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David Brin Named Inaugural 2015 National Endowment For The Humanities/Hannah Arendt Center Distinguished Visiting Fellow

Brin, Scientist and Award-Winning Author, Will Be in Residence at Bard College from October 5 to 25

Mark Primoff
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—David Brin has been named the first annual National Endowment for the Humanities/Hannah Arendt Center Distinguished Visiting Fellow. Brin, an American scientist, award-winning author of science fiction, and leading commentator on the world’s most pressing technological trends, is in residence at the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College from Monday, October 5, to Sunday, October 25. As part of Brin’s fellowship, he will mentor selected Bard students on their fiction and nonfiction writing. Brin will also offer a number of lectures and discussions during his residency at Bard. This new annual fellowship has been made possible through an NEH Challenge Grant.

On Wednesday, September 30, at 11:30 a.m., Brin will be in conversation with Hannah Arendt Center Academic Director Roger Berkowitz and Roundtable host Joe Donahue on WAMC radio. On Wednesday, October 7, at 5 p.m. in Reem-Kayden Center 103, Brin will speak about his book, The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose between Privacy and Freedom?, with Berkowitz. On Wednesday, October 14, at 7 p.m. in the Bertelsmann Campus Center’s Multipurpose Room, Brin will attend a debate with West Point on the resolution: “National Security Is More Important Than the Individual Right to Privacy.” On Thursday, October 15, at 10:30 a.m. in Olin Hall, Brin will give the first keynote speech of the Hannah Arendt Center’s fall conference, “Why Privacy Matters: What Do We Lose When We Lose Our Privacy?” Brin’s keynote talk is titled “Will There Be Privacy in the Transparent Society?” On Monday, October 19, at noon in Hegeman 107, Brin will give a talk with Assistant Professor of Physics Hal Haggard, “The First Trillionth Second of the Universe,” which explores why, for philosophical reasons, some scientists, including Einstein, preferred to picture a universe that was limitless in space and time. That view faded as evidence mounted for a titanic start—a big bang. Now, scientists plumb the earliest picoseconds of that event, which hints at a much bigger cosmic realm. On Thursday, October 22, at 4:30 p.m. in Bard Hall, Brin will discuss the question, “Does literature become more relevant when we incorporate history, science, and other elements of change?”

Brin has written more than 20 novels, topping the New York Times best-sellers list and winning multiple Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. His novels include Earth, Startide Rising, and The Uplift War. His 1985 novel, The Postman, was adapted into a film starring Kevin Costner in 1997. In addition to exploring the future with fiction, Brin earned a B.S. degree in astrophysics from the California Institute of Technology, and his master’s degree in electrical engineering and Ph.D. in space physics from the University of California, San Diego. Brin has served on the council of external advisers for NASA’s Innovative and Advanced Concepts (NIAC) group since 2010. His nonfiction book, The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose between Freedom and Privacy?, explores secrecy, privacy, and surveillance in the modern world, and won the Oboler Freedom of Speech Award and the McGannon Communication Policy Research Award.


The Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College is an expansive home for thinking in the spirit of Hannah Arendt. The Arendt Center’s double mission is, first, to sponsor and support the highest quality scholarship on Hannah Arendt and her work; and, second, to be an intellectual incubator for engaged humanities thinking at Bard College and beyond, thinking that elevates and deepens the public argument that is the bedrock of our democracy.

The Arendt Center cares for and makes available the Hannah Arendt Library, with nearly 5,000 books from Hannah Arendt’s personal library, many with marginalia and notes. The Arendt Center oversees projects including The Courage to Be, Hate and the Human Condition, and The American Jewish Peace Archive.

At Bard, the Arendt Center sponsors short courses on Hannah Arendt and numerous lectures and events for students, faculty, and members. Above all, the Arendt Center promotes thinking that challenges common sense assumptions and gives depth to public understandings. The effort is to provide an intellectual space for thinking that can reframe the questions that form the center of our democracy.


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This event was last updated on 09-24-2015