Years ago, when I was trying to decide between physics and writing, my professor, John Hersey, told me to read C.P. Snow’s famous lecture “The Two Cultures,” in which the British chemist and novelist derides scientists and humanities scholars for being illiterate in each other’s fields. I had no intention of growing up to be the sort of jowly curmudgeon who scolds people for not spending their lives studying whatever they most enjoy studying. But Snow’s warning seems even more important today than when he delivered it in the 1950s.
But Pollack seems to think the gulf has been bridged in some way.
Paradoxically, that’s because there no longer are two cultures. Even if we don’t understand how the gadgets we are using work, how the magical waves vibrating through the air carry the data in which we all are suddenly drowning, we constantly are immersed in science. And as those same gadgets promise—or threaten—to become part of our very bodies, we need scientists who recognize the reality of this illusion we still call the soul, and artists who know how intimately the reality of that soul will remain connected to the physical world—to science.
Agree or disagree with Ms. Pollack, this is an essay worth reading. And, yes, please, more women scientists in both fiction and RL.