Mid-Century: The Social Implications of Scientific Progress. Verbatim Account of the Discussions Held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the Occasion of Its Mid-Century Convocation, March 31, April 1 and April 2, 1949

Mid-Century: The Social Implications of Scientific Progress. Verbatim Account of the Discussions Held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the Occasion of Its Mid-Century Convocation, March 31, April 1 and April 2, 1949

Mid-Century: The Social Implications of Scientific Progress. Verbatim Account of the Discussions Held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the Occasion of Its Mid-Century Convocation, March 31, April 1 and April 2, 1949

Mid-Century: The Social Implications of Scientific Progress. Verbatim Account of the Discussions Held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on the Occasion of Its Mid-Century Convocation, March 31, April 1 and April 2, 1949

Excerpt

On April 2, 1949, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology inaugurated its tenth president, James Rhyne Killian, Jr. As a prelude to that event there was a two-day program of panel discussions and addresses which was called "The Mid-Century Convocation on the Social Implications of Scientific Progress."

This book is the story of that Convocation.

These words are written on a day early in January 1950. Already there is a spate of copy dealing with the deeds, fair and dire, of the first half of the twentieth century. It is safe to predict that by the end of the year millions of words will have been written on the same topic. Most of them will have been trivial; it is almost inevitable that all will have suffered from proximity. I have no desire to add much to these words or to display my own myopia. Also, it is a tour de force to pause at a mid-century calendar date and look back on an arbitrary fifty years as though they necessarily had a cultural integrity. Certainly what the nineteenth century stood for did not start happening in 1801 and end at midnight of December 31, 1900. Nonetheless a limited amount of reminiscence may help.

The man who stood with his feet planted in the middle of the twentieth century was likely to hold one of two quite different views about it. Unlike almost every man who greeted the dawn of this age, who reveled in the peace and prosperity, seemingly endless, of the late years of Victoria, the man of our time was likely to be vigorously optimistic or vigorously pessimistic. And there was fair reason for either point of view.

One might be optimistic, for example, if one examined the cultural skills of this fifty years, or the intellectual achievements, or the social gains. Relatively few periods even in the Golden Age could reveal more accomplishment.

Names do not make a culture but they are symbolic of it-and what the names suggest does represent the culture. The half century could display a brilliant panoply of names in any cultural field one chose to select. It was a period which had produced such painters as Marin . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.