ICTAS: What We're Reading

What We're Reading

What are we reading here at ICTAS? Take a peak into our library and get a glimpse of the ideas that helped shape our Institute. Portions of these works have been authored or edited by our faculty.

Why did so many transformative ideas come from Bell Labs? The Idea Factory by Jon Gertner gives us the definitive history of America’s greatest incubator of innovation, the birthplace of some of the 20th century’s most influential technologies, including the integrated circuit, the communications satellite and the cell phone.

The Black Swan - the Impact of the Highly Improbable, has sold close to 3 million copies and spent 36 weeks on the NY Times Bestseller List. Taleb spent two decades as a trader and risk taker before becoming a full-time essayist and scholar focusing on practical, philosophical and mathematical problems with chance, luck, and probability. His focus in on how different systems handle disorder.

In Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research, the capacity of new technologies to both transform existing disciplines and generate new ones is examined. Because interdisciplinary research can be impeded by policies on hiring, promotion, tenure, proposal review, and resource allocation that favor traditional disciplines, this report identifies ways to create an atmosphere that fosters this research.

Nanotechnology Environmental Health and Safety focuses not only on the impact of nanotechnology and the discipline of nanotoxicity, but also explains each of these disciplines through in the context of management requirements and via risk scenarios - providing an overview of regulation, risk management, and exposure.

This book is an attempt to show how innovation in the "post-Google generation" is often catalyzed by those who cross a conventional line so firmly drawn between the arts and the sciences. Edwards describes how contemporary creators achieve breakthroughs in the arts and sciences by developing their ideas in an intermediate zone of human creativity where neither art nor science is easily defined.

Will we be able to predict guilt before a person commits a crime? Is it legal to quarantine someone 99 percent likely to have the superflu while they're still healthy? These questions matter, because the naked future will be upon us sooner than we realize.

Just as human bones get stronger when subjected to stress and tension, and rumors or riots intensify when someone tries to repress them, many things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility, and turmoil. What Taleb has identified and calls “antifragile” is that category of things that not only gain from chaos but need it in order to survive and flourish.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

* indicates required

Contact Us

ICTAS (MC 0193)
Kelly Hall, Suite 410, Virginia Tech
325 Stanger Street
Blacksburg, VA 24061


(540) 231-2597