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William and Myrtle Harris Distinguished Lectureship in Science and Civilization

Harris-William-and-Myrtle-Crop.jpg Donors Myrtle and William Harris, BS '49, MS '50
The William and Myrtle Harris Distinguished Lectures in Science and Civilization started in 1996, thanks to the endowment established by William Harris, a BS'49 and MS'50 Caltech alumnus in Mechanical Engineering, and his wife, an alumna of Occidental College and Stanford. The Harris Lectures enable the history and philosophy of science program to bring to campus distinguished scientists, historians, philosophers, and other analysts of science to address concerns of mutual interest—especially their ethical implications—across the intellectual spectrum. Below is a list of all Harris Lecturers to date, including, when available, a link to the podcast or video of the lecture.

Click here to see upcoming events in this series.

Past Events

05/25/21Fighting the First Wave [Video]Peter BaldwinGlobal Distinguished Professor, NYU; Professor of History, UCLA
04/14/21Rich Rocks, the Climate Crisis, and the Tech Imperium [Video]Sophia KalantzakosVisiting Fellow in the Research Institute for the History of Science and Technology (2020-2021), Caltech; Global Distinguished Professor in Environmental Studies and Public Policy, New York University
11/12/20Ideal and Illusion: The Rise and Fall of Nikola Tesla [Video]W. Bernard CarlsonJoseph L. Vaughan Professor of Humanities; Chair, Engineering and Society Department; Professor of History, University of Virginia
02/27/20Lies and Truth in the History of Science [Video]Alberto A. MartínezAssociate Professor, Department of History, The University of Texas at Austin
05/20/19Leonardo da Vinci: History of the Earth and the Fate of ManPaolo Galluzzi Moore Distinguished Scholar, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Caltech; Historian of Science, Director of the Galileo Museum, Florence, Italy
12/07/18The Anatomy of Artificial IntelligenceKate CrawfordCo-Founder and Co-Director of the AI Now Institute at NYU
Distinguished Research Professor at New York University
Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research New York
05/17/18Science vs. Intuition: Why Scientific Ideas Elude the Human Mind [Video]
Andrew ShtulmanCognitive Science; Psychology, Occidental College
05/18/17Containment Film Screening, Intro and Q&A with film creators [Video]Peter GalisonJoseph Pellegrino University Professor, Harvard University
Robb MossChair, Department of Visual and Environmental Studies, Harvard University
04/13/16Empirical Research on Research and the Reproducibility Crisis [Video]John P.A. IoannidisC.F. Rehnborg Professor in Disease Prevention, Professor of Health Research and Policy, Stanford University
05/21/15Alan Turing: An Individual of the Twentieth Century [Video]Andrew HodgesSenior Research Fellow and Fellow and Tutor in Mathematics at Wadham College, University of Oxford
02/04/15The Knowledge Society as a Practical Utopia and its Hidden Impact on Higher Education [Video]Liviu MateiProvost and Pro-Rector; Professor in the Department of Public Policy, Central European University
04/30/14Cars and Civilization [Paper]Jesse H. AusubelRockefeller University
Nebojsa NakicenovicVienna University of Technology and International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
05/21/13Lost Languages: The Enigma of the World's Undeciphered ScriptsAndrew RobinsonAuthor
05/21/12Big Science, 19th Century Style: Terrestrial Physics and the British Quest for the South Magnetic PoleEdward J. LarsonUniversity Professor and Hugh & Hazel Darling Chair in Law, Pepperdine University
03/01/12Archaeologies of Performance: Ritual Movement through Greek Sacred SpaceJoan Breton ConnellyProfessor of Classics, Art History; Director, NYU; Yeronisos Island Excavations, Cyprus, New York University
03/08/11The Apples of our Eyes: Art, Intellectual Property and American FruitsDaniel J. KevlesStanley Woodward Professor of History, Yale University
11/12/10Walther Rathenau's Dilemma: Modernity and the Human SoulShulamit VolkovProfessor of Modern History, Tel Aviv University
02/26/10Manufacturing MemoriesElizabeth LoftusDistinguished Professor of Social Ecology, Professor of Law and Cognitive Science, UC Irvine
