The Secrets Series

Secrets of Inferno
In the Footsteps of Dante and Dan Brown
Dan Burstein and Arne de Keijzer


Teodolinda Barolini is Da Ponte Professor of Italian at Columbia University. She is the author of Dante's Poets (Princeton, 1984; Italian trans. Bollati Boringhieri, 1993), The Undivine Comedy: Detheologizing Dante (Princeton, 1992; Italian trans. Feltrinelli, 2003), Dante and the Origins of Italian Literary Culture (Fordham, 2006; Italian trans. Bompiani, 2012), and the editor and commentator of Dante, Rime giovanili e della 'Vita Nuova' (Rizzoli, 2009). She is currently working on the second volume of her commentary to Dante's lyric poems. Barolini is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Medieval Academy of America. She served as the fifteenth President of the Dante Society of America (1997-2003).

Steven Botterill is Associate Professor of Italian Studies and Director of the interdisciplinary doctoral program in Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of two books and numerous articles on Dante, and a two-time elected member of the council of the Dante Society of America. His teaching covers the spectrum of Italian literature and culture from 1200 to 1500 CE, with occasional forays into the Romantic period and modern poetry. He is currently completing a book entitled Dante and the Language of Community and researching one on Dante's theological ethics.

Jamais Cascio writes about the intersection of emerging technologies, environmental dilemmas, and cultural transformation, specializing in the design and creation of plausible scenarios of the future. In 2010 he was named a Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for the Future, where he is a primary contributor to their annual Ten Year Forecast program. Cascio is also a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. In March, 2006, he started Open the Future, his online home. Cascio has also applied his scenario development skills in the entertainment industry, advising multiple television and film projects, and designing several well-received science fiction game settings. In early 2009, he published his first book, Hacking the Earth: Understanding the Consequences of Geoengineering.

Joel E. Cohen is the Abby Rockefeller Mauz - Professor of Populations and head of the Laboratory of Populations at the Rockefeller University and Columbia University. At Columbia, he holds appointments in the Earth Institute and the Departments of International and Public Affairs; Earth and Environmental Sciences; and Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Biology. Cohen was a MacArthur Fellow and elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in evolutionary and population biology and ecology and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in applied mathematical sciences. He studies the demography, ecology, epidemiology and social organization of human and nonhuman populations and mathematical concepts useful in these fields. His most recent book is International Perspectives on the Goals of Universal and Secondary Education (co-edited with Martin Malin).

William R. Cook, a native of Indianapolis, holds degrees from Wabash College (A.B., L.H.D.) and Cornell University (M.A., Ph.D.). He taught medieval history at SUNY Geneseo for 42 years, retiring in 2012. He was Visiting Professor of Religion and History at Wabash College 2008-2010 and 2013. He is the author of five books including The Medieval World View (Oxford University Press, 3rd ed. 2012) with Ronald Herzman. Cook has made nine audio/video courses for The Teaching Company including the bestselling The Cathedral and Dante's Divine Comedy (with Ronald Herzman). He has won many teaching awards including New York State Professor of the Year from The Council for the Advancement and Support of Education in 1992. He lives in Geneseo, NY and Siena, Italy.

Alison Cornish is Professor of Italian in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is the author of various articles on Dante and his culture in addition to two monographs: Reading Dante's Stars (Yale, 2000) and Vernacular Translation in Dante's Italy: Illiterate Literature (Cambridge, 2011). She is on the editorial board of Dante Studies, Italian Culture, and the Devers Series in Dante Studies. She teaches courses on Boccaccio, Petrarch, Ariosto, Machiavelli and Italian Through Opera, in addition to Dante's Divine Comedy.

Glenn W. Erickson is Professor of Philosophy at the Universidade Federal de Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil. He has written extensively in the areas of Comparative Literature and History of Thought and writes extensively on the interstices of philosophy, mathematics, and the arts. He is also a regular contributor to the Secrets series.

Paul R. Ehrlich has pursued long-term studies of the structure, dynamics, and genetics of natural butterfly populations. He has also been a pioneer in alerting the public to the problems of overpopulation, and in raising issues of population, resources, and the environment as matters of public policy. Ehrlich, the Bing Professor of Population Studies at Stanford University, is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, among others. and the American Philosophical Society. The winner of many prizes and awards in ecology and biological sciences, he is a widely published author. His most famous and controversial book is The Population Bomb (1968). Along with his wife Anne, he also wrote The Population Explosion (1990) and Healing the Planet (1991).

