Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Event: "Something from Nothing" in science

I like to think of this as a "Third Culture" 'blog. It isn't about science per se, but at least one of the authors is a scientist, and it brings an analytic, empirical sensibility to current affairs and questions of public policy. Instead of ab initio ideology or "principles", insights from modern economics, environmental science, and other disciplines are brought to bear.

Thus I'm comfortable posting an announcement here for Tucson's premier "Third Culture" event, the fortnightly Science Salon. There an early-career scientist leads a discussion of a major idea in modern science, or of science policy, researchers' ethics, or the culture of professional science.

Thursday (tomorrow!), 1 Oct 2009, physicist Alan Cooney will lead a discussion on emergence:

Title: Something from Nothing

Abstract: Something cannot arise from nothing, so goes the adage, and this has long had an impact on the scope of scientific studies. Yet the scientific revolutions of the last 150 years beset us with examples like emergent systems (complexity from simplicity), quantum ones (literally something appearing from the vacuum) and even the Big Bang theory of creation. These revelations offer scientists the opportunity to tackle this philosophical quandary. In this Salon, we will explore more examples and the questions they raise, as well as ask if the persistence of the “something from nothing” myth retards our pursuit of science and the public's understanding of our field.

Time: 5:30 PM-7:30 PM

Location: The Auld Dubliner, intersection of University and Euclid, Tucson.

Fee: Free. Appetizers will be provided. Attendees must purchase their own drinks. The Dubliner features a modest beer selection and a declining but still respectable assortment of Irish and other whiskeys, in addition to the usual soft drinks.

These events are some of the best intellectual stimulation in the area, and a great way to meet interesting people. I'm pushing against a major research deadline, but may be there.

HT: Cory Christenson

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