Britannica Taps Top Minds for Knowledge Panel

Nobelists, university chiefs, scholars will probe future of knowledge and


Jul 21, 2005, 01:00 ET from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.

    CHICAGO, July 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Fifteen of the world's leading scholars
 and intellectuals have joined Encyclopaedia Britannica to help chart the
 course for the encyclopedia of the future.
     The company's new Editorial Board of Advisors, which includes Nobel
 laureates, university presidents and several of the world's most eminent
 artists and researchers, will help steer Britannica's editorial operations
 while grappling with the implications of digital technologies, globalization
 and the information explosion.
     While the group's principal focus will be on Britannica's digital and
 print encyclopedias, it will also ponder the role of the encyclopedia and
 knowledge generally in today's world and contribute to the broader public
 discussion of these issues.
     "The volume of information is exploding, the world is shrinking and
 digital media are changing the way we read, think and learn," said Dale
 Hoiberg, editor of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.  "We've brought together some
 of the best people from different fields to help us serve the knowledge
 seekers of the 21st century."
     At a time when vast quantities of questionable information are available
 on the Internet and elsewhere, rigorous and reliable reference works are more
 important than ever, said Hoiberg.  One motive behind the board's creation was
 to maintain the high standards of the Britannica while making sure it remains
 relevant to the way people use information today.
     The members of the board are:
     Rosalia Arteaga - Secretary-General, Amazon Cooperation Treaty
 Organization; former president and vice president, Republic of Ecuador.
     David Baltimore - president, California Institute of Technology and 1975
 Nobel laureate in medicine.
     Wendy Doniger - Mircea Eliade distinguished service professor of the
 history of religions and director of the Martin Marty Center, University of
     Benjamin M. Friedman - William Joseph Maier professor of political
 economy, Harvard University.
     Leslie Gelb - president emeritus, Council on Foreign Relations; former
 writer and editor, New York Times; Pulitzer Prize winner.
     Murray Gell-Mann - Robert Andrews Millikan professor of theoretical
 physics emeritus, California Institute of Technology; 1969 Nobel laureate in
     Vartan Gregorian - president, Carnegie Corporation of New York; former
 president, Brown University; former president, New York Public Library.
     Zaha Hadid - principal, Zaha Hadid Architects; 2004 laureate, Pritzker
 Architecture Prize.
     James M. McPherson - George Henry Davis '86 professor of American history,
 Princeton University; Pulitzer Prize winner.
     Thomas Nagel - professor of philosophy and law and university professor,
 New York University School of Law.
     Donald A. Norman - Nielsen Norman Group; professor, Northwestern
 University; professor emeritus, University of California, San Diego.
     Don M. Randel - president, University of Chicago.
     Amartya Sen - Lamont University professor, Harvard University; 1998 Nobel
 laureate in economics.
     Wole Soyinka - playwright, poet, novelist, critic; 1986 Nobel laureate in
     Lord Sutherland of Houndwood - president, Royal Society of Edinburgh;
 member, House of Lords.
     The new board is the latest chapter in Britannica's history of working
 with eminent scholars.  The encyclopedia's contributors have included Albert
 Einstein, Sigmund Freud, Marie Curie, Bertrand Russell and more than a hundred
 Nobel laureates.  The company's first editorial board was formed in the 1940s,
 under Robert Maynard Hutchins, then chancellor of the University of Chicago.
 It was later chaired by the philosopher Mortimer J. Adler, and its members
 included writer Clifton Fadiman and historian Daniel J. Boorstin.
     "We have always sought the company of the smartest people in the world,"
 said Hoiberg, "and once you get used to that it's a hard habit to break."
     The board, which held its first meeting in Chicago last month, will meet
 twice a year and conduct other activities in between.  More information is
 available at: .
     Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. has been a leader in reference and
 education publishing since 1768. The company is known for the 32-volume
 Encyclopaedia Britannica, the 26-volume Compton's by Britannica and its
 pioneering work in electronic publishing. Its many digital products include
 Britannica Online School Edition. Recently published printed products include
 My First Britannica and the Britannica World Atlas. Britannica makes its
 headquarters in Chicago. More information is at .

SOURCE Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc.