My purpose in these remarks is to speculate on the role of energy in the “Asymptotic State of Humanity”—that is, the state toward which we are moving, inexorably, because man's urge to multiply is limitless whereas his resources are finite. In my talk I draw very heavily from many authors, in particular, Palmer Putnam, Hans Thirring and, above all, Harrison Brown, who has given much ingenious thought to the matters which I discuss. I choose to dwell on energy; first, because as physicists our basic subject of study is energy; and, second, because the character of the asymptotic state of mankind—whether it will be a bare existence or a passably abundant life—will depend centrally on our capturing an inexhaustible energy supply, either by learning how to burn the seas (fusion) or to burn the rocks (fission) or to trap the sun's energy in a practical way.
Alvin M. Weinberg; Energy as an ultimate raw material. Physics Today 1 November 1959; 12 (11): 18–25. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.3060564
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