“Two Years Before the Mast”: free UVic lecture by George Dyson at

Tuesday, December 4, 2012, 7pm, at the University Centre, Farquhar Auditorium.

George Dyson is a highly regarded author and historian of technology whose latest book, Turing’s Cathedral, has been called “a wonderful, even visionary” account of the early years of computers. He attributes his influential ideas on the symbiosis and co-evolution of humans, animals and machines to lessons learned as a youth, exploring BC’s coastal waters.

Dyson arrived in Vancouver from New Jersey in 1970, having just turned seventeen. He served as deckhand aboard the sailing vessel D’Sonoqua for two years, delivering cargo to small communities and spending a memorable winter in Quatsino Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island. In the following years, he played a leading role in the adaptation of traditional kayak designs for contemporary uses.

In this President’s Distinguished Lecture, Dyson traces the genesis of his thinking about intersections of nature, history and technology to his early explorations of our coast and its long and continuing history of providing free range to vessels, wildlife and ideas. He links this experience to perspectives discussed in his wide-ranging and acclaimed works: Baidarka: The Kayak (1986), Darwin Among The Machines: The Evolution Of Global Intelligence (1997), Project Orion: The True Story of the Atomic Spaceship (2002), Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe (2012) and the forthcoming Analogia.

Free admission and everyone welcome.

Tickets must be reserved in advance. Phone 250-721-8480 or go to:

For information: phone 250.721.7445, email , or go online to:

Visit for a calendar of upcoming events throughout the 2012-13 academic year.

As part of its 50th Anniversary celebrations, UVic is conferring Honorary Degrees on three eminent scholars in a series of Special Convocations. In each case, the Honorand will deliver a President’s Distinguished Lecture on a topic related to their influential work. 

(Picture: George Dyson, 1973, off Cape Caution, Queen Charlotte Sound)

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