Wednesday, May 27, 2009

[Yasmin_discussions] another text re two cultures debate

The real 'two cultures' divide
full text at:

David Dickson

21 May 2009 | EN | 中文

Snow's prediction that the gap between the rich and poor would
disappear by the year 2000 was widely off the mark

Flickr/Filipe Moreira

An influential lecture on the cultural significance of science remains
as relevant today as when it was delivered 50 years ago.

Fifty years ago this month C.P. Snow, an eminent British
chemist-turned-novelist, gave a lecture at the University of
Cambridge. He originally intended to emphasise how a lack of access to
science and technology was separating the rich from the poor.

But when he came to deliver it, the lecture's focus had shifted to the
tensions and misunderstandings between scientists and literary
intellectuals. This idea, summarised in Snow's subsequent book, The
Two Cultures, rapidly became both widely known and hotly debated
around the English-speaking world.

And it has remained so ever since. Even though the tensions Snow
identified may have softened since the 1950s — many contemporary
novelists, for example, write knowledgeably about scientific ideas —
they still surface in widespread distrust of scientific thinking.

Meanwhile, the idea that Snow himself considered to be more important
— namely science's role in bridging the gap between the rich and poor
— has been forgotten as the motivating theme behind his lecture.


David Dickson
Director, SciDev.Net
full text at
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