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BARAN | STEM and Humanities? Apples and Oranges.

“Yeah, I’m a bioengineering major,” he says, his eyes shifting upwards as he does so. He knows what they’re thinking. The flash of admiration in their eyes and the almost-almost-imperceptible deference in conversation tell all. My friend Rollin is the smartest person I’ve met, and he deserves this treatment. But not for the simple reason that he is a majoring in biological engineering.

3-14 humanities panel

Humanities Professors Discuss Implications of Sustainability

Cornell humanities professors and students discussed the present and future implications of emphasizing sustainability on Thursday as part of the “Big Ideas in Humanities” series. Prof. Karen Pinkus, romance studies, identified inconsistencies in sustainability’s usage and definition. She said the goal of sustainability is to meet “the needs of the present, without compromising the abilities of future generations to meet their own needs.”

She explained that this view of sustainability introduces the future as something that must always be considered in the present, yet operates within its own timeframe. “The time of sustainability is certainly out of joint with geological time,” Pinkus said. “The time of sustainability fails to synchronize with the temporality of carbon based life forms compressed underground.”

Prof. Sara Pritchard, science and technology studies, discussed her research on light pollution and the campaign for dark night skies.

William D. Adams speaks to students about the value of the humanities

Endowment Chairman Praises Humanities at Cornell

“We are literally drowning in issues that have fundamental philosophical significance and are swirling around us all day, every day,” said William D. Adams, chairman of the National Endowment of the Humanities. “I think we would all be helped if we had recourse to some of those philosophical discussions which could take place.”