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Science Historian George Dyson’s unique career is nearly impossible to classify. Raised in the home of legendary astrophysicist Freeman Dyson, George grew up a brilliant high school dropout who ran away from home to live in a treehouse and study the construction of kayaks—and would go on to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Victoria. Today, Dyson’s work is a collision of the history of computing and the evolution of technology relative to the environment and the direction of society.
Environmental author Kenneth Brower chronicled Dyson’s story with his biography The Starship and the Canoe—and Town Hall brings them together for a livestreamed conversation exploring modern science, adventure, family, and the natural world. Dyson and Brower are joined by Kathy Cain, Seattle journalist and writer of a stirring obituary and memorial article for Dyson’s father. Together, Dyson, Brower, and Cain discuss the philosophy of physics, the allure of deep space and the deep woods, and the things that motivate men like Dyson to design starships to explore the heavens—or carve kayaks to traverse the icy coastal wilderness of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest.
George Dyson is a historian of technology whose interests and writings have included the development (and redevelopment) of the Aleut kayak, the evolution of digital computing and telecommunications, and a path not taken into space. He is the author of the books Turing’s Cathedral, Darwin Among the Machines, and Project Orion, among others.
Kenneth Brower is an environmental writer and journalist for Sierra magazine who began publishing when he was 14 and has since served as a writer and correspondent for over five decades. He is the author of The Wildness Within: Remembering David Brower and Hetch Hetchy: Undoing a Great American Mistake.
Kathleen Cain began her career in Seattle writing and producing documentaries and talk shows for television and radio. She hosted a two-hour interview program on the notorious KRAB FM, was a contributing editor for the Seattle Weekly, and a writer/creative director at the legendary Heckler Associates before founding her own communications consulting firm, Cain Creative.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle.