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Kurt Diemberger + Philip Lieberman

Mind the Altitude

Wednesday, February 29, 2012
7:00 PM–8:30 PM

The accomplished alpinist Kurt Diemberger, born in Austria in 1932, is one of the world’s most influential climbers. He is the only living person to have the distinction of two first ascents on the world’s 8,000-meter peaks, both climbed without supplemental oxygen. He is the author of two fascinating autobiographical works, Summits & Secrets and Spirits of the Air. His portrayal of K2 The Endless Knot is especially powerful given that he was one of only two climbers to have survived the 1986 disaster on the world’s second-highest mountain in 1986.
Philip Lieberman, the George Hazard Crooker University Professor, Emeritus at Brown University, has been studying the evolution of human language and thought for more than forty years. His Mount Everest research project showed that the basal ganglia, structures deep within the brain that date back hundreds of millions of years, are affected by low oxygen levels at extreme altitudes and climbers become unable to adjust to changing conditions. Speech, language and emotional problems also occur. The evolution of modern human beings involved Darwinian Natural Selection enhancing human basal ganglia functions about 260,000 years ago. Lieberman’s other present interests include photographic documentation of Tibetan and Himalayan culture and mountain walking
Presented in association with the American Alpine Club (NY Chapter).