Texas Tech University

China and Rome: Do their "cultural genes" affect us today?

Dr. Sunny Auyang

Independent Scholar.

The world situation two millennia ago was uncannily similar to that of today, when the United States as a “New Rome” faces the rise of New China. From conditions as far apart as that between the West and the East in the nineteenth century, the ancient western and eastern realms converged in four centuries to two superpowers: the Roman Empire and the Han Dynasty of China. Their disparate early experiences left indelible marks on the two ancient empires, otherwise strikingly similar in scale, sophistication, staying power, and other aspects.

Dr. Auyang was born in China and came to the United States to attend college. She received her Ph.D. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she worked for twenty years. After retirement, she turned to research in the history and philosophy of science, from economics to cognitive science, on which she has published four books. A profuse reader, she works alone to maintain her independence of mind and pursue cross-disciplinary topics. For the past ten years, she has devoted her energy to studying world history.

Her publications include How Is Quantum Field Theory Possible? (Oxford University Press: 1995); Foundations of Complex-System Theories: Economics, Evolutionary Biology, and Statistical Physics (Cambridge University Press, 1998); Mind in Everyday Life and Cognitive Science (MIT Press, 2000); Engineering: An Endless Frontier (Harvard University Press, 2004); and The Dragon and the Eagle: The rise and fall of the Chinese and Roman Empires (M. E. Sharpe, 2014).

Dr. Auyang's lecture was held in the Escondido Theater at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX, November 19, 2014.

The Institute for the Study of Western Civilization