The Kamholtz course is an institution within the institution of The Mercantile Library. Mercantile members have been enjoying University of Cincinnati English professor Jonathan Kamholtz’s well-researched and animated lectures for over 30 years.
Scientific Questions and Scientific Quests
This year, our topic is Scientific Questions and Scientific Quests. We’ll be reading five novels about scientific heroism and scientific discoveries with consequences intended and otherwise. These are books that chronicle the scientist’s need for obsessiveness and vision, for perseverance and imagination. What sort of responsibilities does the scientist have, and what sort of person might the scientist be? Each of our books thinks about what the world might look like to the understanding of experimenters, explorers, thinkers, and measurers. And each suggests some different ideas about what science itself is and can do. I don’t promise that I can vouch for or explain all the science in our five books, but all of them make for terrific reading.
May 5: Daniel Kehlmann, Measuring the World. A book about two men and two minds, mathematician Carl Friedrich Gauss and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, with two very different ways of measuring—and knowing—the world. Humboldt, a tireless explorer, measures the world he sees as he treks through Europe, the jungles of South America, and even the United States in its early decades. Gauss is a precocious theoretical mathematician for whom only numbers make sense. As Europe slides from the Napoleonic years to the Revolutions of 1848 and their aftermath, the two men meet to discover how much—and how little—they have in common.
Jonathan Kamholtz holds a Ph.D. from Yale University and is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Cincinnati.
Series price: $50 members/$55 nonmembers
Individual sessions: $15 members/$20 nonmembers
Reservations required: 513.621.0717 or email email@example.com