Area of Research: Diffusion of Social Phenomena
Peak Human? Thoughts on the Evolution of the Enhancement of Human Performance
“Peak Human?” booklet by Ausubel-Curry posted
Based on Jesse’s Nierenberg Prize lecture, Jesse and Alan Curry, who led research on human performance enhancement for the Program for the Human Environment for several years, have created a compact version with about half the visual exhibits in the lecture. We retain the title “Peak Human? Thoughts on the Evolution of the Enhancement of Human Performance.” Thanks to Dale Langford for editorial assistance and the beautiful layout.
Passing of Cesare Marchetti
Cesare Marchetti passed away this morning in Tuscany just short of his 96th birthday. After meeting Cesare in 1978, Jesse Ausubel became fascinated with Cesare’s ideas about the importance and ubiquity of processes of growth and diffusion captured often in simple form by Lotka-Volterra equations and subsequently coded in our Loglet Lab software. In the early 1980s Jesse began assisting Cesare on some projects and subsequently worked together on subjects ranging from electricity to travel to human populations and empires (see below). And of course Leonardo Da Vinci.
Cesare is best known for Marchetti’s Constant that posits that the human time budget for travel is a little above one hour per day, since ever and everywhere, because anthropologically rooted in the dangers homo sapiens faces when outside a protected environment.
Cesare was one of the inventors of geoengineering. His most cited paper is On geoengineering and the CO2 problem (1977).
Around 1970 he was also one of the inventors of the hydrogen economy as described in this 1973 paper: Hydrogen and energy.
A bibliography with links to many of Cesare’s papers from 1952 to 2007 is here. A second list of publications is here.
Cesare’s explorations of Leonardo are here.
Our group at The Rockefeller University always greatly enjoyed hosting Cesare in New York City, and he reciprocated with marvelous hospitality in Monteloro.
Our joint efforts included:
C Marchetti, JH Ausubel. Quantitative Dynamics of Human Empires [Color Booklet Version, 52 pages]. Adapted from Marchetti and Ausubel, International Journal of Anthropology 27(1-2):1-62, 2012. 2013
JH Ausubel, C Marchetti. Science, Conquering Child of the Church . 2003 Draft prepared for Next 1000 Years meeting, 9-10 October 2003
C Marchetti, JH Ausubel. The Next 1000 Years. 2003 Discussion paper for April 2003 Rockefeller U workshop
JH Ausubel, C Marchetti. The Evolution of Transport. The Industrial Physicist 7 (2): 20–24, 2001
JH Ausubel, C Marchetti, PS Meyer. Toward Green Mobility: The Evolution of Transport European Review 6 (2): 143–162, 1998
JH Ausubel, C Marchetti. Elektron: Electrical Systems in Retrospect and Prospect Pp. 110–134 in Technological Trajectories and the Human Environment, J.H. Ausubel and H.D. Langford, (eds.). Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1997 Also appeared in Daedalus 125(3):139-169, Summer 1996.
C Marchetti, PS Meyer, JH Ausubel. Human Population Dynamics Revisited with the Logistic Model: How Much Can Be Modeled and Predicted? Pp. 1–30 in Technological Forecasting and Social Change vol. 53, 1996.
Requiescat in pace.
Loglet Lab 5 beta available for use
For almost 30 years, thanks to Perrin Meyer, Jason Yung, David Burg, and now Albert Strusberg, we have developed and maintained a software package for analyzing logistic wavelets and logistic substitution, LogletLab.
LogletLab 5, now in beta version, offers new web-based features for single and multiple logistics. We welcome feedback. We plan in the spring to release 5.1 with more fitting algorithms and also logistic substitution.
Video of Jesse’s Nierenberg Prize lecture on “Peak Human?”
In this 54″ video made 13 October 2022 Jesse Ausubel, awarded the 2022 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest, discusses whether the human species can continue to improve—much like cars, computers, or other technology—or whether our species has reached its peak.
Another podcast with Jesse about peak human and peak humans
Jesse H. Ausubel joins Jason Spiess on The Crude Life to discuss “Peak Human” and “Peak Humans” in a 34-minute podcast and explore new research showing how humans’ minds and bodies may near their limits and even start on a downward curve. “For 200-250 years humanity has had an incredible run,” Ausubel said. “When you think of your great grandparents, grandparents, parents and you, generally speaking you are going to be better… than they were.”
Jesse podcasts on “Peak Human?”
Journalist/author Robert Bryce interviews Jesse Ausubel about PHE’s work on “peak human” and “peak humans.” The interview covers four dimensions of human performance: the physical (how far and fast can we go?), lifetime (how long can we live and how well?), cognitive (measures of intelligence and learning), and immunity (is our resistance to disease waning?). The podcast was recorded on December 7, 2022. For the audio and transcript, see the Bryce website, and also on YouTube.
Jesse Ausubel to receive 2022 Nierenberg Prize
Jesse Ausubel will be honored with the 2022 Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest. This award is presented annually by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and the Nierenberg Family to honor the memory of William A. Nierenberg, an esteemed physicist and national science leader who served Scripps Oceanography as director for two decades. Previous awardees include atmospheric scientist Warren Washington, biochemist and Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna, filmmaker Sir David Attenborough, and primatologist Dame Jane Goodall, among others.
PHE Analysis of Moore’s Law published
PHE affiliate David Burg and Jesse Ausubel co-authored a paper published in PLOS ONE, Moore’s Law revisited through Intel chip density. Summarized here, the paper uses our LogletLab software to analyze the evolution of transistor density in state-of-the-art computer chips and how it corresponds to the famous ‘Moore’s Law.’
Coverage occurred in Chinese (TenCent News) and in German.
An earlier paper by Jesse and Nadja Victor used loglets to analyze DRAMs. This work fits with our generic interest in diffusion of technical and social phenomena.