The Narrative of Science / The Science of Narrative
The sciences and the humanities have a lot to learn from each other, not least because they once pretty much were each other. This master class explores the relationship between the scientific method and storytelling: in particular, the similarities that arise out of the human need to explain our place in the universe to one another and to ourselves. Through readings of brief excerpts by scientists—Aristotle, Galileo, Einstein, and others—as well as by writers working in various (mostly non-science) genres, we’ll identify what these similarities are and why they’re there. Then, in a writing exercise, we’ll try to apply the day’s lessons to our own creative impulses, whether in the sciences or the humanities (or both).
A Guggenheim fellow in science writing, Richard Panek received the American Institute of Physics Science Communication Award in 2012 for his most recent book, The 4% Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality. His collaboration with Temple Grandin, The Autistic Brain, won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Nonfiction Book of 2013. His own books have been translated into sixteen languages. He’s now finishing The Trouble With Gravity: Solving the Mystery Beneath Our Feet, to be published next year by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. He teaches in the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University—a course he created, “Science as Narrative”—and in the MFA Writing program at Goddard College.