CORVALLIS - A professor of history and philosophy from the University of Durham in England will deliver a pair of free, public lectures Nov. 1-2 at Oregon State University.
David M. Knight, who also has a degree in chemistry, will give his first lecture on "The Purpose of Experiments in Chemistry." It will begin at 4 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 1, in Gilbert Hall Room 324 on the OSU campus.
In that lecture, he will focus on the work of Humphry Davy, the subject of Knight's book, who discovered in 1799 that nitrous oxide was not poisonous as expected, but a "laughing gas." He will look at Davy's various approaches to experimentation.
Knight's second lecture, "Proving God's Power, Wisdom and Goodness: The Bridgewater Treatises," will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 2, in Peavy Hall Room 130. He will examine how English scientists constructed arguments for power, wisdom and goodness of God, as well as the "unreasonableness" of atheism.
Included in his lecture will be a look at treatises by William Paley on natural theology, William Whewell on astronomy, William Buckland on geology, and Charles Babbage on miracles.
Knight is a professor of both history and the philosophy of science, and past-president of the British Society for the History of Science. Author of 12 books, he received Templeton Awards in both 1997 and 1998.
The lectures are sponsored by the Horning Endowment in the Humanities at OSU, and the departments of history and chemistry.