2004 Guardian Award

2004 Guardian Award Winner Authors Book About Future

This year’s recipient is Sir Martin Rees.
Sir Martin Rees is Royal Society Professor at Cambridge University, a Fellow of Kings College, and the U.K.’s Astronomer Royal. The winner of the 2001 Cosmology Prize of the Peter Gruber Foundation, he has published numerous academic papers and books including Our Final Hour: A Scientist’s Warning: How Terror, Error, and Environmental Disaster Threaten Humankind’s Future In This Century — On Earth and Beyond.
Sir Martin Rees warns “Science is advancing faster than ever, and on a broader front… But there is a dark side: new science can have unintended consquences; it empowers individuals to perpetrate acts of megaterror; even innocent errors could be catastrophic. The ‘downside’ from twenty-first century technology could be graver and more intractable than the threat of nuclear devastation that we have faced for decades.”
He goes on to say “If there were millions of independent fingers on the button of a Doomsday machine, then one person’s act of irrationality, or even one person’s error, could do us all in.”
Sir Martin Rees concludes “Even a few pioneering groups, living independently of Earth, would offer a safeguard against the worst possible disaster — the foreclosure of intelligent life’s future through the extinction of all humankind.”
Other books by Sir Martin Rees include Just Six Numbers: The Deep Forces That Shape the Universe, Our Cosmic Habitat, and Before the Beginning: Our Universe and Others.