Science, humanities intersect in upcoming speaker series

Contact: Mark Schwerin

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The connections between science and the humanities will be examined when the University Center for the Humanities stages its 2016-17 Science and the Human Endeavor Speaker Series.

Science and the humanities are often treated as separate and distinct disciplines, yet each informs the other and the two are powerfully connected. In the series, the center will explore the connections between science and the humanities through the work of scientists, engineers, artists and humanists who strive to better understand a shared natural world and improve the human experience.

The series begins at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, in 2452 Knauss Hall with a presentation by Dr. Ron Numbers, the Hilldale Professor Emeritus of the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he has taught for nearly four decades. Numbers has written or edited more than two dozen books, most recently "Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion," "Biology and Ideology from Descartes to Dawkins," "Science and Religion Around the World," "Wrestling with Nature: From Omens to Science," and "Newton's Apple and Other Myths about Science." "Galileo" has been translated into Korean, Polish, Spanish and Portuguese, with forthcoming editions in Chinese and Greek. He continues to edit, with David Lindberg, the eight-volume "Cambridge History of Science," which they began in 2003, five volumes of which have appeared and a sixth is in press.

Numbers' WMU presentation is titled "Some Things We've Learned about Science through Its History." His and all other humanities center presentations are free and open to the public.

Ron Numbers

Numbers' areas of expertise include antievolutionism in America: from scientific creationism to intelligent design, creationism goes global, and myths in the history of science and religion. He is past president of the History of Science Society, the American Society of Church History and the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and received a Sarton Medal for lifetime achievement from the History of Science Society.

Numbers earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics from Southern Missionary College, a master's degree in history from Florida State University, and doctoral degree in the history of science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Upcoming talks

Numbers' talk is one of five lectures planned in the "Science and the Human Endeavor" series. Other upcoming series presentation dates, speakers, times, locations and titles of their talks include:

  • Oct. 6: Sylvia Earle, oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer and Explorer in Residence of the National Geographic Society, 7 p.m., Chenery Auditorium, "Exploring the Deep Frontier."
  • Jan. 19: Clair Light, San Francisco Bay-area writer and cultural worker in nonprofit administration, particularly in the arts in the Asian American community, 7 p.m., Lee Honors College Lounge, "Diversity in Science Fiction."
  • March 23: Mae Jemison, the first woman of color to go into space, who served six years as a NASA astronaut, 7 p.m., Miller Auditorium, Kalamazoo Community Foundation's 2017 Community Meeting, "Exploring the Frontiers of Science and Human Potential."
  • March 30: Victoria Finlay, author of three popular non-fiction books, 7 p.m., 1910 Sangren Hall, "How to Travel through the World's Paintbox."

About the series

The annual Center for the Humanities speaker series is designed to nurture a conversation among scientists, humanists, social scientists, artists, politicians and citizens from all perspectives who live together in a changing world. For the 2016-17 series, the center has partnered with the WMU Lee Honors College.

For more information, contact the Center for the Humanities at or (269) 387-1811.

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