Histories of vaccination often begin in the late 18th century, with Dr. Edward Jenner and a milkmaid.  But there was an earlier practice (variolation) in which samples of smallpox from (what were believed to be) less deadly outbreaks were used to protect patients against more severe versions of the disease.  It involved either scratching material from smallpox ‘pustules’ onto the skin or inhaling it.  The speaker will talk about the history of vaccination, the history of resistance to vaccination and the emergence of biological/ biochemical knowledge that has built powerful new tools for building vaccines. 

Dr. Brown is particularly interested in the ebb and flow of vaccine mandates and quarantine laws often strengthened during outbreaks only to be overturned when the danger of the disease seems to have passed—and argues this history reveals a lot about human psychology, and especially the power of fear and the limits of rationality and trust.

Speaker: Bryson Brown

(Martin) Bryson Brown began life as a rolling stone: born in Niagara Falls, his family soon moved to Montreal, then New Jersey, Louisiana, Halifax, New Jersey again, and then Mississauga Ontario. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Trent University before entering a PhD program in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. He taught as a visiting professor at Rice in 1983-4, followed by two years as a research associate (and part-time teacher) at Dalhousie, completing his PhD in 1985. He joined the philosophy department at the University of Lethbridge in 1986. Brown’s research work includes work on a formal theory of social rules, inconsistency-tolerant logics and applying them to model cases of inconsistency in science. Other interests (and concerns) include work on science denial, including evolution and climate change.

Date/time: Thursday May 18, 2023. Presentation begins at 12 & concludes at 1 p.m.

Cost: Free, but donations are gratefully accepted

Location**:** Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization (LSCO) Dining Room, 500-11 Street S, Lethbridge, AB

Lunch & Refreshments: The Atrium Dining Room will be available by 11:15 am. Please arrive early before the start of the Presentation to patronize the LSCO cafeteria and enjoy their excellent variety of good value food options._

Session Video

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