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Casual Space

Jun 13, 2019

On this episode of Casual Space, Beth meets Ed Finn!

  • Ed shares his origin story for how the Center for Science and Imagination got started at ASU when a great question is presented to the college president
  • We review some of Ed’s favorite movies that opened his mind to merge Hollywood with space and science exploration…
  • We touch upon the recent The Boeing 737 Max as an AI story; what it means to trust the machine over the human

“Storytelling is one of our best tools for dealing with complexity.”- Ed Finn

[At the Center for Science and the Imagination] We do this through story telling. We bring people together with many different backgrounds engineers, social science managers, ask them to come up with technically grounded compelling exciting stories about the world that we might live in… we do this in different media- theater, comic books, etc. …. From all over the world.

“The best thing about (reading/ writing) science fiction is not inhabiting other worlds, but inhabiting other people’s lives.”

“We’re confronted with impossible situations all the time…We all confront these impossible things from time to time, this is how we learns, where we demonstrate our resilience, and adapt to something we never thought was going to be possible.”

Great links to find more related to Ed Finn, his essays and books, and The Center for Science and the Imagination

Why Exploration Matters;

“Why do we go to Space Now? Not about technical challenges, but now the question is about, what are we going to do there, who’s going to get to go, WHY are we going to go, and what is our global relationship to the things that are happening off of planet Earth?

When you start to think about space in that way, you can start to recognize what’s meaningful. We will always want to explore, but what about all the other stuff…what about how we’re going to LIVE in space? How are we going to have careers?  All of these questions are economic, they’re social, and they’re about how we make meaning and dwell in the world and how we make our lives interesting. Space on it’s own is spectacularly gorgeous (so I’ve heard), but it is empty. So it’s what we bring, and what we make of it that will make it worthwhile. So we have to have good answers to that questions. Because if we don’t, then it’s never going to happen.  We’ll just end up staying here with all of the interesting complicated messes we have on this planet.” 

About Ed Finn:

Ed Finn is a writer, researcher, editor, speaker, and incorrigible experimentalist. He is the kind of person who writes poetry during boring meetings and always has extra snacks. He is the founding director of the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University. He is also an associate professor jointly appointed in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering (which is all one thing) and the Department of English (which is a different thing). He reads, writes, and owns a number of books, and he enjoys traveling, launching into conversation in languages he doesn’t really know, and being a dad.