Craig Venter giving a Long Now seminar today (25feb08)

Dang, I was not able to finagle a trip to SFO to see this talk. But, if you live in the Bay Area, don’t miss this!

Link: Long Now Seminars

Craig Venter is on a roll these days.  He has revolutionized science twice already—with the human genome project and with metagenomic analysis of whole microbial populations.  He is about to do it again by creating a new life form with a wholly synthesized genome.  His memoir, A LIFE DECODED, is a thrilling read.  He has shocking new perspectives to report every time he speaks in public.

Last month in Germany he said, "In one milliliter of sea water, there’s a million bacteria and ten million viruses.  In the air in this room—we’ve been doing the air genome project—all of you just during the course of this hour will be breathing in at least 10,000 different bacteria, and maybe 100,000 viruses….  This is the world of biology that we live in, that we don’t see, where evolution takes place on a minute-to-minute basis…. The air that we breathe comes from these organisms. The future of the planet rests with these organisms.  And the question is: If we take over the design of these organisms, does that really shift the balance in any way?  Or is it such a small portion of what’s out there that we’ll only affect industrial processes, not the living planet?"

"Joining 3.5 Billion Years of Microbial Invention," Craig Venter, Herbst Theater, San Francisco, 7pm, MONDAY, February 25.  The lecture starts promptly at 7:30pm.  Admission is free (a $10 donation is always welcome, not required).

The Herbst Theater is downtown at the Civic Center on Van Ness at McAllister (inside the War Memorial Veterans Building).