OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Cambridge Fellow Named OSU’s 2007 Horning Visiting Scholar

03/27/2009

CORVALLIS, Ore. – An expert on science in ancient Greece and Rome has been named Oregon State University’s 2007 Horning Visiting Scholar and will give three lectures April 10-13 on the OSU campus.

Liba Taub, director and curator of the Whipple Museum of the History of Science and a fellow of Newnham College at the University of Cambridge, will speak on April 10, 12 and 13, in the Memorial Union Journey Room. The April 10 and 12 presentations start at 4 p.m.; the April 13 event begins at noon.

The talks, which will discuss how scientific information was conveyed in ancient Greece and Rome, are free and open to the public.

Her presentation on Tuesday, April 10, “Genres of Scientific Communication in Ancient Greece and Rome,” will focus on how several genres chosen by Greco-Roman scientific authors reflect interactions between oral and written culture. Those include poetry, dialogues, lectures, treatises, problem texts, letters, teaching texts and commentaries.

The Thursday, April 12, talk, “Scientific Poetry and the Limits of Myth,” will revolve around an anonymous Latin poem “Aetna,” in which the author explains volcanoes as being due to natural causes. Taub will talk about how the writer chose to convey scientific ideas through a poem, rather than prose.

On Friday, April 13, Taub will speak on “Science and Myth in Dialogue.” She will look at Plutarch’s “Dialogue on the Face of the Moon,” a work that juxtaposes science and myth in interesting ways.

Taub’s research and scholarship focus on the history of scientific instruments and the history of early science, particularly ancient Greek and Roman astronomy, physics and meteorology. Her books include “Ptolemy’s Universe: The Natural Philosophical and Ethical Foundations of Ptolemy’s Astronomy” and “Ancient Meteorology.”

The OSU lectures will be published in 2008 by the OSU Press as the first volume in a new Horning Visiting Scholars Publication Series.

For information, contact the OSU Department of History at 541-737-3421 or go to http://oregonstate.edu/cla/history/lectures/horning/06_07.php.