Institute's Colloquium: The Changing Fate of Eternal Questions
The Institute’s Colloquium occurs once per month during the academic year. The usual format is 45 minutes of presentation by the paper's author, followed by 45 minutes of Q&A discussion.
The talk investigates how scientists' understanding of the question "What is the world made of?" was transformed in the second half of the twentieth century, even in the absence of major conceptual shifts (such as the quantum and relativity revolutions of the early twentieth century had been). The talk draws on numerous examples from the work of the Research Group "Historical Epistemology of the Final Theory Program" (most notably Werner Heisenberg's 1958 Weltformel) to illustrate the complex interaction of "content and context" in scientists' engagement with such "eternal questions." The entire investigation is thus placed in the context of a wider research program of a history of eternal questions.
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG)