Fall 2022 Colloquium - Matthew Stanley

Gallatin School of Individualized Study, NYU

Title: “Choose your own apocalypse: nuclear war, asteroids, and predicting the end of the world”

Abstract: Astronomers are good at predictions – eclipses down to the second, spacecraft landings to the minute.  But in the 1980s they struggled with convincing their colleagues, politicians, and publics to take one of their predictions seriously at all.  This was their novel warning that the Earth was in danger of being struck by an asteroid like that which killed the dinosaurs.  What they saw as straightforward technical calculations turned out to be deeply entangled with the way late Cold War America thought about apocalypses in general, and the threat of nuclear war in particular.  The scientists involved found that galvanizing political and social action required developing a new set of skills and networks that took advantage of the apocalyptic infrastructure that had been emplaced by decades of nuclear threat. 


Lectures begin at 3:35pm in 125 Nicholson Hall on the East Bank of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus. 

The Program in History of Science, Technology and Medicine and the Minnesota Center for Philosophy of Science will host a joint lecture series during Spring 2022. At this time, all events will be in-person unless otherwise stated. Please contact hstm@umn.edu for more information. 

Start date
Friday, Oct. 7, 2022, 3:35 p.m.
End date
Friday, Oct. 7, 2022, 4:30 p.m.

125 Nicholson Hall