Beyond Two Cultures: The Sciences as Liberal Arts

The Fifth Annual Conversation on the Liberal Arts

February 18-19, 2005




Conversation Speakers and Panelist


S. James Gates, Jr. is John S. Toll Professor and Director of Center for String & Particle Theory at the University of Maryland at College Park , a leading figure in the development of supersymmetry and string theory and articulate spokesperson for the importance of science education for our society. His research, in the areas of the mathematical and theoretical physics of supersymmetric particles, fields and strings, covers topics such as the physics of quarks, leptons, gravity, super and heterotic strings and unified field theories of the type first envisioned by Einstein. Dr. Gates travels widely speaking at national and international scientific meetings.






Jon Christensen was a Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose State University and the science writer on the Sea of Cortez Expedition and Education Project, which last year retraced the voyage taken by John Steinbeck and marine biologist Edward Rickets exploring life in the tide pools along the coast of Baja California in 1940. Mr. Christensen is working on a book about the voyage for Shearwater Books/Island Press. As a freelance writer and reporter, he writes regularly for The New York Times, High Country News, and Conservation in Practice, and he has contributed to Nature, Outside, Mother Jones, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Sacramento Bee, the Nevada Appeal and the Las Vegas Review-Journal, among other publications. He is currently a research fellow in the Center for Environmental Science and Policy and the History Department at   Stanford University .



Dame Gillian Beer, is King Edward VII Emerita Professor of English Literature and President of Clare Hall at Cambridge . She has a particular interest in the interactions of literature and scientific writing. Her study Darwin's Plots (1983; second edition 2000) continues to affect people working in very diverse fields; she is now completing a study to be called Experimental Islands. She also wrote Open Fields: Science in Cultural Encounter (1996). She has been Visiting Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and travels widely to lecture on both literary topics and the history of science. She is General Editor of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth Century Literature and Culture and is on a number of journal advisory boards.





Hessel Bouma III is Professor of Biology, Calvin College, with interests in molecular biology, human genetics, medical ethics, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. He has created an innovative course in human biology for non-majors with an emphasis on moral issues in human biology. He is a popular speaker on issues in medical ethics and has testified before the state legislature and Congress.










Thomas Fikes is associate professor of Psychology at Westmont College. Dr. Fikes earned his Ph.D. in 1993 at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He specializes in cognitive neuroscience and in perception and action systems. Dr. Fikes plays a central role in the neuroscience major that is jointly run with the biology department.










Singer Susan Singer is professor of Biology at Carleton College. Dr. Singer was instrumental in developing an integrated first term experience that brings first year students together to explore a themetic question across disciplinary boundaries. The fall 2004 Triad students explored "Origins and Minds" in introductory courses in biology, philosophy, and psychology. Dr. Singer is a plant developmental biologist, whose specific interests include the evolution of floral developmental pathways. She teaches Plant Biology, Plant Development, Developmental Genetics, and part of Introductory Biology.