Laurie Garrett is Senior Fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations. In 1992-1993 she was a Fellow at Harvard University working closely with the emerging diseases group. During the 1990s Garrett continued tracking outbreaks and epidemics worldwide, noting the insufficient responses from global public health institutions in Zaire, India, Russia and most of the former USSR, Eastern Europe, and the United States. In 1994 she wrote her first bestselling book, The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance. In 2011 she published I Heard the Sirens Scream: How Americans Responded to the 9/11 and Anthrax Attacks. She joined the think tank staff of the Council of Foreign Relations in 2004 where she regularly writes reports and articles on the intersection between global heath and public policy.

Cheryl Lynn Helm is the executive assistant for an Episcopal convent in upper Manhattan. She is a graduate of the University of Delaware with a major in music theory and a minor in Medieval studies. In her spare time she sings with the Canby Singers and composes choral music. Her skills as a Dan Brown puzzle solver have earned her a Cryptex, a signed illustrated Da Vinci Code, and a signed first edition of The Lost Symbol.

Giuseppe Mazzotta is Sterling Professor in the Humanities for Italian at Yale University, where he has been teaching since 1983 and where he also serves as Chairman of the Italian Department. He has published a number of books on Dante, such as Dante Poet of the Desert (Princeton, 1979); and Dante's Vision and the Circle of Knowledge (Princeton 1993). He has authored two new books on Dante to be published in 2013, Reading Dante (Yale, 2013) and Confine quasi Orizzonte: Saggi su Dante (Rome, 2013). He has received honorary degrees in Humane Letters from the Catholic University of America (May 2012) and in Sacred Letters from the University Of Toronto (November 2012). He has also served as president of the Dante Society of America.

Julie O'Connor is the photo editor of this book and contributed significantly to the research process. She is an award-winning fine art photographer and photojounalist known for her "Doors of Tibet" series ( She is also author/photographer of the book Doors of Weston: 300 Years of Passageways in a Connecticut Town. Her photographs for Secrets of Inferno were taken in Florence in 2013.

David Orban is an entrepreneur and futurist, and is the CEO of Dotsub, the leading technology and services provider powering video viewing via captions and translations as subtitles in any language. Based in New York City, Dotsub aims to increase access, engagement and global reach. David is also a member of the Faculty of, and Advisor to the Singularity University, an interdisciplinary university whose mission is to assemble, educate and inspire leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies in order to address humanity's grand challenges.

David Shugarts, a key contributor to Secrets of Inferno, is an investigative reporter and core member of the Secrets team since the publication of Secrets of the Code in 2004 and in the books since. He has been a journalist for more than 40 years. His profile of Dan Brown and the predictions he made about the content of The Lost Symbol, detailed in his book Secrets of the Widow's Son (2005), proved remarkably prescient and won him national acclaim.

Gregory Stock is a biotech entrepreneur, bioethicist, best selling author and a leading authority on the broad impacts of genomic and other advanced technologies in the life sciences. He founded the Program on Medicine, Technology and Society at UCLA's School of Medicine in 1997, dedicated to exploring the critical technologies poised to impact humanity's future and reshape medical science. Dr. Stock serves on the California Advisory Committee on Stem Cells and Reproductive Cloning and is the Associate Director of the Center for Life Science Policy Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. He is currently the Chief Scientific Officer of Ecoes, a personal genomics company and serves on the on the boards of Signum Biosciences and Napo Pharmaceuticals. Gregory Stock's books include Redesigning Humans: Our Inevitable Genetic Future, Metaman: The Merging of Humans and Machine into a Global Superorganism and the best selling Book of Questions.

Natasha Vita-More describes herself as a researcher in "the aesthetics of human enhancement and radical life extension, and hybridity, with a focus on nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive and neurosciences." She has been called "the first female philosopher of transhumanism" and is well known for her "Transhumanist Manifesto" (written in 1983). She is chairman of the Board of Directors of Humanity+, past president of the Extropy Institute, the forerunner of Humanity+ (2000-2006), founder and director of Transhumanist Arts & Culture, and artistic director of the H+ laboratory. Her new book is, The Transhumanist Reader: Classical and Contemporary Essays on the Science, Technology, and Philosophy of the Human Future, co-edited with Max More (2013).