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Women's groups team up for lunchtime lecture series

The MIT Women's Forum and the MIT Women's League will launch a new luncheon series entitled "Women on the Edge of New Frontiers," starting with a talk on Monday, Nov. 9 with Dr. Anne Foerst. Her topic will be "Searching for God(s) at MIT."

In the 1950s, C.P. Snow coined the expression "the two cultures" for the scientific and religious spheres. Here at MIT, Dr. Foerst believes the gap between these two cultures is especially deep. In the 1960s and '70s, several people tried to bring the two together again; these attempts were crowned by the meeting of the World Council of Churches at MIT in 1979. Since then, she postulates that the religious sphere has vanished completely from the science and engineering departments.

Dr. Foerst, a postdoctoral fellow in the Artifical Intelligence (AI) Lab and a research fellow at the Center for the Studies of Values in Public Life at Harvard Divinity School, will talk about some major elements of the Jewish and Christian traditions which were included in the original AI research agenda, and she will also address the current paradigm shift in AI and cognitive sciences which integrates embodiment and social skills and correlates with the increasing number of women working in the field. She will also discuss reactions to her "God and Computers" project and its results.

All sessions are free and will be held in the Bush Room (10-105) from 1-2 pm. Beverages and desserts will be provided.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 4, 1998.

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