Reforming Medicine: Applying the Lessons of SARS-CoV-2

Surgical face mask

Feb 1 02021: Reforming Medicine: Applying the Lessons of SARS-CoV-2

Feb 1, 02021 Doors open at 7:15 pm Come early and meet other Long Now thinkers – Tickets are available on Eventbrite
Presentation starts at 7:30 pm ET

A Long Now Boston Community Conversation with Preston Estep (RDVC) and Florian Krammer (CIVIC).

The global COVID response of the past year demonstrated both extraordinary innovation and resilience as well as tragic and colossal disruption. This is particularly true in terms of the biomedical and epidemiological infrastructure. The scientific achievements in rapid gene sequencing, experimental drug treatments and vaccine development were stunning, representing an unprecedented global mobilization. At the same time, implementation of public health measures was haphazard at best, marked by misinformation, confusion, supply shortages and politicization, with widely disparate and sometimes tragic consequences.

We can do better – and now is the time to talk about making changes to secure long-term benefits in reducing the consequences of future pandemics and increasing the resilience of our scientific, biomedical, and public health institutions. 

Join Long Now Boston for a conversation on critical innovations in the practice and regulation of biomedicine that could shorten novel vaccine deployment to three months. We will discuss the standard of placebo controlled randomized clinical trials (PC-RCT): when we know the genetic sequence, the biological mechanism and the molecular targets for treatment and immunity, does PC-RCT serve a useful purpose?

Additionally, we will hear about efforts to institutionalize best practices illuminated by the COVID response. Can we transition from a “one-at-a-time” vaccine development process to a networked pandemic offense of advanced research, development and pre-deployment?

Finally, we will ask the question: How far might these innovations take us towards the long term goal of a pandemic-free future?

Zoom doors open at 7:15pm ET – Come early and chat with other Long Now thinkers – Tickets are available on Eventbrite:

The main event starts at 7:30pm ET.
Join the conversation and be part of the solution. $5 in advance.
Students w/ID admitted free.
Audience participation is encouraged.

About the Speakers

Preston Estep is the founder and Chief Scientist of the Rapid Deployment Vaccine Collaborative (RaDVaC), the first-ever open-source vaccine project. Early in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, RaDVaC created rapid-deployment vaccines and published all formulas and protocols on the internet to enable production and self-administration of RaDVaC vaccines. Prior to RaDVaC, Preston was the Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder of Veritas Genetics. He is an inventor of several technologies, and is an adviser to many biotech startup companies. Preston was a previous Long Now Boston speaker on DNA technology breakthroughs: Our Past is our Future.

Florian Krammer is a Professor of Vaccinology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and a leading researcher on the biochemistry of viral infection, vaccines and therapeutics.  He is the Principal Investigator of the Collaborative Influenza Vaccine Innovation Center (CIVIC), and directs the Krammer laboratory, part of the NIH-funded Centers for Excellence in Influenza Research and Surveillance (CEIRS).  Dr. Krammer is an active peer reviewer and editorial board member of a number of leading journals and has published more than 250 scientific papers, including a proposal for preparing for the next outbreak.

We’re proud and excited to welcome Preston and Florian to the Long Now Boston community.

FlashTalks 02021 — From Crisis To Innovation

Windmill, money, chemistry

Jan 4 02021: FlashTalks 02021 From Crisis To Innovation

Jan 4, 02021 Doors open @ 7:15 pm Come early and meet other Long Now thinkers – Tickets are available on Eventbrite
Presentation starts at 7:30 pm ET

A Long Now Boston Community Conversation with Joe Levine, PhD, Eleanor Murphy, Steve Wardell, and Emilia Javorsky, MD.

By nearly all measures, this past year brought significant disruption and disorientation. From intensified wildfires, Saharan windstorms, and glacial calving to massive job layoffs, a K-shaped recovery, and a booming stock market, to an international health crisis that has riveted our attention and threatened our lives, our liberties and our happiness, this has been a challenging year. 

The closer we look at these challenges, the clearer their complex interconnectedness becomes.  Everything is related to everything else.  Does this suggest there are also greater possibilities for cross-disciplinary collaboration to achieve rapid innovation? All is not doom and gloom! In fact, there are many on the front lines of research, education, and development looking at our present problems through an innovative Long Now lens.

