Laureates in Review: Lorraine Daston


No one scholar can cover the history of a field as long-lived as astronomy from its origins in Mesopotamia 3,000–4,000 years ago to the present. Rather, this is a mosaic where the pieces have to be put together by a team of researchers. In this interview, filmed from the prestigious international Dan David Prize awards ceremony in Tel Aviv, Lorraine Daston asks: Given that the civilizations that create them will eventually decline and disappear, how is it that the records of these past times have been cherished, copied, and transmitted—over millennia and also over continents? What kinds of roots of cultural transmission are necessary in order to make it possible? As Daston explains, looking broadly across several cultures and several epochs also gives an idea of the possibilities of different knowledge systems with their different epistemic aspirations, and can teach us what's special about what we call "modern science."



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