COSMOLOGIES AND WORLD VIEWS

PROGRAM OF THE SYMPOSIUM


Symposium Introduction || Participant Biographies

All events listed below will be held in the SEQ Teaching Center in the new Science and Engineering Quad. If you are facing the Oval from the Main Quad, the SEQ Teaching Center is to the West (left)--approximately two blocks from the front of the Main Quad, facing Serra Mall (next to the Sequoia building).


Panel I: The Beginning of the Universe
Friday, February 19th, 7:30-10:00 p.m.

MODERATOR:
Steve Chu

SPEAKERS:
Joel Primack

"Humanity's First Verifiable Creation Story:
What Difference Does It Make?"
Thomas Sheehan
"A Response on Behalf of Philosophy and Religion"
Andrei Linde
"Self-producing Inflationary Universe"

Humanists, e.g. philosophers and theologians, have a different approach than scientists in trying to answer cosmological questions such as the nature of the universe, how it started and how it may end. Scientists feel that they are now lifting these questions out of the realm of faith and into quantitative predictions that are falsifiable. Has this area of human concern been abdicated to scientists, or are scientists deluding themselves in to thinking that they can eventually answer these questions with certainty?

The final judge of any model of natural phenomena has been experiment. However, some of the most exciting theoretical work in physics is having difficulty making clear predictions that can be tested by observation or experiment, but it is a faith in the mathematical beauty of the universe that continues to drive these efforts. It is conceivable that quantitative predictions can never be made or that the predictions will be at such high energies that they will not be accessible to present and future instruments. Will the theorists be doing science, philosophy or theology if this happens?

Presentations by invited speakers will be followed by a moderated debate, after which the discussion will be opened to audience participation.

Panel II: Distances in the Universe
Saturday, February 20th, Morning Session, 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

MODERATOR:
Patrick Suppes

SPEAKERS:
Alain Aspect

"Experimental Tests of the Foundation of Quantum Mechanics:
From Gedanken Experiments to Real Experiments"
Peter Galison
"Einstein's Clocks: High Theory and Lowly Material Culture"
K. Ludwig Pfeiffer
"Science and Literature: Can We Say More about a
Field (too) Well Tilled?"

This session with deal with at least three fundamental issues in our world view of the universe and our place in it: Does quantum mechanics lead to the view that distant objects can interact directly with each other (the problem of nonlocality); in what ways were Einstein's fundamental ideas stimulated by the problem of the measurement of time; are literature and science in harmony or in conflict in their world view?

Presentations by invited speakers will be followed by a moderated debate, after which the discussion will be opened to audience participation.


Panel III: Temporalities of the Universe
Saturday, February 20th, Afternoon Session, 2:00-6:00 p.m.

MODERATOR:
Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht

SPEAKERS:
Dudley Herschbach

"Sacred and Profane Love"
Andreas Kablitz
"The Relationship between Physics and Ethics in Dante's
Divina Commedia: An Archaeology of Cosmological Imagination"
Noel Swerdlow
"The Requirements for Scientific Cosmology Illustrated by the
First Scientific Cosmology, Ptolemy's"
Miguel Tamen
"Big Pictures"

Has science replaced theology and religion (or has religion secretly undermined and assimilated science)? How fast do (how fast should) our visions of the universe change? Do we know that throughout these changes, we are approaching "truth"? Are theories observation based or are observations theory-guided?

Presentations by invited speakers will be followed by a moderated debate, after which the discussion will be opened to audience participation.




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