Newsroom

November 19, 1998

Science Writer and Commentator Margaret Wertheim to Speak at Middlebury College on Dec. 1-2

An internationally noted science writer and commentator, Margaret Wertheim will give two talks at Middlebury College in December. On Tuesday, Dec. 1 at 8 p.m. she will speak on "Space and Spirit" in Mead Chapel on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125). At 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, Wertheim will give a talk titled "Physics, Faith, and Feminism" in the library of the Geonomics Center on Hillcrest Road off College Street (Route 125). Both talks are free and open to the public.

Wertheim's first talk, "Space and Spirit," will be based on her new book, Pearly Gates of Cyberspace: A History of Space from Dante to the Internet, which will be published in April 1999 by W.W. Norton. In this talk, Wertheim will trace the evolution of our thinking about space from the Middle Ages to today. According to Wertheim, "The contemporary development of cyberspace returns us to an almost medieval position for once again we have a physical space described by science, and a non-physical space that many people are hoping will be a new kind of spiritual space."

Her second talk, "Physics, Faith, and Feminism," will be based on her previous book Pythagoras' Trousers: God, Physics, and the Gender Wars (W.W. Norton). Wertheim will explore the historical and cultural underpinnings of women's under-representation in science, particularly the science of physics. Notably, she will consider the ways in which science has been a kind of priestly pursuit. She will put forward a thesis that women's struggle to break into science has historically paralleled their struggle to break into the clergy. Here, physics may be seen as the Catholic Church of science. Wertheim will explore her thesis about the quasi-religious underpinnings of physics both historically and today. She will conclude with suggestions about ways to move forward in the future.

Wertheim has written extensively about science and society for magazines, television, and radio. Her articles have appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Omni, and Science Digest. Wertheim has written 10 television documentaries, including the award-winning series, "Catalyst," which explored science and technology aimed at teenagers. She was also the writer and host of "Faith and Reason," a PBS documentary special about science and religion, which aired nationally in the U.S. in September 1998. She has appeared frequently on television and radio in the U.S., Australia, and Europe.

Wertheim has two undergraduate science degrees-in physics, and in mathematics and computing.

Both lectures are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Mary Duffy, women's studies administrator, at 802-443-5937.

Schedule of Events:

Tuesday, Dec. 1

8 p.m. Lecture: "Space and Spirit," Margaret Wertheim, internationally noted science writer and commentator, at Mead Chapel on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125).

Wednesday, Dec. 2

4:30 p.m. Lecture: "Physics, Faith, and Feminism," Margaret Wertheim, internationally noted science writer and commentator, in the library of the Geonomics Center on Hillcrest Road off College Street (Route 125).