Please join us in welcoming four remarkable big-picture thinkers to Long Now Boston’s 3rd Annual Flash Talks. Our guests will share what drives them to influence long term change. We’ll do a deep dive into sector-specific trends, the lights they see at the end of the tunnel, and the concepts each is fervently promoting for a better future.

Big Picture Topics We’ll Explore:

  • Climate Change/Global Change – What new language is required to talk about these complex interrelated forces?
  • Income Inequality – Is it effective to establish long-term plans in a time of crisis?
  • Healthcare – Who do research & development trends benefit…Pharma, or patients? Is healthcare a basic human right? 

Kim Novick and George Gantz (Board members of Long Now Boston) will facilitate the conversation.  As in past years, the goal of our Flash Talks will be to facilitate broader community conversation, so we will be inviting meeting participants to participate directly in the conversations.

Zoom doors open at 7:15pm ET — Come early and chat with other Long Now thinkers – Tickets are available on Eventbrite:

The main event starts at 7:30pm ET.
Join the conversation and be part of the solution. $5 in advance.
Students w/ID admitted free.
Audience participation is encouraged.

About the Speakers

Joe Levine earned his PhD in Biology at Harvard University, and after teaching at Boston College, dedicated his life to improving science education and public understanding of science. Following a fellowship in Science Broadcast Journalism at WGBH, he produced science features for NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, served as science advisor to NOVA, science advisor for several WGBH Science Unit projects, and helped launch Discovery Channel’s Discover Magazine. He co-authors the most widely used high school biology textbook in the United States, and is active internationally in providing professional development for science teachers. Joe was recently elected as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in recognition for his work championing evolution and climate change education in public schools.

Eleanor Murphy, Director, Philanthropy and Engagement with Acumen, where she builds relationships with a variety of stakeholders to secure the resources needed to scale social enterprises and develop leaders across the globe that are tackling issues of poverty and injustice.  In doing so, she is constantly evaluating some of the world’s toughest problems –from gender inequity and climate change, to the next generation of leaders – and seeking out the most innovative solutions to address them.  Collaboration and partnership are core to her work (and what makes it fun!).  Eleanor is a graduate of Boston University and earned a Masters in Humanities from NOHA, the Network on Humanitarian Action.

Steven Wardell is a healthcare leader and analyst who grapples with the challenges of America’s healthcare system.  His focus is on addressing the challenges and opportunities as software “eats” traditional healthcare, healthcare payers demand value, and patients seek empowerment.  Steven runs Wardell Advisors, a consulting firm for innovative digital health companies.  He produces DigitalHealth InvestorTalk events for healthcare investors and company leaders.  He is the author of The Future of Digital Health, the founder of the Boston Chapter of Health 2.0, and a member of the Founders Circle of Long Now Boston. You can follow him at

Emilia Javorsky MD, MPH is focused on the invention, development and commercialization of new medical therapies using a problem-focused approach. She is also an advocate for the beneficial use of emerging technologies at the Future of Life Institute and Scientists Against Inhumane Weapons. Emilia received her undergraduate degree from Columbia University, her masters from Boston University, her medical degree from the University of Massachusetts, and completed her post-doctoral research at Massachusetts General Hospital. Currently she is involved in early-stage life science ventures. She previously cofounded a skin health company, which was acquired in 2020. She was a Fulbright-Schuman Scholar to the European Union, World Economic Forum’s Global Shaper, and was previously a Forbes 30 Under 30  in Healthcare.

Why Be a Good Ancestor?

Why Be a Good Ancestor?

A Long Now Boston Community Conversation with Roman Krznaric, one of Britain’s leading public intellectuals.

Monday, Dec 7, 02020, 6:30 p.m. EST

This is a virtual event using Zoom. Login is open at 6:15 p.m. – come early and chat with other Long Now thinkers. Tickets are available on Eventbrite. Presentation starts at 6:30 p.m.

Consider this: There’s a general consensus that the world is in a moment of crisis. The increasingly interrelated and complex global challenges we face demand a holistic response. But we continually address our challenges in a short-term and knee-jerk fashion. Wouldn’t it be great if systems were in place or there were leadership incentives to leverage our resources and effect change on a grand scale?  

This short-term behavior is not limited to monumental issues like global warming, pandemics, or income inequality. They play out every day in our personal lives, businesses, and local civic institutions. We may be focused on next quarter’s results, planning for retirement, or an aspirational 20-year regional transportation plan. What would it take to think and act really long-term? To consider how our actions today impact the lives of those who are to come generations from now? It seems like a smart strategy, but it’s not so easy to achieve.

