With his lecture on “Aristotle’s Physics: A Physicist’s Look” Professor Carlo Rovelli – Theoretical Physicist at the Aix-Marseille Université, founder and director of “The Quantum Gravity Group” at the Centre de Physique Théorique, Luminy, France – is the keynote speaker of the opening event of the Max Planck Lecture Series “Scientific Questions Then and Now” on November 3, 2021.
Together with with the historians of premodern philosophy, professors Gottfried Heinemann (Universität Kassel, Germany), Riccardo Chiaradonna (Università Roma Tre, Italy), and Peter Adamson (Ludwig-Maximilian-Universität München, Germany), he discusses the relevance, continuities, and discontinuities of Aristotelian Physics.
How are scientific questions posed and answered by scientists, from premodern times until today? Despite radical changes in world views, the apparent persistence of certain recurrent questions in the history of science is striking: examples of such questions include “Where does the world come from?”, “What is it made of?”, “What is life?”, “What is consciousness?”, or “Is the world knowable?”
Our speakers’ series “Scientific Questions Then and Now” seeks to understand the extent to which such recurrent questions have in fact remained “the same”. One key goal of this series will therefore be to determine whether there is, or is not, any core notion of science that remains constant from premodern times to the present, a core notion that would allow for meaningful discussion and communication among representatives of different historic traditions of science.
We will bring together contemporary scientists with historians of premodern philosophy, to ask whether some of these recurrent questions may still be relevant to contemporary scientific research and practice.