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February 13, 2012

Science at Loggerheads: Evolution and Entropy and the Big Freeze

Second Floor Common Room, Heyman Center for the Humanities (Map/Directions)

Martin Meisel
Brander Matthews Professor of Dramatic Literature Emeritus
Columbia University

Description

The Charles Darwin-inspired debate over the Age of the Earth pitted contemporary physics against the theory and practice of contemporary geology; and it was tied to recent unsettling projections on the thermodynamic fate of the universe. The leading voices in the debate were William Thomson, later Lord Kelvin, and Thomas Henry Huxley, Darwin’s most able champion. The argument - resolved only in the next century - has exemplary value as an intractable dissonance between two vigorous and well-established, but not entirely secure scientific disciplines. And its content laid some of the groundwork for the pessimism that qualified the cult of progress and the whiggish habits of cultural and material complacency towards the end of the century.

This event is free and open to the public.
No tickets or registration necessary.
Seating is on a first come first served basis.

Event Co-Sponsor(s)

Department of English and Comparative Literature
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/english/