On the Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in Science: Steven French, Eleanor Knox and Mairi Sakellariadou

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Date(s) - 01/05/2014
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Clement House (CLM) Hong Kong Theatre


On the Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in Science

Thursday 1 May, 6.30 – 8pm
Hong Kong Theatre, Clement House, LSE

Steven French, Professor of Philosophy of Science, University of Leeds

Eleanor Knox, Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow, Department of Philosophy, King’s College London

Mairi Sakellariadou, Professor of Theoretical Physics, King’s College London

Chair: Bryan Roberts, Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method, LSE and Forum for European Philosophy Fellow

Galileo famously wrote that natural philosophy is ‘written in the language of mathematics’. Four hundred years later, the great physicist Eugene Wigner puzzled over why. Why is it that abstract pieces of mathematics, like an imaginary number, often later turn out to be surprisingly effective in describing concrete aspects of the natural world? In this event, philosopher of science Steven French and theoretical physicist Mairi Sakellariadou will comment on Wigner’s question, and then join a discussion on the issue with philosopher of physics Eleanor Knox.

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