Event

Aug 16-17, 2017
Estimated Truths: Water, Science, and the Politics of Approximation

Abstract

The scientific legibility of the world is often produced through approximation in a variety of guises. Planning efforts in particular, which are often subject to pressing time and budget constraints, tend to eschew absolute truths in favor of estimated values that promise a sufficient level of precision. Water flows and levels, for instance, have often been assessed by scientists and engineers through processes of estimation, simulation, and modelling. More often than not, the construction of authoritative knowledge in the field has been based on values that were deemed to be good enough for the task at hand.

The central question this workshop seeks to answer is: How have scientists produced informed judgements about rates of flow, changes in level, processes of condensation and precipitation, thickness and deformation of ice, and other dynamic properties of water in its different states through processes of approximation, simulation, and modelling? In exploring this issue we want to pay particular attention to the relationships between politics and science and the role of power structures in determining choices and decision-making processes. At the same time, we want to remain attentive to the ways in which the material properties of water and the larger biogeophysical systems into which it is embedded shape the kinds of knowledge that are produced. We want thus to address the dynamic, processual nature of planning and research, characterized by constant flows in which both data and judgements are produced, validated, and reassessed through mediation and conflict.

Convenors

Other Participants

  • Azadeh Achbari, University of Amsterdam
  • Samer Alatout, UW-Madison
  • Debjani Bhattacharyya, Drexel University
  • Angelo Matteo Caglioti, UC Berkeley
  • Sarah Dry, Science Museum Group
  • Maurits Ertsen, Delft University of Technology
  • Matthew Evenden, UBC, Vancouver
  • Jessica Lehman, UW-Madison
  • Daniel Macfarlane, Western Michigan University
  • Michael Reidy, Montana State University
  • Christy Spackman, Harvey Mudd College
Related Project(s)
Address

Boltzmannstraße 22, Berlin 14195, Germany

2017-08-16T00:00:00SAVE IN I-CAL 2017-08-16 00:00:00 2017-08-17 00:00:00 Estimated Truths: Water, Science, and the Politics of Approximation Abstract The scientific legibility of the world is often produced through approximation in a variety of guises. Planning efforts in particular, which are often subject to pressing time and budget constraints, tend to eschew absolute truths in favor of estimated values that promise a sufficient level of precision. Water flows and levels, for instance, have often been assessed by scientists and engineers through processes of estimation, simulation, and modelling. More often than not, the construction of authoritative knowledge in the field has been based on values that were deemed to be good enough for the task at hand. The central question this workshop seeks to answer is: How have scientists produced informed judgements about rates of flow, changes in level, processes of condensation and precipitation, thickness and deformation of ice, and other dynamic properties of water in its different states through processes of approximation, simulation, and modelling? In exploring this issue we want to pay particular attention to the relationships between politics and science and the role of power structures in determining choices and decision-making processes. At the same time, we want to remain attentive to the ways in which the material properties of water and the larger biogeophysical systems into which it is embedded shape the kinds of knowledge that are produced. We want thus to address the dynamic, processual nature of planning and research, characterized by constant flows in which both data and judgements are produced, validated, and reassessed through mediation and conflict. Convenors Wilko Hardenberg, MPIWG Etienne Benson, University of Pennsylvania Giacomo Parrinello, Sciences Po, Paris Other Participants Azadeh Achbari, University of Amsterdam Samer Alatout, UW-Madison Debjani Bhattacharyya, Drexel University Angelo Matteo Caglioti, UC Berkeley Sarah Dry, Science Museum Group Maurits Ertsen, Delft University of Technology Matthew Evenden, UBC, Vancouver Jessica Lehman, UW-Madison Daniel Macfarlane, Western Michigan University Michael Reidy, Montana State University Christy Spackman, Harvey Mudd College MPIWG Wilko Graf von Hardenberg admin@example.com Europe/Berlin public