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Don Solomon
Director of Communications
(919) 549-0661

National Humanities Center Announces Conference
on Science and the Humanities

News Release Date: October 24, 2006

Research Triangle Park, N.C.  The National Humanities Center will host a one-day conference, November 10, 2006, on how advances in science are changing the limits of human life and therefore disturbing traditional understandings of what it means to be human. "The Human & The Humanities" conference is part of an ongoing initiative by the Center to bring scientists and humanists together in dialogue on issues surrounding artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, stem cell research, nanotechnology, and other fields which are changing conceptions of what it is to be human.

This initiative, Autonomy, Singularity, Creativity: The Human & The Humanities, focuses attention on concepts historically used to describe unique aspects of human experience. Rapid advances in many scientific disciplines are challenging notions of "the human," producing new knowledge and new understanding of human processes and potential. This conference will provide an important opportunity for humanists and scientists to discuss how new knowledge and technologies require collective examination of traditional ways of thinking about human beings, their capabilities, their responsibilities, and their potential for changing themselves, other species, and the planet.

Speakers at this year's conference include zoologist Sir Patrick Bateson of Cambridge University; anthropologist Terrence Deacon from the University of California, Berkeley; historians of science Peter Galison of Harvard University and Timothy Lenoir from Duke University; literature and information culture scholars Alan Liu of the University of California, Santa Barbara and N. Katherine Hayles from the University of California, Los Angeles; humanities technology innovator Willard McCarty from King's College London; philosophers Robert Pippin from the University of Chicago and Alex Rosenberg of Duke University; cognitive science researcher Mark Turner of Case Western Reserve University; and neuroscientist C. Chris Wood from the Santa Fe Institute.

"This year's conference will provide a remarkable opportunity for dialogue and exploration for our distinguished participants and invited guests," said Geoffrey Harpham, president and director of the National Humanities Center. "We hope this conference establishes a precedent for collaborative inquiry among all those working to advance knowledge of the human, and, further, that it will provide a forum for those concerned about how to embrace these discoveries and technologies with greater wisdom."

For more information on "The Human & The Humanities" conference or the National Humanities Center please call Don Solomon at (919) 549-0661 or e-mail him at

National Humanities Center
7 Alexander Drive, P.O. Box 12256
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709-2256 USA
Phone: (919) 549-0661   Fax: (919) 990-8535
Copyright © 2006 National Humanities Center. All rights reserved.
Revised: October 2006