Poetry is beautiful, but science is what matters

Professor Sally Shuttleworth

Moderator: Professor Sally Shuttleworth

Sally Shuttleworth is Head of the Humanities Division at the University of Oxford and a Professor in the English Faculty.

Professor Peter Atkins

Proposer: Professor Peter Atkins

Peter Atkins was an Oxford professor of chemistry and fellow of Lincoln College until his retirement in 2007.

Dr Peter McDonald

Opposer: Dr Peter McDonald

Peter McDonald is the Christopher Tower Student and Tutor in Poetry at Christ Church, Oxford.

Opening statements - 09 Feb 09

  • Professor Sally Shuttleworth

    This debate takes place fifty years after C. P. Snow's famous lecture in 1959 on ... read more

  • Professor Peter Atkins

    Professor Peter Atkins

    All poetry is beautiful, and all science matters. Even the poetry that does not posse... read more

  • Dr Peter McDonald

    Dr Peter McDonald

    Poetry is not beautiful – not all of it, not all of the time, and not just beau... read more

Update 1

  • 12 Feb 09
    Professor Peter Atkins

    Professor Peter Atkins

    At this stage of our debate I shall direct my remarks solely towards the contribution... read more

  • 16 Feb 09
    Dr Peter McDonald

    Dr Peter McDonald

    Many scientists are productively interested in consciousness, and poets too have foun... read more

Update 2

  • 19 Feb 09
    Professor Peter Atkins

    Professor Peter Atkins

    In this update I shall let my Opponent rest his horse and concentrate instead on some... read more

  • 23 Feb 09
    Dr Peter McDonald

    Dr Peter McDonald

    Let's say that I don’t want to pull Professor Atkins' leg, but to remov... read more

Closing statements - 26 Feb 09

  • Professor Peter Atkins

    Professor Peter Atkins

    My challenge is to bring you to my side when so many hearts are ranged against me.&nb... read more

  • Dr Peter McDonald

    Dr Peter McDonald

    As a proposition, "Poetry is beautiful, but science is what matters" is ser... read more

  • Professor Sally Shuttleworth

    The debate has been fiercely fought, and engaging; commentators have weighed in with ... read more

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