Neal Stephenson is a best-selling author, futurist and visionary. Known for his works of speculative fiction, Stephenson has written on topics ranging from science fiction to technology to mathematics to philosophy over the last five decades.
Stephenson grew up among scientists and engineers in Midwestern college towns. After studying physics and geography at Boston University, he penned his first novel The Big U, a campus satire, published in 1984. Four years later, he published Zodiac, a thriller about an environmentalist's fight against corporate pollution. In another four years, Stephenson would achieve his breakout moment with Snow Crash, a cyberpunk novel most known for creating and coining the term “metaverse.” Now a critically acclaimed New York Times million-selling novel, Snow Crash a is a must-read for many of the greatest minds in business and technology today. His subsequent novel The Diamond Age went on to explore the possibilities of distributed payment systems in a worldwide media network, and won the Hugo and Locus Awards in 1996.
In 1999, Stephenson went on to publish Cryptonomicon, a novel exploring everything from codebreaking and cryptography during the Second World War to what a modern “data haven” or unregulated data server might look like in the future. Cryptonomicon went on to win the Prometheus Hall of Fame Award and is frequently credited with inspiring a generation of cryptocurrency pioneers. Outside of writing, in the early 2000s, Neal became Employee #1 at Jeff Bezos’ space flight company Blue Origin, where he spent nearly seven years. While at Blue, he worked with a small team of physicists and engineers to evaluate alternate approaches to space travel and propulsion systems.
Between 2003 and 2013, he went on to publish several additional novels as well as various shorter nonfiction pieces. His 2015 novel Seveneves appeared on the summer reading lists of Bill Gates and Barack Obama. In 2014, Stephenson was hired as Chief Futurist by Magic Leap, the world’s leading spatial computing company. There he ran a content R & D squad that developed new augmented reality experiences. In June 2021, Stephenson and several colleagues released New Found Land: The Long Haul, an Audible audio drama based on the world they developed at Magic Leap. After departing from Magic Leap in 2020, he received an Epic MegaGrant to fund a virtual production project based on ideas from The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., a 2017 novel he co-wrote with Nicole Galland.
Thirty years after Snow Crash was first published, Neal partnered with crypto pioneer Peter Vessenes to finally bring his idea of the Metaverse to life. In June of 2022, he launched LAMINA1 , a Layer-1 blockchain purpose-built for the Open Metaverse, where he now serves as Co-Founder and Chairman.
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