So why ask a scientist to talk at the panel discussion on the first evening? I’m there to discuss why the humanities matter to me.
We are in the anachronistic land of the 19th century poet Matthew Arnold if we believe that ‘the best which has been thought or read’ is confined to Classics and the humanities more generally.
Having said that, I am not trying to denigrate the work of the humanities. I may wholeheartedly believe that science is vital, as the eponymous campaigning group says, but that doesn’t mean I think the humanities are not. Since science costs more to do than arts subjects, more funding should go to science. So why are the humanities important to me? I would say it is precisely because I am human.
It’s time to ban the damaging polarisation that sets one part of the research community against another and celebrate our humanity as well as the Humanities.