Podcast: The Art and Science of Deep Time: Conceiving the Inconceivable in the 19th Century | Caroline Winterer

The ambition to think on the scale of thousands, millions, even billion of years emerged in the 19th century. Historian and author Caroline Winterer chronicles how the concept of “deep time” has inspired and puzzled thinkers in cognitive science, art, geology (and elsewhere) to become one of the most influential ideas of the modern era.

Caroline Winterer is Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Stanford Humanities Center. She is an American historian, with special expertise in American thought and culture. Her most recent book is American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason. Other books include The Mirror of Antiquity: American Women and the Classical Tradition, 1750-1900, and The Culture of Classicism: Ancient Greece and Rome in American Intellectual Life, 1780-1910. She has received fellowships from among others the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the National Humanities Center. Her writing appears in numerous publications and academic journals. For mapping the social network of Benjamin Franklin she received an American Ingenuity Award from the Smithsonian Institution.

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The Long Now Foundation is a nonprofit established in 01996 to foster long-term thinking. Our work encourages imagination at the timescale of civilization — the next and last 10,000 years — a timespan we call the long now.

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