Friday, May 08, 2009

50th anniversary of C.P.Snow's "The Two Cultures"

John Brockman is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of C.P. Snow's Rede Lecture, "The Two Cultures".
"Today, May 7, 2009, marks the 50th Anniversary of the publication of C.P. Snow's Rede Lecture, "The Two Cultures". In a second edition of The Two Cultures, published in 1963, Snow added a new essay, "The Two Cultures: A Second Look," in which he optimistically suggested that a new culture, a "third culture," would emerge and close the communications gap between the literary intellectuals and the scientists. In Snow's third culture, the literary intellectuals would be on speaking terms with the scientists. This never happened. Although I borrowed Snow's phrase in my 1991 essay "The Third Culture", it does not describe the third culture he predicted.

The third culture consists of those scientists and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are. Increasingly, The Third Culture has moved into the mainstream and the questions it is asking are those that inform us about ourselves and the world around us.

I am pleased to honor the memory of C.P. Snow and his "Two Cultures" by presenting "The Third Culture" on Edge, from 1997 to today."

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