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Alien Encounters - Outline of the Play

Gavin Hitchcock

PROLOGUE TO ACT 1: The presumption of man

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) in a monastery garden, circa 1658.

ACT 1: Confusion and paradox

John Wallis (1616-1703), Antoine Arnauld (1612-1694), Gottfried Leibniz (1646-1716), in conversation, circa 1690. Leonhard Euler (1707-1783) giving front-stage commentary as a young man, circa 1730.

PROLOGUE TO ACT 2: The courage of the quest

Blaise Pascal, circa 1694, in the after-life.

ACT 2: Introducing the strangers

Scene 1 : Nicholas Saunderson (1682-1739), in a Cambridge lecture room, circa 1730.

Scene 2 : Leonhard Euler, dictating to an untutored and inexperienced scribe in his St. Petersburg house, circa 1770.

Scene 3 : Pierre-Simone Laplace (1749-1827), at the École Normale in post-Revolution Paris, circa 1796.

EPILOGUE: Forward in Faith!

Jean d'Alembert, reading from a volume of the great Encyclopédie, in 1783 - the year of his death.

LAST WORD: The humbling of science

The spirit of Pascal pronounces on the past and prophecies the future.


Gavin Hitchcock , "Alien Encounters - Outline of the Play," Convergence (May 2011)