Light: Four Studies

12/03/2012, 9:00 am

Dwinelle 142

Jimena Canales


Light: Four Studies

Jimena Canales, Associate Professor, Department of the History of Science, Harvard

Monday, Dec. 3, Dwinelle 142, 5 pm.

“To see is to know,” goes a usual saying. Four studies on light track key moments in modern culture that changed the relation of visibility to knowledge. How did light become first energy and then information? How were sudden light sources tamed from thundering explosions to silent sources of flash? How was light captured on film? What role does light play in our modern conception of the universe? In answering these questions, Canales explores the implications of these transformations for our understanding of truth and falsehood, right and wrong, life and death, and science and the rest. Four treatises on light examine the broad metaphysical implications of mundane changes in our visual and media culture.

Jimena Canales is a historian of science working on visual, film and media studies. She is the author of A Tenth of a Second: A History (hardcover 2010; kindle 2011; paperback 2012). Her second book project, Einstein's Original Sin—And the Philosophers Who Never Forgave Him, focuses on a debate between the physicist and the philosopher Henri Bergson. She received the “Prize for Young Scholars” International Union of History and Philosophy of Science and was recently awarded the Charles A. Ryskamp research fellowship award from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). Jimena has been a visitor at various universities and research centers, including the Max Planck Institute, IKKM, Princeton University, and MIT. She has lectured widely nationally and internationally, including at the Musée Pompidou, Fundación Juan March, the BBC and others.