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  • photo of John Sutherland presenting a lecture at Caltech
    John Sutherland gives a lecture for the 50th anniversary of Caltech's Humanities and Social Sciences division.
    Credit: Caltech
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HSS, lecture
10/06/2016 12:30:03

Caltech's Humanities and Social Sciences Division Hosts Lecture Series

John Sutherland, Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature, University College London, gave a lecture on Thursday, September 29, as part of a lecture series celebrating the 50th anniversary of Caltech's Humanities and Social Sciences division. Sutherland, who is known for his successful nonacademic books on literary history, was on the Caltech faculty from 1983 to 1992.

In his lecture, titled "George Ellery Hale's Vision of the Humane Scientist: Has it Survived?" Sutherland talked about the inspirations of astronomer Hale, one of the founders of Caltech and the first director of the Mount Wilson Observatory, near Pasadena. Sutherland said that Hale's father built elevators for skyscrapers in Chicago, and that this was perhaps young Hale's "first step to the stars." He also noted that Hale's mother had a profound appreciation for poetry and literature, and that these two inheritances likely produced Hale's vision for a humane scientist.

Written by Whitney Clavin