The way nature, history and technology intersect and are influenced by each other will be under examination as the University of Victoria's president's distinguished lecture series kicks off with George Dyson. An internationally acclaimed historian and philosopher, Dyson will share his thoughts on that confluence of factors in regards to his early explorations of the B.C. coast and its long history of providing free range to vessels, wildlife and ideas.
The lectures, honouring UVic's 50th anniversary, are to be combined with special convocation ceremonies where each scholar will receive an honorary degree. Dyson is a highly regarded author and leading historian of technology whose latest book, Turing's Cathedral, is an account of the early years of computers. He has attributed his influential ideas on the symbiosis and co-evolution of humans, animals and machines to lessons learned as a youth, exploring this province's coastal waters. "If you spend time alone in the wilderness, you get very attuned to living things," Dyson said in an interview with Wired magazine in March. "I learned to spot the trails left by life. When I looked at the digital universe, I saw the tracks of organisms coming to life. I eventually came out of the Canadian rainforest to study this stuff because it was as wild as anything in the woods." After arriving in Vancouver from New Jersey in 1970 at age 17, Dyson served as deckhand aboard the sailing vessel D'Sonoqua for two years, delivering cargo to small communities on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
Dyson's lecture starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the University Centre Farquhar Auditorium. Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance. Contact the UVic Ticket Centre at 250-721-8480.
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