This course will consider the intertwining of literature, science, and technology. We shall investigate the literary representation of scientific activity and the variety of ways in which literary and scientific modes of thought have diverged or come together.
A Matter of Time (Identical to Math 5)
Everybody knows about time. Our everyday language bears witness to the centrality of time with scores of words and expressions that refer to it as a measure, a frame of reference, or an ordering factor for our lives, feelings, dreams, and histories. For the Aztecs time was a series of 52-year cycles. At the end of each cycle, the sun would set and for three days and nights the universe was up for grabs before the beginning of a new cycle. The Bible, on the other hand, inscribed another concept of time, linear and chronological in the seven days of creation and the detailed chroniclers of endless genealogies. Playing with time has been a favorite game in works of high culture – from the Greek sophists to cubism – and in popular culture – from H.G. Wells to Monty Python. And time is at the center of one of the most revolutionary scientific theories of all time: Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. In this course we will use mathematics, literature, and the arts to travel through history, to explore and understand Time as a key concept and reality in the development of Western culture and in our own twentieth century view of ourselves and of the world. (QDS)
Last Updated: 6/27/12