The Crime of Reason and the Closing of the Scientific Mind

(Basic Books, 2008)

Book Forum
October 10, 2008 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM EDT


Featuring the author Robert B. Laughlin, Nobel Laureate in Physics and Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Physics, Stanford University; with comments by Thomas Sydnor, Senior Fellow and Director of the Center for the Study of Digital Property at the Progress & Freedom Foundation. Moderated by Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies, Cato Institute.

Though we may feel inundated with information today, Nobel laureate Robert Laughlin argues that intellectual property laws and government security demands are increasingly restricting access to the most useful information. Government rules and businesses’ legal pressures to sequester information threaten the development of new knowledge, he says. The rights of free people to investigate their world are threatened. Laughlin’s fresh perspective and light, sometimes whimsical, bent do not mask the central warning of his readable book: that we risk bequeathing our heirs a world where knowledge is criminalized and our intellectual tradition of unfettered inquiry is lost.