BSC will host its 2018 Phi Beta Kappa lecture on Thursday, April 12, featuring science historian and author George Dyson.
Birmingham-Southern College will host George Dyson, an author and historian whose publications explore the evolution of technology, for two days in April as part of this year’s Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program.
In Dyson’s talk, “Project Orion: A Path Not Taken Into Space,” he will discuss his research into a small group of scientists who in 1957 participated in a deeply classified attempt to build a 4,000-ton interplanetary spaceship propelled by nuclear bombs. After seven years of work, the technical challenges appeared surmountable, but resistance from NASA brought the project to a halt.
Dyson will stay on campus through April 13, engaging with students and faculty in the college’s Harrison Honors Program and spending time in class with students in BSC’s mathematics and creative and applied computing programs.
As an independent historian of technology, Dyson has written books on the development of the digital age, the creation of the earliest computers, and artificial intelligence; he is currently working on a book that opens with the American government’s brutal campaign against the Chiricahua Apache and ends with the digital revolution being subsumed by another movement. In addition to writing books that have been translated into more than half a dozen languages,
he has lectured widely and contributed to Scientific American, Nature, Forbes, Discover, Wired, Atlantic, Make, and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
He is also an expert on native kayaks and is credited with reviving the baidarka style of kayak. As a young man, he lived in a treehouse in the Pacific Northwest for three years; he spent two decades kayaking British Columbia and exploring the Inside Passage.
Since 1956, the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program has offered undergraduates the opportunity to spend time with some of America’s most distinguished scholars. The program contributes to the intellectual life on the campus by making possible an exchange of ideas between the visiting scholars and the resident faculty and students.
For more information, call (205) 226-4803.