Matter and Meaning: Why we know what we know in Physics

Tanja Traxler
Arts and Society, Cross-Disciplinary Strategies
2019W, Proseminar (PS), 2.0 semester hours, course number S03204

Description

How have natural scientists and especially physicists gathered knowledge throughout the centuries? Why is reality in quantum physics not the way it seems in everyday life? And what role do the arts and a sense for the beauty play in discovering laws of nature? In this course we will discuss past and present methods of gaining knowledge in the natural sciences. The historical analysis of epistemology in science will be accompanied by philosophical and sociological considerations as well as gender reflections.

Evidently, quantity and quality of scientific knowledge has changed dramatically e. g. between Newton’s classical mechanics in the 17th century and the development of quantum mechanics or Einstein’s theory of general relativity in the 20th century. What was once established as a scientific fact has been revealed as a limited perspective. In this course, we will investigate the methods scientists use to gain knowledge that is as solid as possible. To accompany the theoretical analysis, an excursion into a quantum physics lab is projected.

Despite the emphasis on physics, everyone is welcome in this class, particularly those who have not felt a strong attraction to mathematics and physics – yet.

Examination Modalities

Each participant is asked to give a presentation on one of texts discussed in the class and provide a written summary about 5 pages. (60 %)

Regular attendance and active participation in the group discussions (40 %)

Comments

Students from other faculties or universities will be given a place on the course subject to room capacities.

Key Words

epistemology, scientific method, history of science, quantum physics, beauty in science

Dates

02 October 2019, 13:45–17:00 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room
22 November 2019, 13:45–17:00 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room
29 November 2019, 13:45–17:00 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room
17 December 2019, 12:00–13:30 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room
13 January 2020, 09:15–12:45 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room
20 January 2020, 09:15–12:45 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room
21 January 2020, 09:15–12:45 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room
23 January 2020, 13:45–17:00 Cross-Disciplinary Strategies - Lecture Room

Course Enrolment

From 25 September 2019, 18:57 to 31 October 2019, 23:55
Via online registration

co-registration: possible (2.0 ECTS)

Cross-Disciplinary Strategies (Bachelor): Foundation (2.0 ECTS)

Cross-Disciplinary Strategies (Bachelor): Deepening / Application (2.0 ECTS)

Individual courses: possible (2.0 ECTS)