18 February 2021, The Tablet

Straddling the two cultures


Straddling the two cultures

Carlo Rovelli
Photo: pa/IPA MilestoneMedia, Alberto Terenghi

 

There Are Places in the World Where Rules Are Less Important Than Kindness
CARLO ROVELLI
(ALLEN LANE, 240 PP, £20)
Tablet bookshop price £18 • tel 020 7799 4064

The Human Cosmos: A Secret History of the Stars
JO MARCHANT
(CANONGATE, 368 PP, £16.99)
Tablet bookshop price £15.29 • tel 020 7799 4064

Sixty years ago, the chemist and ­novelist C.P. Snow famously argued that the intellectual life of Western society had become divided into “two cultures”: the sciences and the humanities. This was a tragedy for our chances of solving our common problems. The world needs more people ­willing and able to straddle the divide.

Few do it well. The late American evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould was one, and his many essays reward rereading. Iain McGilchrist, author of the brilliant The Master and His Emissary, is another. Carlo Rovelli, an Italian theoretical physicist and author of several (very) popular science books, aspires to join them.

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