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From the Neolithic Era to the Apocalypse: How to Prepare for the Future by Studying the Past

  • MIT Building 3 Room 270 77 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA, 02139 United States (map)

For thousands of years, humans have experienced cycles of empire building and retreat, from the neolithic settlers of Levant and the Indus Valley to the ancient Cahokia and Maya civilizations. What can new discoveries teach us about how to plan our next thousand years as a global civilization? Authors Charles C. Mann and Annalee Newitz will talk about how ancient civilizations shed light on current problems with urbanization, food security, and environmental change.

The event, a part of the MIT Communications Forum series, is free and open to the public; more information here.


Charles C. Mann is the author, most recently, of 1493, a New York Times best-seller, and 1491, winner of the National Academies of Science's Keck award for best book of the year. His next project, The Wizard and the Prophet, is a book about the future that makes no predictions. An early version of the introductory chapter was a finalist for a National Magazine Award.

Annalee Newitz writes science nonfiction and science fiction. She's editor-in-chief of Gizmodo and founding editor of io9. She's the author of Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction, which was a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book Award. Her work has appeared in publications from The New Yorker and Technology Review to 2600 and Lightspeed Magazine. Her next book is a novel about robots, pirates, and the future of property laws.

Moderator: Tom Levenson is the director of MIT's Graduate Program in Science Writing. His next book, The Hunt for Vulcan: How Albert Einstein Destroyed a Planet, Discovered Relativity, and Deciphered the Universe, comes out in November.

Earlier Event: October 8
The Future Is Now
Later Event: October 9
Kavli Workshop on Nanotechnology