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Do Scientists Dream of Electric Sheep?

Robert Boyle, a 17th century British scientist, once wished 24 things for the future of science, according to the New Scientist's CultureLab blog. Last week, the Royal Society revealed his wish list, which included things like "the inventions of GPS navigation, flight, organ transplants, commercial agriculture, and hair dye, among other things," says the blog's Jessica Griggs. "Robert Boyle was many things: the father of modern chemistry, a founding member of the Royal Society, an inventor … Now we can add 'clairvoyant' to that colorful list." In honor of Boyle's clairvoyance, Griggs asked other prominent researchers to come up with their own lists — she asked them what they expect over the next 400 years in science. Steve Jones, a biologist at the University College London and the only geneticist on Griggs' list, wished for an understanding of the science of human emotion that could put an end to war; the triumph of science over religion; "a healthy old age followed by an instant death"; an end to humans' need for grief; the ability to grow fingers; and, specifically, "an insight into why snails vary so much genetically from place to place." Other hopes, Griggs writes, include SETI astronomer Seth Shostak's wish for "a population ten times that of Earth now living in orbiting space colonies within 200 years," and neuroscientist David Eagleman's wish to "download consciousness into a computer to live forever."

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.