  • Is there a way to break free of our short term addiction? 
  • What are the benefits of seizing a long-term view?  
  • And… should we care?  
  • What value is there in spending time and effort to think about or work for the long term?

World renowned author and thinker Roman Krznaric will be in conversation with Grant Stephen (President of Long Now Boston) and with our audience over Zoom to explore these issues and to make the case for being a Good Ancestor.

Join the conversation and be part of the solution.
$5 in advance. Students w/ID admitted free.
Audience participation is encouraged.

Login begins at 6:15 p.m.; the conversation begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 – students with ID are admitted for free. Get tickets at Eventbrite

About the speaker:

Roman Krznaric is a public philosopher who writes about the power of ideas to change society. Roman studied at the universities of Oxford, London, and Essex, where he gained his PhD in political sociology. He is founder of the world’s first Empathy Museum and is currently a Research Fellow of the Long Now Foundation.

Roman has been named by The Observer as one of Britain’s leading popular philosophers. His writings have been widely influential amongst political and ecological campaigners, education reformers, social entrepreneurs, and designers. 

In addition to his latest book, The Good Ancestor: A Radical Prescription for Long-Term Thinking, his previous books include Empathy, The Wonderbox, and Carpe Diem Regained.  They have been published in more than 20 languages.

We’re proud and excited to welcome Roman to the Long Now Boston community.

Cambridge Innovation Center is an in-kind sponsor of this Long Now Boston conversation. We are very grateful for their support.



A Long Now Boston Community Conversation with
Artists Nicole L’Huillier and Nathan Miner

Monday, Oct 5, 02020, 7:30 p.m.

This is a virtual event using Zoom. Login is open at 7:00 p.m. – come early and chat with other Long Now thinkers. Tickets are available on Eventbrite. Presentation starts at 7:30 p.m.

Sometimes forgetting what you know is the best path forward. 

Long Now Boston is excited to welcome artists Nicole L’Huillier and Nathan Miner to our Conversation Series. This conversation will explore artistic research as a place of possibilities; an open-ended strategy of experimentation and failure that can lead to new modes of thinking and that reframes knowledge conventions. 

Knowledge can be a barrier to discovery, and as a species, humans are geared towards preemptive knowing without going deep. Art can undermine our habits of knowing and, as a form of resistance to our preconceived notions, it can erode presumptive knowledge to a core that is alive with multiplicities and alternative possibilities.

Our  speakers this month are artists whose transdisciplinary practices dynamically intersect with technology, science, and philosophy, and creatively challenge preconceptions as they expand the role of art in society.

The conversation will be moderated by Leonie Bradbury, Henry and Lois Foster Chair of Contemporary Art Theory and Practice, and Distinguished Curator-in-Residence at Emerson College.

Join the conversation and be part of the solution.
Audience participation is encouraged.

Login begins at 7:00 p.m.; the conversation begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 – students with ID are admitted for free. Get tickets at Eventbrite

About the speakers:

NICOLE L’HUILLIER is a transdisciplinary artist from Santiago, Chile, currently based in Boston, MA. Through installations, performances, sculptures, compositions, and multiple transductions, her work explores human and non-human performativity, rituals of membranal and resonant architectures, as well as vibration and sound as construction materials for spaces, identity, and agency. She works at the intersection of music, art, architecture, science, and technology to challenge perceptual conventions and to open the possibility of new imaginaries. L’Huillier is part of the MIT Media Lab Space Exploration Initiative, where she explores the experimental forms and implications of art, expression and culture in outer space. Nicole is currently a PhD candidate and research assistant at MIT Media Lab’s Opera of the Future group; she also holds a Master’s in Media Arts and Sciences (2017) from MIT Media Lab.

NATHAN MINER lives and works in Boston, MA. Over the past decade, Miner has exhibited in many galleries, alternative art spaces and universities, including recent installations at Steven Zevitas Gallery, and Rafius Fane Gallery (Boston, MA), Montserrat College of Art (Beverly, MA) and the Museum of Art at University of New Hampshire (Durham, NH). His exhibitions have been reviewed by the Boston Globe and his work has been featured in Artpulse and Artscope magazines. Miner’s work belongs to the Wellington collection, among many private collections. Miner has been an artist in residence with Mass MoCA (North Adams, MA) and the Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT). He is currently pursuing a master’s of science in game science and design from the College of Art Media and Design at Northeastern University

We’re proud and excited to welcome Nicole and Nathan to the Long Now Boston community.

