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The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution

Robert S. Karsh, M.D.
JAMA. 1961;175(11):1027. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040110091040.
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Last year's Rede Lecture at Cambridge by C. P. Snow is now available in a slim, thoughtful, and disturbing volume entitled The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution. It runs a mere 58 pages of direct, insistent prose and can be read in one hour. Since it takes so little time to courageously tackle two problems vital to scientists, this unimposing book may well be the greatest literary bargain of an inflated publishing age.

The "two cultures" in the title are the modern culture of the scientific intellectual and the traditional culture of the literary intellectual. With a foot in each cultural camp, C. P. Snow comes uniquely armed to the fray. He states his own qualifications: "By training I was a scientist; by vocation I was a writer."

When such an awesomely equipped spokesman says, "I believe the intellectual life of the whole of western society is increasingly being


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