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Front cover of campus common readThe Campus Common Read for the 2014-15 Academic Year. 

What Should We Be Worried About?
Edited by John Brockman

Drawing from the horizons of science, today's leading thinkers reveal the hidden threats nobody is talking about—and expose the false fears everyone else is distracted by.

What should we be worried about? That is the question John Brockman, publisher of Edge.org ("The world's smartest website"—The Guardian), posed to the planet's most influential minds. He asked them to disclose something that, for scientific reasons, worries them—particularly scenarios that aren't on the popular radar yet. Encompassing neuroscience, economics, philosophy, physics, psychology, biology, and more—here are 150 ideas that will revolutionize your understanding of the world.

Steven Pinker uncovers the real risk factors for war * Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi peers into the coming virtual abyss * Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek laments our squandered opportunities to prevent global catastrophe * Seth Lloyd calculates the threat of a financial black hole * Alison Gopnik on the loss of childhood * Nassim Nicholas Taleb explains why firefighters understand risk far better than economic "experts" * Matt Ridley on the alarming re-emergence of superstition * Daniel C. Dennett and george dyson ponder the impact of a major breakdown of the Internet * Jennifer Jacquet fears human-induced damage to the planet due to "the Anthropocebo Effect" * Douglas Rushkoff fears humanity is losing its soul * Nicholas Carr on the "patience deficit" * Tim O'Reilly foresees a coming new Dark Age * Scott Atran on the homogenization of human experience * Sherry Turkle explores what's lost when kids are constantly connected * Kevin Kelly outlines the looming "underpopulation bomb" * Helen Fisher on the fate of men * Lawrence Krauss dreads what we don't know about the universe * Susan Blackmore on the loss of manual skills * Kate Jeffery on the death of death * plus J. Craig Venter, Daniel Goleman, Virginia Heffernan, Sam Harris, Brian Eno, Martin Rees, and more.


Spring Event

Spring Event: Wednesday, February 11, 12:30 p.m.
203 Main Building

"Is the World Going to Hell?"

The Common Read Committee is sponsoring Dr. Stephen Cimbala, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, discussing the "new normal".


Political, economic, social and cultural turbulence seem to be the “new normal” in the world of the twenty-first century.  The post-Cold War optimism of the 1990s has been replaced by expectations of continuing terrorist attacks, failed states, economic and social inequality, human rights violations, and troubled police-community relations.  This discussion will consider some of these and other issues within the context of the capacity of the U.S. and other governments to preserve national security, promote economic growth and provide for social welfare, given the challenges posed by the new world order and by their own domestic politics.

Fall Events

Student reading essay

Mamie Dukuray (reading essay), (Panelists from left to right) Pamela Main,
Robin Stokes, Nina Clemens, Evan Bradley

Kickoff:  Thursday, September 11, 11:30 a.m.
Vairo Amphitheatre

"What Is Brandywine Worried About?" Panel Discussion

Five panelists from the Brandywine faculty, staff, and student community will discuss a topic that concerns each of them, something that they are worried about in today's world.

Fall Main Event:  Thursday, October 16, 11:30 a.m.
"Brandywine Is Worried About ... Sustainability"
Sustainable Garden area

The Common Read Committee will feature the Honors Program and Organic Gardening Club's Sustainable Garden. These organizations will host a tour and engage the audience in interactive presentations regarding sustainability. Mary Fran McLaughlin will also demonstrate the basics and importance of beekeeping.

National Day on Writing: Monday, October 20, 2014

The Writing Studio and Library will use the Common Read theme as the jumping off point for subject matter for the National Day on Writing. Tables will be set up at various locations on campus for the campus community to compose essays regarding "What I Am Worried About ...."