Cambridge Innovation Center is an in-kind sponsor of this Long Now Boston conversation. We are very grateful for their support.

How to Drive Social Change in Changing Times

How to Drive Social Change in Changing Times

A Long Now Boston community conversation with Dr. Anton Howes, fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce

Monday, Sept 14, 02020, 6:00pm

This is a virtual event using Zoom. Please note: this event has an earlier start time compared to previous events since our guest speaker is located in the UK. Login is open at 5:30 p.m. – come early and chat with other Long Now thinkers. Tickets are available on Eventbrite.
Presentation starts at 6 p.m.

“Everyone is able to participate in creating a better future.”

The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), founded in 1754 in a London coffee house, has been dedicated to the betterment of British life and culture for over 250 years. Since the beginning, the Society has championed innovative practical solutions to social challenges of the day. 

Over its lifetime, the RSA has survived and thrived by constantly reinventing itself and finding new ways to promote civic, cultural, and economic progress. With only minimal infrastructure and no fixed mission, it has constantly supported the improvement of nearly anything and everything, through the long-term support of its worldwide volunteer member base. A handful of examples of the Society’s work include:

  • Holding the first world’s fair
  • Being a platform for Victorian utilitarian reform 
  • Purchasing and restoring an entire village
  • Encouraging the planting of more than 60 million trees
  • Seeking technological alternatives to child labor

Long Now was founded 25 years ago with the mission to foster long-term thinking. As a relative newcomer to the concept and practice of a long-lived organization, what can we learn from our RSA ancestors?

We are excited to welcome Dr. Anton Howes, who volunteers as historian in residence at the RSA. Dr. Howes will showcase the society’s history through the lens of social reform. The lessons learned during three centuries of service are strikingly relevant to many of the issues society faces today.

Among the questions Dr. Howes will address:

  • How does a member-driven organization contribute to a thriving and resilient future across the centuries?
  • What can a small, mission-driven, nonprofit institution do to influence positive social change? 
  • How can we encourage those around us to help with the building of a strong base for a thriving future?
  • Will our focus on long-term innovation shift in the midst, and in the wake, of a pandemic?

Join the conversation and be part of the solution.

Tickets are $5 – students with ID are admitted for free.

Audience participation is encouraged. The conversation will be held virtually using the Zoom platform. Login information and password will be provided upon registration through Eventbrite.

About the speaker:

Dr. Anton Howes is the head of innovation at the Entrepreneurs Network, where he translates his research into practical policy proposals. He also serves the historian in residence at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA). Dr. Howes was a postdoctoral researcher at Brown University and subsequently held the position of assistant professor in economic history at King’s College in London, where he received his Ph.D.

His recent book, Arts and Minds: How the Royal Society of Arts Changed a Nation, is a definitive history telling the story of Britain’s subscription-funded national improvement agency, the RSA. Dr. Howes is currently writing a book on the causes of the British Industrial Revolution, focusing on the hundreds of individual inventors and innovators who made it possible, and the institutions they created to keep it going.

Dr. Howes regularly shares his research on the history of innovation in his newsletter, Age of Invention. You can follow him on Twitter: @antonhowes.

Cambridge Innovation Center is an in-kind sponsor of this Long Now Boston conversation. We are very grateful for their support.


Long Now Boston has started a podcast series, created from our conversation series. We’ve started with the conversations from our 02019-02020 series. Now you can listen to Long Now Boston conversations wherever you are! See below, or search for “Long Now Boston” wherever you get your podcasts.

Recent Events with Podcasts

For a deep dive into our world of ideas, you can also watch all the videos from our recent conversations.

Long Now Boston City Nature Celebration 02020: Observing the Urban Environment

April was Global Citizen Science month. To celebrate, people around the world took part in various citizen projects, from observing the night sky to measuring rainfall. Long Now Boston joined in by participating in the City Nature Challenge. The City Nature Challenge was founded and is organized by the California Academy of Sciences and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. It is an international celebration of biodiversity observed and documented in and around urban areas. 

