“Jesus,” Molly said, her own plate empty, “gimme that. You know what this costs?” She took his plate. “They gotta raise a whole animal for years and then they kill it. This isn’t vat stuff.” She forked a mouthful up and chewed.” – William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)

On Monday, August 5th, 2013, at a television studio in London in front of around 100 people, Dr. Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands unveiled the culmination of five years of research: a lab-grown “test tube” beef burger, cooked in a pan and served to two members of the public. Though a handful of tiny pieces of such meat had previously been displayed, the burger in that pan was the first fully cooked specimen tasted and admired by everyday citizens. “A few cells that we take from a cow,” Post says, can be turned into “10 tons of meat.” What Hanni Rützler, an Austrian researcher, and Josh Schonwald, a Chicago-based food writer — the “tasters” — were eating was 100 percent perfect beef. It had never been slaughtered, had never been properly “alive,” and most importantly, had never been a living, breathing animal. The meat, which contained no fat, was pronounced to have “quite a bit of flavor” by Rützler, and the consistency was said to be “perfect.” “Some people think this is science fiction,” Sergey Brin, founder of Google and the single donor who provided funding (nearly $1 million thus far) for Post’s research, said, but he sees it as an achievable goal.