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C.P. Snow and the Two Cultures, 60 Years Later

  • Walter E. Massey (a1)
Abstract

This article considers the modern-day relevance of C.P. Snow’s ‘The Two Cultures’ while the author, Walter Massey, reflects upon his own personal journey through these two worlds, from his early life as a student of physics, to his current role as Chancellor of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The divisions between the sciences and the arts have been improved over time, thanks to the evolution of both disciplines, the rise of interdisciplinary scholarship, and a more collaborative mindset among scholars of both worlds. Certain shared challenges remain, such as the decline in the perceived value of intellectualism and scholarship among certain segments of society. The keys to overcoming these new two cultures are open communication and transparency.

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References
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1. Snow, C.P. (1961) The two cultures and the scientific revolution The Rede Lecture 1959 (New York: Cambridge University Press).
2. James, F.A.J.L. (2016) Introduction: Some significances of the two cultures debate. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 41(2/3), pp. 107117.
3. I may be mistaken as to whether the gift was the Great Books, but it was something similar.
4. When I say ‘humanists’, I am referring to scholars of the humanities, rather than adherents to ‘humanism’.
5. For more information, see the National Science Foundation’s page on interdisciplinary research: https://www.nsf.gov/od/oia/additional_resources/interdisciplinary_research/
6. National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Digital Humanities (2017) Announcing New 2017 ODH Grant Awards. https://www.neh.gov/divisions/odh/grant-news/announcing-new-2017-odh-grant-awards/
7. University of Chicago Arts (2017) Arts, Science + Culture Initiative. https://arts.uchicago.edu/arts-science-culture-initiative/
8. Stanford University Neurosciences Institute (2017) Art of Neuroscience. https://neuroscience.stanford.edu/research/programs/art-neuroscience/
9. School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2016) Data Viz Collaborative. http://www.saic.edu/academics/areasofstudy/artandscience/datavizcollaborative/
10. Summer, A. (2016) Astrophysicist Mario Livio on the intersection of art and science. Smithsonian Magazine, http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/astrophysicist-mario-livio-intersection-art-and-science-180960334/#pB1pWd3QZQuICgtm.99/
11. Facio, I. and Diemer, B. (2017) The fabric of the universe. http://www.fabricoftheuniverse.org/
12. School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2018) Conversations on art and science event series. http://www.saic.edu/academics/areasofstudy/artandscience/conversationsonartandscienceseries/
13. Smith, Anna Deavere, comments at private conference, September 2017.
14. For more background on the Science Wars, see G. Henriques (2012) Revisiting the science wars. Psychology Today, 1 June, 2012, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/theory-knowledge/201206/revisiting-the-science-wars/
15. Sokal, A.D. (1996) Transgressing the boundaries: Towards a transformative hermeneutics of quantum gravity. Social Text, 46/47, pp. 217252.
16. Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2013) The Heart of the Matter (Cambridge, MA: American Academy of Arts & Sciences)). https://www.amacad.org/content/publications/publication.aspx?d=21724/
17. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2017) Communicating Science Effectively: A Research Agenda (Washington, DC: The National Academies Press). https://www.nap.edu/catalog/23674/communicating-science-effectively-a-research-agenda/
18. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2016) New report recommends research agenda for effective science communication. Press Release, issued 13 December 2016. http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=23674/
19. Selby, C.C. (2006) The missing person in science. Update, New York Academy of Sciences Magazine, May/June, pp. 1013. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/256374377_The_Missing_Person_in_Science_-_Inquiry_Starts_with_I/
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European Review
  • ISSN: 1062-7987
  • EISSN: 1474-0575
  • URL: /core/journals/european-review
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