This Saturday May 9th, The New York Academy of Sciences will host the conference The Two Cultures in the 21st Century. Co-sponsors include Science & the City, Science Communication Consortium, and ScienceDebate 2008.
The conference will pick up the debate initiated by C.P. Snow in 1959, that an inseparable gulf has opened between the sciences and the humanities and that we are the worse off because of that.
The main keynote speaker 50 years later is E.O Wilson, the evolutionary biologist and author of Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (otherwise known as unification on science and evolution’s terms). To add substance to the conference, we have former congressman John Porter and Segway inventor Dean Kamen.
I’ve actually heard EO Wilson speak, it’s well-worth it. And there are plenty of other presenters that day, including Kenneth Miller, author of Finding Darwin’s God; Science Friday’s Ira Flatow, and science journalist Carl Zimmer. You can see the full list of invited speakers – definitely heavy weights in science and communication, which might be a better name for the conference. How to get science across to the public is one of the main concerns of most of them.
You can still register; the conference is being held at the New York Academy of Sciences in downtown Manhattan.
For those of you actually interested in CP Snow, Peter Dizikies had an illumating essay Our Two Cultures on Snow’s ideas and how they have stood the test of time back in March. And by coincidence, Stanley Fish just wrote God Talk in today’s Think Again, where he asks if belief in science is more irrational than belief in God, or more broadly, questioning our reliance on “science, liberal rationalism and economic calculation” for guidance on what to do.