Doctor of Humane Letters

Charles C. Mann, 1976, P 1998

Science journalist Charles C. Mann is a correspondent for The Atlantic, Science and Wired, and the author of 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created and, most recently, The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World. Inveterately curious, Mann writes books and articles that reframe our understanding of fundamental aspects of our history and our world, challenging us to a deeper awareness of the motivations behind how history is told and scientific research pursued.

Mann has co-authored four other nonfiction books and written scripts for HBO series and Law & Order; texts for museum exhibits and Native American cultural centers; and articles for Fortune, The New York Times, Smithsonian, MIT Technology Review, Vanity Fair and The Washington Post. Amherst College is particularly pleased to honor his work during the inaugural year of our state- of-the-art Science Center.

A three-time National Magazine Award finalist, Mann has received writing awards from the American Bar Association, the American Institute of Physics, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the Lannan Foundation, among others. His writing appears in The Best American Science Writing 2003 and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2003. 1491 won the National Academy of Science’s Keck award for best book of the year. 1493 was a TIME magazine Best Book of the Year.

Mann graduated from Amherst magna cum laude in 1976 with a major in interdisciplinary studies. As an alumnus, he has maintained strong ties with the College, returning to campus to speak on many occasions, including delivering the Hugh Hawkins Lecture in 2013. Mann was a featured author this year at LitFest, the College’s annual literary festival.

Audio and transcript of Charles Mann’s talk, “300,000 Dead Refrigerators: Peril and Promise in the World of 2050.”