Guest Lecture to Revisit an Innovative Time in Physics Research
Week Also to Include Talk on Why an Ancient Chinese Philosopher's Book Remains Influential
March 5, 2014
Dr. Cyrus C.M. Mody
When federal research budgets declined and the aerospace industry saw severe cutbacks in the ’70s, physicists saw many changes in their field. The turbulent times forced a group of physicists in Southern California to think differently about their work – to experiment and become interdisciplinary.
Dr. Cyrus C.M. Mody, assistant professor of history at Rice University, will tell the story of these physicists in a guest lecture at 4 p.m. Wednesday. His talk is titled Bridging Disciplines in Times of Crisis: California Physicists in the Long 1970s.
Mody will cover the “radical departures, unconventional approaches and a willingness to risk failure” that the California scientists undertook in the lecture, to be held in the Jonsson Performance Hall.
Mody teaches the history of science, technology and engineering. His research focuses on the history of recent physical and engineering sciences, with emphasis on the creation of new communities and institutions of research in the late Cold War and the post-Cold War periods. His book, Instrumental Community: Probe Microscopy and the Path to Nanotechnology (2011, MIT Press) explores the co-evolution of an experimental technology and the community of researchers that built, bought, used, sold, theorized or borrowed the instruments they used for their research. Currently, he is working on a history of the communities and institutions of nanotechnology.
Dr. Haun Saussy
(Photo courtesy of Jason Smith)
Mody’s talk is sponsored by the School of Arts and Humanities; the Center for Values in Medicine, Science and Technology; the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science; the Alan G. MacDiarmid NanoTech Institute; and the Office of Research.
The second guest lecture this week comes from Dr. Haun Saussy, professor of comparative literature at the University of Chicago, former president of the American Comparative Literature Association, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In his talk, Translation and the Zhuangzi: Not Translating the Zhuangzi, But Translating Through the Zhuangzi, Saussy will discuss a Chinese philosophical work written by Zhuang Zhou in the 4th century. Saussy believes the text has been an important conduit for the translation of foreign cultural materials into Chinese for 1,600 years. He will describe this work’s unusual mediating function in the lecture, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Jonsson Performance Hall.
Jonsson Performance hall is accessible from Parking Lot B.
Consult the University’s map direction site for details.