Jan 20, 2009 | 6
The greatest scientists often become the centerpiece of theater or musical works that expropriate their images and ideas as emblems of a particular historical era. Sometimes such a dramatic device works as intended. Einstein on the Beach, Philip Glass’s lengthy meditation on the physicist’s life and his role as a pivotal figure of the Atomic Age, comes to mind.
Just as often, the scientist as icon leads the artist astray. This year’s observance of the bicentennial of Darwin’s birth and the sesquicentennial of the publication of his masterwork, On The Origin of Species, means that it is now the 19th-century naturalist’s turn to become an object of artistic and historical license.
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