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Town Hall Seattle: Science Series

The Science series presents cutting-edge research about biology, physics, chemistry, ecology, geology, astronomy, and more. These events appeal to many different levels of expertise, from grade school students to career scientists. With a range of relevant applications, including medicine, the environment, and technology, this series expands our thinking and our possibilities.

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Highlighting big ideas from both recent and soon-to-come events. A rolling Town Hall timeline, with you at the center. Every two weeks, hosts Steve Scher and Jini Palmer rewind through the recent past and fast-forward to the near future, catching you up on events you may have missed and offering a glimpse into the weeks ahead.

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Town Hall is a gathering place where ideas are planted and movements grow. It’s where we come together as a community to listen and be heard—to ask and answer the big questions facing our city and our world. Annually, we present hundreds of artists and scholars, and collaborate with more than 150 grassroots groups in our self-produced programs. Rooted in the belief that we all deserve a voice, our programming reflects—and inspires—our region's best impulses: creativity, empathy, and innovation. With our podcast series, we take one more step towards making our programming accessible to all. 

Jun 11, 2018

Has the pursuit of the ultra-precise in so many facets of human life blinded us to other things of equal value, such as an appreciation for the age-old traditions of craftsmanship, art, and high culture? Acclaimed author Simon Winchester joined us to discuss this complex quandary with insight from his newest book The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World. He explored whether we are missing something that reflects the world as it is, rather than the world as we think we would wish it to be—and whether the precise and the natural can co-exist in society.

Winchester traced the development of technology from the Industrial Age to the Digital Age to examine the component he contends is most crucial to human advancement—precision. He outlined how the application of increasingly precise tools and methods resulted in the creation and mass-production of crucial innovations from guns and camera lenses to gene splicing and microchips. Winchester charted the rise of the manufacturing era and the development of unprecedented new fabrication tools: machines that make machines. Join Winchester for a conversation on the fundamental importance of precision in our tools, our minds, and our methods—and the capacity of this force to change the course of the modern world.

Simon Winchester is the acclaimed author of many books, including The Professor and the Madman, The Men Who United the States, The Map That Changed the World, The Man Who Loved China, A Crack in the Edge of the World, and Krakatoa, all of which were New York Times bestsellers and appeared on numerous best and notable lists. In 2006, Winchester was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Her Majesty the Queen.

Recorded live at University Prep by Town Hall Seattle on Wednesday, May 23, 2018.