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Space scientists, humanist scholars to explore outer space from new perspective
Date:9/13/2007

The seminar was attended by 21 leading thinkers from diverse humanist and scientific disciplines, 10 of whom presented short papers.

Gsli P lsson, for example, an anthropologist from the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, presented Lucy in the Sky Out of Africa, Out of Earth, in which he looked at whether our understanding of how human cultures interact can help us imagine what it would be like to contact non-human cultures.

The seminar was also attended by a luminary in historical research, Dr Alfred Crosby, who originated the concept of the Columbian Exchange in the 1970s. He presented a paper entitled The Space-Roving Human Being and His and Her Inhabitants: Micro-Organisms and Extraterrestrial Travel.

The science community does not really seem to be aware of the fact that a number of issues and concerns that they are dealing with, such as the consequences of meeting with unknown pathogens, are known and have long been studied by historians and ethnologists, Prof Codignola offered.

As for the humanities scholars, technical difficulties relating to space voyaging and especially its time frame, usually escape them. We all felt it was rather strange that the two groups rarely, if ever, meet to discuss space-related issues, he added.

The upcoming Vienna conference will feature six successive sessions and 21 speakers. The conclusions from these sessions will be documented by the ESF in a position paper entitled Vienna Vision on Humans in Outer Space. The ESF will distribute this paper to all interested stakeholders in the academic world, space agencies, intergovernmental bodies such as the United Nations, the media and politicians involved in space and research-related initiatives.

Prof Kai-Uwe Schrogl, Secretary General of the ESPI and Chair of the conference, commented: Mankinds future in outer space will require a comprehensive view including the input in particular by the humanities and social sciences, as w
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Contact: Dr. Jean-Claude Worms
jcworms@esf.org
33-038-876-7188
European Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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