We generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of information per day, or 250,000 pages for each of the 7.6 billion individuals on the planet -- every day. Much of it is junk. And following the 25th anniversary of the first World Wide Webpage, the junk distribution network is free. The tsunami of misinformation abroad in the land threatens to drown both sensible individual decisions and the formation of rational public policy. Join ColumbiaDC while Professor Helfand explores the origin of the misinformation glut and illustrates the apps one must install in one's pre-frontal cortex to survive in the Misinformation Age.
David J. Helfand, a faculty member at Columbia University for forty years, served half of that time as Chair of the Department of Astronomy, a role in which he is again ensnared. He is the author of 200 scientific publications and has mentored 22 PhD students, but most of his pedagogical efforts have been aimed at teaching science to non-science majors. He instituted the first change in Columbia's Core Curriculum in 50 years by introducing Frontiers of Science, required of all first-year students. In 2005, he became involved with an effort to create Canada's first independent, non-profit, secular university, Quest University Canada. He served as a Visiting Tutor in the University's inaugural semester in the Fall of 2007 and then as President & Vice-Chancellor for seven years. He also recently completed a four-year term as President of the American Astronomical Society. His first book, "A Survival Guide to the Misinformation Age" appeared last year and will be the subject of this talk.