February 8, 2013

Gerald Holton - Science. Cause or Cure of Catastrophe or Crise

Gerald Holton pictured on the right.

"Perhaps the reason why the anthropomorphic element is at the moment such an interest to me, it's precisely because science so often gets defined as though it weren't being done by scientists, and if computers are going to do it all themselves, which even rarer is an error, often, because somebody has certainly programmed them, or at least built them or built the first generation that then kept on building other generations by itself and has in it still those human touches, those legs of lions that carry the heavy piano because at one time it was thought to be unsafe to make them non [anamythic?] and just a [tube?]. Those great heads of people that were fastened to the tops of locomotives in the early days for the [echtorp?] because if so much has to be exhausted it has to be done by a mouth of some sort. Well, we still do this in our theories. That's what makes science and scientists indistinguishable to me."

- Gerald Holton on working with other scientists.

Our Jagdish Mehra Audio Collection is composed of a series of lectures, speeches, discussions, and interviews with various distinguished scientists including Paul Dirac, Werner Heisenberg, Julian Schwinger, and and Gerald Holton.

Gerald Holton was born in Berlin, Germany in 1922. He studied electrical engineering at the School of Technology at Oxford (now Oxford Brooks University) and received his BA from Wesleyan in 1941 and his first MA in 1942. He then continued at Harvard University, where he earned a second MA (1946) and PhD (1948) in Physics. He joined the Harvard faculty in 1945, where he was named the Mallinckrodt Research Professor of Physics and Research Professor of the History of Science.

Holton's field of research is the properties of matter under high pressures. He is also one of the foremost authorities on the life and works of Albert Einstein. He has been author or editor of many books, and was editor-in-chief of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Founding Editor of the journal Daedalus. His interest in teaching led him to start the Harvard Project Physics, where he was co-director. Professor Holton is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, U. S. National Commission for UNESCO, Académie Internationale d'Histoire des Sciences, and Life Honorary Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences.

In the humanities lecture series of Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute, Professor Holton discusses “Science, Cause or Cure of Catastrophe or Crisis" and answers questions on science, religion, and the gap between science and the humanities. Check out more fascinating lectures from our Jagdish Mehra Audio Collection here at the UH Digital Library!

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