Continue reading “Long Now Boston City Nature Celebration 02020: Observing the Urban Environment”

City Nature Celebration 02020

City Nature Celebration 02020: Observing the Urban Environment

April is Global Citizen Science
month. People around the world are participating in various citizen projects,
from making sourdough bread to observing the night sky. Please join Long Now
Boston in celebrating citizen science, from home, by taking part in the City
Nature Celebration 2020 for the Greater Boston

Continue reading “City Nature Celebration 02020”

City Nature Celebration 02020 Frequently Asked Questions

City Nature Celebration 02020: Frequently Asked Questions

Tell me more about City Nature Celebration!

This is a global
citizen science event, formerly called ‘City Nature Challenge’,
that involves the observation and documentation of biological organisms in the
city, stressing the importance of biodiversity in urban environments. In
light of the Covid-19 pandemic, City Nature Challenge
chose to be called ‘City Nature Celebration’ and focus on using nature
for relief from a difficult time. CNC encourages  people to go
outside and make observations of the wildlife they see in their backyards
and neighborhoods, while practicing safe social
distancing. Participants upload their observations, as photographic
documentation, during the specified time frame (April 24-27) and all
observations, if identifiable, are included for the region in which they were
taken. Our region is the Greater Boston Area. You learn even more at their

Can I participate and still practice social

Participating from home in a citizen science project is a welcome respite from
the isolation we may be feeling as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Keeping
track of things, specifically things in nature, may help mitigate any negative
feelings. We can join together as a
community to document biodiversity, even as we stay apart.

CNC offers the following statement: “In Boston, we encourage
documentation of nature in our homes, backyards, and neighborhoods,
individually and with our families; and participation online by helping to
identify or annotate observations. Together we’ll be making and sharing
observations as a global community, celebrating the healing power of nature,
documenting our local nature as best we can. Together, we will work with people
in cities around the world to celebrate the biodiversity around us – wherever
we might be! The CNC is something in which everyone can still participate, even
while following all federal & local regulations to keep our communities
safe. You can read more CNC Covid-19 FAQs at”

What is iNaturalist?

iNaturalist is a
joint initiative by the California Academy of Sciences and the National
Geographic Society. This social network community consists over 400,000
scientists and naturalists who can help us learn more about the natural world.
This is done through photo documentation and subsequent identification of all
types of living, wild species. Built on the concept of mapping, sharing
observations, and sharing data of biodiversity around the world, it is one of
the most popular nature apps. By recording and sharing your observations, you
will create research quality data for scientists working to better understand
and protect nature. You can learn more at

Download the iNaturalist app from the App Store or
Google Play onto your smartphone. You can also use the online version on your

What is citizen science?

Citizen science
is a working effort between scientists and people in a community who are
curious and motivated to contribute to a specific scientific endeavor. This
public involvement is typically to aid in data collection, but can also be
analysis or reporting. Citizen science projects involve one or more people who
have shared interests and work toward a common goal.

Do I need a specific level of education to be a
citizen scientist?

The short answer
is ‘No!’ The great thing about citizen science is that, with the proper
training, anyone can participate. Everyone who contributes to a project follows
the same procedure. Results gathered through this type of “crowd-sourcing”
helps researchers draw conclusions and share the data so that an even broader
community has access. These large collaborations allow advancements toward
discovery that individual research groups may not be able to achieve on their

How can I get more involved in citizen
science throughout the year?

There are lots of
organizations that provide opportunities to do citizen science, including those
that can be done remotely. A great place to start is to visit SciStarter ( They offer a variety of projects and
you are sure to find one that suits your interests. If you are looking for
something local and inclined toward participating in biodiversity studies, a
good resource is Earthwise Aware (EwA). Learn about their activities at

Snow Cancellation Policy

Snow Cancellation Policy

  • Long Now Boston events follow MIT’s snow cancellation policy. Their snow cancellations are listed at, and MIT keeps a “SNOW line” at 617-253-7669.
  • We may also need to cancel if the presenter can’t make it to the venue.
  • We strive to announce event cancellations by 3 hours before the event.
  • In the event of sudden storms we will announce cancellations as soon as possible.
  • In the event of a cancellation, all paid tickets will be refunded.
  • Cancellations will be shown on the Long Now Boston website in a banner on the home page, and an email will be sent to all attendees via Meetup and Eventbrite as well as social media channels.