February 28, 1947
Seventy-five delegates from 30 Eastern colleges came to the campus for the Eastern Colleges Science Conference, a symposium on science, philosophy and society. The speakers included two prominent German émigrés, the philosopher of science Carl G. Hempel of Queens College and the philosopher, mathematician and physicist Philipp Frank from Harvard, along with Professor Hugh S. Taylor, dean of the graduate school at Princeton.
In a keynote address Kirtley F. Mather, professor of geology at Harvard and co-founder in 1937 of the Institute for Propaganda Analysis, spoke on the challenges and promises of the atomic age. “Scientific research,” he said, “has opened wide a door from which two roads diverge into the future. One road leads to death and destruction, the other to abundant life and peaceful progress…. From the physical point of view, ours is a very small world. From the material point of view it is one of potential abundance from the practical point of view of inescapable interdependence.
“The far reaching decisions that must now be made because of these three facts lie unmistakably in the area of morals and ethics. It takes intelligence to construct atomic bombs, but it requires far more than intelligence to build a world of peace, security and freedom.”
The conference’s customary round of student demonstrations, papers and paper discussions in the fields of chemistry, the physical sciences, biology and psychology filled the delegates’ remaining time. The New York Times