Remembering Michael Crichton

The great popularizer of hard science, Michael Crichton, died yesterday. In his books, millions of readers were introduced to scientific concepts such as cloning, the spread of new diseases, nanoassembly, deep-sea exploration, quantum computing and the discussion around climate change. From a note to fans on

Through his books, Michael Crichton served as an inspiration to students of all ages, challenged scientists in many fields, and illuminated the mysteries of the world in a way we could all understand.

That was a special thing about his books: he truly cared that we, the general reader, understood what he was talking about. With his combination of scientific rigor and storytelling chops — and his deep and abiding concern for what’s next in science and tech, and the unintended consequences they might bring — it’s not surprising that Crichton spoke at a very early TED Conference, at TED3 in February 1992. We’re hoping to bring this talk to you soon.

Meanwhile, here’s a selected playlist of TEDTalks in the spirit of Michael Crichton:

+ Craig Venter’s “On the Verge of Creating Synthetic Life“: Bold ideas about what is coming up next, and a walk through the consequences they may bring
+ Larry Brilliant’s TED Prize wish: “Help Stop the Next Pandemic“: A vision to build a worldwide system to understand and stop new diseases and disasters
+ Robert Ballard’s “Exploring the World’s Oceans“: Pure enthusiasm for sharing scientific discoveries — and an inspiration for the next generation to discover even more