University Lecture with Pamela H. Smith
Pamela H. Smith
Professor of History
Snakes, Lizards, and Manuscripts: Humanists in the Laboratory
The empirical techniques of experiment and observation employed in the natural sciences since the Scientific Revolution have important origins both in the accurate description and eyewitness practiced by Renaissance historians and in the creative labors of Renaissance artists' workshops. But since the seventeenth century, these shared origins have been obscured, and the divisions between the natural sciences and the arts and humanities have become wider; scientists work in the lab and historians work in libraries and archives. Studying the pre-modern artist's workshop provides an opportunity for the historian to enter the contemporary laboratory. Drawing on techniques from both laboratory and archival research, this lecture crosses the science/humanities divide and explores the surprising relationships between manuscripts and experiments; between today's lab and yesterday's workshop; and between early modern conceptions of nature and our own understanding of science, art, and scholarship.
The lecture will be followed by a question and answer session with the audience.
Provost John Coatsworth welcomes guests to the University Lecture and introduces Pamela H. Smith, Seth Low Professor of History.
Professor Smith delivers her lecture entitled "Snakes, Lizards, and Manuscripts: Humanists in the Laboratory."
Columbia University audience members line up to participate in a question and answer session with Professor Smith.