Selected Readings

Bridges vol. 42, December 2014 / Selected Readings

A selection of recent noteworthy publications in science, technology, education and innovation policy, and related areas.


 

Accelerating US Manufacturing

Accelerating U.S. Advanced Manufacturing

By The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, 2014

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In the past year, teams of experts assembled by the Committee of Advanced Manufacturing Partnership 2.0 (AMP 2.0) identified manufacturing technology areas in which the United States could establish a strategic advantage. AMP 2.0 is a renewed, cross- sector, national effort to secure US leadership in the emerging technologies that will create high-quality manufacturing jobs and enhance America’s global competitiveness. Steering Committee members are among the US’s leaders in industry, academia, and labor, and constitute a working group of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). On October 27, 2014, the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership report, Accelerating U.S. Advanced Manufacturing, was released, detailing twelve recommendations. The report also addressed needs in three broad categories: enabling innovation, securing the talent pipeline, and improving the business climate.

 

World Population & Human Capital in the Twenty-first Century: Executive Summary

By Wolfgang Lutz, William P. Butz, Samir KC
IIASA, 2014

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IIASA’s publication aims to systematically and quantitatively address the role of educational attainment in global population trends and models. By adding education to the traditional demographic characteristics of age and sex, this distinguishing feature substantially alters the way one looks at changes in populations and how changes are projected into the future. The scenarios presented in this book show how alternative policies of education expansion in the near term, mostly through their effect on the future educational attainment of young women, can significantly influence the medium- to long-term paths of population growth for individual countries and the world as a whole. The book also presents many other examples of how the future looks different – and mostly better – once education is explicitly factored into population projections. In addition, the future educational attainment levels of the adult population hold great interest in their own right as a key determinant of outcomes in areas of economic growth, quality of governance, and adaptive capacity to environmental change.

 

In Retrospect: From the Pill to the Pen

By Carl Djerassi
Imperial College Press, 2014

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Viennese-born chemist Carl Djerassi reflects as a nonagenarian polymath describing the shift from a 50-year-long career as a world-famous chemist to a subsequent 25-year career in "science-in-fiction" and "science-in-theater.” The book references his plays that incorporate real science into entertainment, particularly with his play Oxygen that portrays a Nobel committee in charge of handing out the prize to the inventor of oxygen. Djerassi is self-critical and humorous in his fourth autobiography, covering themes such as the future of sex in an age of technological reproduction. This story also reflects on the history of the Pill as seen through the eyes of one of its inventors, a Jewish refugee who came to the United States in the 1930s. The author uses the story of his life and work in order to tell the often-misrepresented story of how the Pill was created and the responsibilities of those charged with its development.

 

Decoding the City: Urbanism in the Age of Big Data

By Dietmar Offenhuber and Carlo Ratti
Birkhauser Verlag AG, 2014

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Austrian scientist Dietmar Offenhuber collaborates with Carlo Ratti of the MIT-based Senseable City Lab show how Big Data changes reality and how people must live with it in an urban context. They demonstrate how the Lab interprets digital data as material that can be used for the formulation of a different urban future. Senseable City Lab delves into large-scale infrastructure projects, which are exemplified throughout the text. The findings suggest that more complex and above all more flexible answers must be sought to questions of transportation or disposal both now and in the cities of the future. The publication also looks at the negative aspects of the city-related data acquisition and control, discussing the impact of real-time data on architecture and urban planning. Offenhuber and Ratti address issues with which urban planning disciplines will work intensively in the future. Such questions critically review existing tasks and how the professions must learn to view their own roles.