One Month Until "Two Cultures" Conference

By Chris Mooney | April 9, 2009 12:13 pm

It’s April 9 today–the big extravaganza in New York is exactly a month away, May 9. It’s gonna feature E.O. Wilson, Ken Miller, Lawrence Krauss, Dean Kamen, and many, many others. It’s also going to feature both of your bloggers, fellow disco blogger Carl Zimmer, many other members of our ScienceDebate2008 crew, my Princeton history of science prof D. Graham Burnett, and many, many more.

We’ll have C.P. Snow experts, scientific experts, and science and society experts. We’re going to take a look at the “two cultures” through the lens of history first, and then we’re going to analyze the continuing gap between science and society as manifested through the media, politics, and education. And we’re going to propose solutions–indeed, how fitting that Sheril just today has posted an amazingly exhaustive list of policy fellowships for scientists and engineers, which are precisely the sorts of programs that we need to see thrive if we’re going to bridge the gulf between science and the rest of society.

Meanwhile, I’m mooting a kind of blog countdown to the conference here at the “Intersection,” and trying to think about how it should go. My attempt to blog about some of the other scientific classics I’ve been reading earlier this year didn’t necessarily succeed, but perhaps we should all read “The Two Cultures” lecture together over the next month? How many people would be interested in doing that? It’s not very long, it’s easy reading–no math or anything, heh–and this is the best edition.

Leave a comment if you think this is worth doing, and then we’ll decide whether there’s a critical mass. And meanwhile, if you want an early-bird conference rate, tomorrow is the deadline to register.

Comments (10)

  1. Jon Winsor

    Already read it. I didn’t know Lionel Trilling weighed in.

    I still think Isaiah Berlin’s treatment of the issue was the best I’ve read, IMHO. (“On the Divorce Between the Sciences and the Humanities.”)

  2. Erasmussimo

    You mentioned in an old post that you were reading De Revolutionibus. Now, be honest — how far did you get through those intricate geometric proofs? I got about a quarter of the way in before I threw up my hands. And his pre-trigonometry trig — were you able to follow that? I think I got most of it, but I’m still woozy on some of his uses of it. One thing about De Revolutionibus — it certainly sets to rest any notions that science before 1600 was simple-minded!

  3. De Revolutionibus….long story, let’s put it that way. I’ll have more about this, in due course…..

  4. Soto

    I think this is worth doing. I just ordered the book, so I am in.

  5. Hey, count me in for the Two Cultures reading. Also, I was reading about De Revolutionibus…yesterday in Richard Westfall’s magisterial biography of Newton and wonder if you have read it.

  6. David Bruggeman
  7. hmm, is this a critical mass? thinking about it….

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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by Salon.com and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.

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