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The Man Who Loved China: Joseph Needham and the Making of a Masterpiece

Simon Winchester gives a talk on the twentieth century English scientist—turned China scholar Joseph Needham.

May 20, 2008 12:00am

Tuesday, May 20
6:30-8:30 PM

In the mid-20th century a somewhat eccentric young English scientist, turned China scholar set out to answer a puzzling question. Why was it that the nation that invented so much--the compass, bureaucracy, printing, explosives, even the stirrup--and had enjoyed 5,000 years of continuous civilization, had failed to prosper? Joseph Needham came to believe that China, weakened in the recent past by invasions, warlords, and corruption, would eventually rise again to world prominence. The first volume of his masterpiece, "Science and Civilization in China," came out in 1954; by the time he died he had produced, essentially single-handed, seventeen volumes on China, marking him as the greatest one-man encyclopaedist of all time.

New York Times bestselling author Simon Winchester (The Professor and the Madman and Krakatoa) talks his latest historical biography with John S. Major, Senior Lecturer, China Institute and associate of Joseph Needham. Followed by a book signing and reception.

$10 Asia Society and China Institute members; $12 nonmembers; $10 students/seniors with ID
Phone Number: 
212 517-ASIA