About the Symposium

The Utah Symposium in Science and Literature brings together major figures--in the sciences; in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and literary theory; and in the humanities, fine arts, and social sciences--to examine topics of interest across disciplines.

The foundational idea behind the symposium is that there is an important reciprocal influence between the sciences, the arts, and the humanities, though the ways in which current ideas are expressed and manifested, especially in our age of specialization, may be so different that the connections between them—as well as the ability to trace precedence—may not always be clear. Historically, for example, it is almost impossible for anyone who has even a basic understanding of Einstein to read much of Virginia Woolf's work without considering the impact of his ideas on her thinking, while chaos theory may have been predicted in the works of various 19th century writers. For both participants and observers, the fifth symposium will underscore the ways in which ideas are both generated and enriched by communication across disciplines. Symposium participants will discuss not only the scientific ideas embodied in literary and artistic works but also why—or whether—it is useful or necessary to communicate these ideas in works that are primarily literary or artistic rather than pedagogical or informational, and whether such communication actually furthers scientific exploration.

To see what we did during the first six symposia, visit:  2002, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2014