Call To Readers: Unsolved C.P. Snow Mystery


It's no coincidence that our forthcoming book, Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future is due out at around the fiftieth anniversary of C.P. Snow's famous lecture entitled "The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution." As Chris explained last week at Science Progress, Snow's delineation of the broad disconnect between the scientific and humanistic ways of thinking has resonated powerfully across the last half century, and describes a problem that's very much still with us. And with that we reveal a bit more about a theme of our narrative--as we'll continue to do over the coming months--but in the mean time, we're asking for your help...

During our research we came upon a particular passage from John De La Mothe's 'C.P. Snow and the Struggle of Modernity,' describing the coat of arms Snow personally designed and we've spent the past weeks unsuccessfully searching for a copy of that image:

Snow's concern with the mediation between the spheres, and with the potential of the individual, is symbolically reflected in his heraldic device. Designed by himself and his wife on the occasion of being made Lord Snow of Leicester in 1964, it depicts a crossed pen and telescope, which was deliberately chosen by Snow to suggest the relationship between science and literature. It also depicts a motto that Snow held as being deeply meaningful at a personal level and key to anyone's view of the struggle of modernity. That motto reads: Aut Invenian Viam aut Faciam (I will either find a way or make one).

We traced the correspondence regarding the image to Snow's archives at
the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin.  However,
with the help of some excellent librarians, have only been able to come up with
more references. No copy of the actual coat of arms has been located among
the collection.

But surely C.P. Snow's armorial bearings are out there... somewhere.  We need your help.  If you, or someone you know, may have information that will lead us to it, please contact Chris or Sheril by email or reply in comments.

More like this

Do you mean like
this one?

Which is the 5th hit upon googling "Aut Inveniam Viam aut Faciam coat of arms".


One very interesting book which features Snow is a "scientific fiction" by John Casti, a fictional account of real people featuring a fictional meeting. The participants are Schrodinger, Wittgenstein, Turing, Haldane and Snow. The topic for the dinner's discussion is artificial intelligence. The name of the book is "The Cambridge Quintet". Highly readable.