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Two Hundred Years of Frankenstein

A Lecture by Sidney Perkowitz
Professor of Physics Emeritus, Emory University

Sunday, September 16, at 4 p.m. in Orcas Center

Two hundred years ago, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley created one of the most famous novels ever written, Frankenstein — a remarkable book with a remarkable backstory. She was only 18 when she began a tale that has inspired a multitude of books and films. Her portrayal of a tormented being created by the scientist Victor Frankenstein is highly relevant in today’s world, as science advances ever more rapidly and we face the possibility of humans modifying and even creating life.

In this lecture, based on his recent book Frankenstein: How a Monster Became an Icon, Perkowitz will introduce Mary and her literary circle, including her famous husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. He will explain how she came to write the novel and also present excerpts from the book and clips from Frankenstein films to illustrate how the story has evolved over two centuries. In closing, he will tell 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 condensed-matter physics. As Professor Emeritus, he presents science for general readers in his books such as The Empire of Light, Universal Foam, Digital People, Hollywood Science, Slow Light, Hollywood Chemistry, and now Frankenstein. 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 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.

As always, admission is free but donations are welcome.

Cosponsored by Janet Alderton and the Orcas Island Public Library.