Unit 6 Assignment 1
(!) Snow discusses the clear separation between the two intellectual cultures—the Sciences and the Humanities. He analyzes that in the modern Western culture, there is a divide between the two, working against each other, rather than together. People in each culture scoff at the “ignorance” of the other culture. Intellectuals in the Humanities laugh at the scientists who have never read major works of English literature, who cannot quote Shakespeare. Snow states, “They give a pitying chuckle at the news of scientists who have never read a major work of English literature. They dismiss them as ignorant specialists. Yet their own ignorance and their own specialisation is just as startling.” (15). Snow argues the issues of both cultures, including, “A good many times I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is about the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare’s?” (15). Both cultures hold a sense of superiority towards the other. Literary intellectuals consider scientists ignorant because they do not read major works of classic literature and in the same way, scientists see people in the Humanities as not contributing to the scientific understanding of the world.
(?) The clashing point of two subjects, two disciplines, two cultures—of two galaxies, so far as that goes—ought to produce creative chances (16).
In my reading of this passage, I found myself wondering when this divide truly began between the two disciplines? When did we begin viewing one as less important than the other? And in that same vain, how can we come back to seeing both disciplines as contributing meaningfully to society in different ways?
Experiments I recognized:
- Gregor Mendel Cultivates Genetics
- Isaac Newton Eyes Optics
- Marie Curie’s Work Matters
- Ivan Pavlov Salivates at the Idea
- Robert Millikan Gets a Charge
- Young, Davisson, and Germer See Particles Do the Wave
Theories I recognized:
- Information Theory
- Game Theory
- Plate Tectonics
- Special Relativity
- General Relativity
- Quantum Theory
- Evolution by Natural Selection