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- Archaeology of the future is what it should be called. Archaeology of the past is very interesting because it tells us what we once were. But archaeology of the future is the study of what we're going to become, what we have a chance to become...it's a missing element in our understanding of the universe which tells us what our future is like, and what our place in the universe is. If there's nobody else out there, that's also quite important to know.
- On SETI, Nothing is Too Wonderful to be True (1995)
- There is a narrowness of action, though not of intent, which characterizes university departments, and scientific publications and scientists in general: if it is too popular, it is somehow vulgar and wrong. You can't really speak to those people across the street. I live next to the chemists at MIT, but I never see them. I hardly know who they are, yet between physics and chemistry it is hard to know who should study what molecule. I myself am guilty. We form communities not based on the problems of science, but on quite other things. This is part of the general split between the intelligent member of the public and the scientist who speaks in narrow focus. But the great theoretical problems which I believe the world expects will somehow be solved by science, problems close to deep philosophical issues are the very problems that find the least expertise, the least degree of organization, the least institutional support in the scientific institutions of America or indeed of the world.
- On specialization, Nothing is Too Wonderful to be True (1995)