Where Do Physics and Philosophy Intersect?

Where Do Physics and Philosophy Intersect?

Monday, April 25, 2016

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

The New York Academy of Sciences

 

An archived recording of this event is available via Livestream under "Archived Events" at:

https://livestream.com/newyorkacademyofsciences

A podcast of this event is available for download here.

For centuries, physics and philosophy walked side by side in pursuit of their shared goal—understanding the nature of reality. The progress of science has pushed the frontier of physics into the realm of advanced mathematics, which requires technical skill and levels of abstraction attainable only after years of dedicated training. At the same time, most physicists today do not receive training in philosophy and epistemology, few have the time to ponder philosophical implications of their work, and some even doubt the possibility of a meaningful dialog between physicists and philosophers. However, at its core, physics addresses the fundamental problems that shape our philosophical outlook. Join our distinguished panel including writer Jim Holt, philosopher David Z. Albert, and science writer Kate Becker in a dialogue that explores the philosophical meaning of the theories of modern physics—including quantum field theory, cosmology, and quantum gravity—and considers the ability of physics as a scientific discipline to answer the question: how can it be like that?

* Reception to follow.

Featuring

David Z. Albert, PhD

Director of the MA Program in The Philosophical Foundations of Physics at Columbia University; author of Time and Chance and Quantum Mechanics and Experience

Jim Holt

Writer and Essayist; author of Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story

Hans Halvorson, PhD

Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University

Moderator

Kate Becker, MS

Science Writer and Editor

Registration — Individual Lecture Prices

Member$5
Member (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow)$5
Nonmember$15
Nonmember (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow)$7



The event is part of the Physics of Everything series.

This six-part series will unite some of the most vibrant public intellectuals and communicators of today—from scientists to philosophers, and ethicists to educators—for explorations that reflect on the current state of modern physical sciences.

To learn more about each lecture and to purchase tickets, click on the links below.



Contact Us

Jennifer Costley, PhD

Director, Physical Sciences, Sustainability & Engineering
212.298.8675
jcostley@nyas.org

Featuring

David Z. Albert, PhD

Director of the MA Program in The Philosophical Foundations of Physics at Columbia University; author of Time and Chance and Quantum Mechanics and Experience

David Albert is the Fredrick E. Woodbridge Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University. He received his PhD in theoretical physics from the Rockefeller University in 1981, and has taught since then both in physics and philosophy departments in Tel Aviv University, the University of South Carolina, Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia. Most of his work has been focused on issues at the foundations of quantum mechanics, and on fundamental questions about the direction of time. He is the author of numerous scientific and philosophical articles and three books: Quantum Mechanics and Experience, Time and Chance, and After Physics (all of which are published by Harvard University Press).

Hans Halvorson, PhD

Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University

Hans Halvorson is professor of philosophy at Princeton University. He works at the intersection of mathematics, physics, and philosophy, with notable research achievements in quantum field theory, quantum information theory, category theory, and philosophy of science. Together with Rob Clifton and Jeffrey Bub, he demonstrated that quantum mechanics can be derived from information theory. He is a recipient of The Mellon New Directions Fellowship, and The Cushing Memorial Prize in the History and Philosophy of Physics.

Jim Holt

Writer and Essayist; author of Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story

Jim Holt is a longtime contributor to the New Yorker, where he has written on string theory, time, infinity, numbers, jokes, logic, and truth. He also writes regularly for the New York Times, the New York Review of Books, and the London Review of Books. His 2012 book Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for general nonfiction and was named one of the ten best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review. An international bestseller, Why Does the World Exist? has been published worldwide in 18 languages. His 2006 book Stop Me If You've Heard This: A History and Philosophy of Jokes was published in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, and in French, Italian, and German translation. Holt has taught mathematics at the University of Virginia, philosophy at Columbia University, and economics at the City University of New York.

Moderator

Kate Becker, MS

Science Writer and Editor

Kate Becker is a science writer and editor specializing in physics and astronomy. As the editor of The Nature of Reality, a blog about fundamental physics, she brought scientists, philosophers, and writers together to take on deep questions in physics. She spent eight years developing stories for the NOVA and NOVA scienceNOW science documentary series, and she has written The Visible Universe, an astronomy column for the Boulder Daily Camera, since 2007. She studied physics at Oberlin College and astronomy at Cornell University, and she's had the good fortune to observe with the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and the Very Large Array in New Mexico.

Sponsors

Presented by

  • The New York Academy of Sciences

Grant Support

  • Templeton Foundation

This project was made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The opinions expressed in this event are those of the speaker(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the John Templeton Foundation.

Travel & Lodging

Our Location

The New York Academy of Sciences

7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street, 40th floor
New York, NY 10007-2157
212.298.8600

Directions to the Academy

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