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Franke Program in Science and the Humanities

The Franke Program in Science and the Humanities aims to foster cross-disciplinary dialogue, creative collaboration, and research among scientists and humanists. In recognition that the fundamental questions that engage humanists must be informed by basic insights of science, just as meaningful scientific inquiry depends on humanistic knowledge, this initiative promotes innovative thinking at the juncture of two interdependent systems of thought.

The Franke Program will sponsor activities that integrate science and the humanities.  In this regard, it has incorporated the Shulman Seminars, which were established in 2007 in honor of Robert Shulman, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Senior Research Scientist in Diagnostic Radiology, and Founding Fellow of the Whitney Humanities Center.  The Whitney has a history of encouraging relationships across disciplines.  Additionally, the Whitney supports a number of faculty-student Working Groups, such as Literary Theory, Cognition, and the Brain; and Science, Technology, and Utopian Visions.  The Whitney holds semester-long faculty seminars, including the recent course on Freud, organized by Dr. William Sledge of the School of Medicine.  Distinguished members of the science faculty, such as Charles Bailyn (Astronomy and Physics), Doug Stone (Physics and Applied Physics), and Günter Wagner (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), as well as faculty from the humanities and social sciences are traditionally active participants in the Whitney Fellowship.


The Franke Program in Science and the Humanities also aspires to gather and disseminate information regarding campus activities that join the sciences and the humanities.  Events are posted on its website:  http://www.yale.edu/whc/frankeprogram.html
Richard Prum, the William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology and Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a MacArthur grant recipient, has been appointed as the first director of the Franke Program.  A Whitney Humanities Center Fellow and Executive Committee member, Professor Prum also serves as curator of ornithology and head curator of vertebrate zoology at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.  In 2011, he developed and co-taught the Shulman Seminar The Evolution of Beauty, a wide-ranging philosophical and scientific inquiry into the changing roles of aesthetics in the human and natural worlds.

The Franke Program in Science and the Humanities is made possible by the generosity of Richard and Barbara Franke.