfortunate but instructive.

Disarming Frontline Doctors

In its quest to meet the “gold standard,” academic medicine has put Covid patients at risk.

Turing and the Uncomputable

As Alan Turing mentally constructed his universal machine, the very foundations of mathematics — the basis for the modern understanding of the physical world — were called into question. As he pondered the similarities between the mind of man and the mind of the machine, the traditional meaning of our humanity was challenged.

The Most Dangerous Possible German

Ordinary men and women who would be utterly dumbfounded by the mathematical arcana of Werner Heisenberg’s signature matrix mechanics now deliberate the question of what kind of man he really was. And that question is an eminently fair one for ordinary people to ask.

What Happened to Bioethics?

Twenty years ago, even ten years ago, bioethics was a prominent national issue, and an active and intensely contested political question. Such intense focus on bioethics seems almost strange now. But in order to think about why, and about what lessons we can learn about where things stand today, we might recall a couple of facets of that unusual period of intense focus on bioethics, particularly the stem cell debate in the first decade of this century.

Jonas Salk, the People’s Scientist

Jonas Salk’s achievement, a triumph of character as well as of mind, ought never be forgotten. The least impressive intellect among the famous scientists of the twentieth century, he was — aside from Marie Curie — the most impressive human being.

Richard Feynman and the Pleasure Principle

The modern world is sometimes called disenchanted, denuded of magic, because science has annihilated the invisible homeland of the spirits, where angels, demons, and God himself were believed to dwell. But Richard Feynman spoke unabashedly of the wonders and miracles to be found in nature as modern science describes it.

Grit, Gus, and Glory

Misleading depictions have harmed the image of one of NASA’s first men in space — Gus Grissom. A new book sets the record straight.

Puberty Suppression and FGM

We are living in the midst of a rage for sexual mutability and rising numbers of children are reporting cross-sex identification. Before resorting to dire and irreversible “treatments” on otherwise healthy children, we ought to remove our own cultural blinders.