Past Event

Two Cultures Reading Group - CP Snow and the Atomic Bomb

April 13, 2017
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
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Fayerweather Hall (Room 513), Columbia University, 1180 Amsterdam Avenue, New York
C. P. Snow novel on beige background (entitled "Strangers and Brothers")

As many of you already know, we are fortunate to have Fabian Krämer of LMU Munich as a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Science and Society this semester. During his time here, Fabian is developing a new project on the origins of the “two cultures” of arts and sciences, researching how the sciences and the humanities grew apart at institutions of higher learning in the U.S. and Germany in the nineteenth century. We hope that you will join us for a reading group hosted by Fabian to discuss the fiction of C.P. Snow, the British chemist and novelist who popularized the “two cultures” concept:

Have you ever wondered what the inventor of the phrase “two cultures”, Charles Percey Snow, was really up to? Today, C.P. Snow is mostly remembered, if at all, for his 1959 Rede lecture “The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution” and the intense debate that ensued about the rightful status of “scientific culture” as opposed to “traditional” or “literary culture” in Cold War Britain. Back in the fifties, however, Snow was also considered an important novelist. His novels, too, shed some light on the status of the sciences in Britain in the mid-twentieth century – and on Snow’s views of what their status should have been, and why.

The inaugural meeting of our reading group will take place on April 13 at 5 pm in 513 Fayerweather. We will be discussing “The New Men” (1954), a novel that centers around the British atomic bomb project in the 1940s. Together with “The Masters” it was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize in 1954 but fell out of fashion only a few years later.

Please RSVP online to receive the reading.

This event is sponsored by the Center for Science and Society at Columbia University.