12/04/09Did Darwin Write the Origin of Species Backwards?Elliott SoberHans Reichenbach Professor and William Vilas Research Professor, Department of Philosophy University of Wisconsin, Madison
05/18/09The Religious Rise of CivilizationsScott AtranDirector, National Center for Scientific Research, Paris
03/06/09From Professor to Crusader: Galileo Transformed by His TelescopeJohn S. HeilbronProfessor Emeritus of History and Vice-Chancellor Emeritus at UC Berkeley
05/05/08Commemorating Darwin: 1809, 1859, 2009Janet BrowneAramont Professor of History of Science, Harvard University
11/13/07The Threat to the Planet: Dark and Bright Sides of Global WarmingJames HansenNASA/Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York City
05/14/07Robert Hooke in the Round: Ingenious Scientist, Newton's Nemesis and a Most Disastrous ClerkLisa JardineProfessor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary, University of London
04/18/07Watson, Crick and the Mushroom CloudSoraya de ChadarevianDepartment of History and Center for Society and Ethics at UCLA
02/01/06Oppenheimer's Legacy: Science and Government in the Shadow of Nuclear WeaponsMartin J. SherwinProfessor of History, Tufts University
03/03/05Is There a Neurophysiological Challenge to Freedom and Responsibility of Human Action?Julian Nida-RumelinProfessor of Philosophy at the University of Munich
04/21/04Science, Arms, The State: J. Robert Oppenheimer and the 20th CenturyDaniel J. KevlesProfessor of History, Yale
04/02/04Human Dissection and Vivisection: Science, Religion and Politics in Early GreeceHeinrich von StadenInstitute of Advanced Study, Princeton
04/17/03Physics, Philosophy and the Foundations of Geometry: Einstein and the Logical EmpiricistsMichael FriedmanFrederick P. Rhemus Family Professor of Humanities at Stanford University
03/17/03Creativity and the BrainOliver SacksAuthor
04/04/02Galileothek@: Information Technology and Research in the HumanitiesPaolo GalluzziDirector, Institute and Museum of History of Science, Professor of Science, University of Florence
02/28/02Einstein and the German QuestionFritz SternUniversity Professor Emeritus, Columbia University
10/22/01Faustus and Friends: The Renaissnace Magus in ContextAnthony T. GraftonHenry Putnam University Professor at Princeton University
01/11/01The Body as Product in the Biotechnology AgeDorothy NelkinUniversity Professor, Department of Sociology and School of Law New York University
12/01/00Poincare's Maps and Einstein's ClocksPeter GalisonProfessor of Science and Physics, Harvard University
04/20/00On ViolenceRichard RhodesPulitzer Prize winning author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb
01/21/00From Virtual Pets to Digital Dolls: Reflections on Relational ArtifactsSherry TurkleProfessor of the Sociology of Science, MIT
10/22/99The Scopes Trial in History and LegendEdward J. LarsonProfessor of History and Law, University of Georgia School of Law
11/06/98Biomedical Research: Public Investments and Public ExpectationsHarold VarmusDirector, National Institute of Health
05/21/98Genetic Analysis of Breast and Ovarian CancerMary-Claire KingAmerican Cancer Society, Professor of Genetics and Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle
01/22/98Counting Sheep: Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Human CloningAlexander M. CapronProfessor of Law and Medicine; Co-Director Pacific Center for Health Policy and Ethics, University of Southern California
11/06/97Einstein in His Cultural ContextGerald HoltonProfessor of Physics and History of Science, Em, Harvard University
04/18/97Debate in the Republic of Science: Michael Polanyi and P.M.S. Blackett on Science and Its Social EndsMary Jo NyeHorning Professor of the Humanities and Professor of History, Oregon State University
02/06/97Plagues and People: The Battle Against Infectious DiseaseJohn Michael BishopProfessor of Microbiology and Immunology: Director Hooper Foundation and Karl Friedrich Meyer Labs; UC, San Francisco
10/11/96Science after ModernityStephen E. ToulminHenry Luce Professor of the Center for Multiethnic and Transitional Studies, University of Southern California
05/09/96Epidemic Disease and Basic Reseach: Lessons from the Case of AIDSRobert C. GalloProfessor and Director of Human Virology, University of Maryland at Baltimore