Physicist Sidney Perkowitz to discuss ‘Frankenstein’

  • Tue Sep 11th, 2018 1:30am
  • Life

Two hundred years ago, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley created one of the most famous novels ever written, “Frankenstein,” a book with a remarkable backstory that physicist and author Sidney Perkowitz will recount in an Orcas Currents lecture on Sunday, Sept. 16 in Orcas Center, beginning at 4 p.m.

Shelley was only 18 when she began a harrowing tale that has inspired a multitude of books and films. Her portrayal of a tormented being created by the scientist Victor Frankenstein remains relevant in today’s world, as science advances ever more rapidly and we face the possibility of humans modifying and perhaps even creating life.

In this talk, based on his recent book “Frankenstein: How a Monster Became an Icon,” Perkowitz will introduce Shelley and her literary circle, including her famous husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. He will explain how she came to write the novel and present book excerpts and clips from Frankenstein films to illustrate how the story has evolved over two centuries. In closing, he will suggest how the story still serves as a guide to and warning about the role of science in modern society.

Sidney Perkowitz attended Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and earned his Ph.D. in physics at the University of Pennsylvania. As the Candler Professor of Physics at Emory University, he published over 100 research papers and books on topics in atomic, molecular and condensed-matter physics.

As Professor Emeritus, he now presents science for general readers in his books. He has appeared on the BBC, CBC, CNN, NPR and many other outlets, discussing topics ranging from the science of food to science in the media. He is a distinguished Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was given a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts.

This Orcas Currents event is cosponsored by Janet Alderton and the Orcas Island Public Library. Admission is free but donations are welcome.