« 2011 »

Wed Jan 19, 2011

Science for Aliens


Location: Notre Dame Room, 202 Lafortune Student Center

Kate Marshall, Department of English, University of Notre Dame

In this brown-bag session, I will discuss how science studies has informed my trajectory as a literary scholar, and describe the continence I see between directions in the study of literature and science and what is loosely grouped under the rubric of media studies in the language disciplines. Drawing on examples from my current projects on media and architecture in American fiction and narrators imagined after genomic and technological shifts, I’ll outline some key questions I see emerging from the specifically literary forms of thinking about science. I will also include a view of the “two cultures” cliché as seen through the lens of C. P. Snow’s Corridors of Power

Mon Jan 24, 2011

Morality Before Religion: Empathy, Reciprocity, and Fairness in Our Fellow Primates


Location: McKenna Hall Auditorium

Frans de Waal C.H. Candler Professor of Psychology, Emory University

Homo homini lupus – “man is wolf to man” - is an old Roman proverb popularized by Thomas Hobbes. Even though it permeates large parts of law, economics, and political science, the proverb fails to do justice to our species’ thoroughly social nature as well as to canids, which are among the most gregarious and cooperative animals. For the past quarter century, this cynical view has also been promoted by an influential school of biology, followers of Thomas Henry Huxley, which holds that we are born nasty as a result of “selfish” genes. Accordingly, it is only with the greatest possible effort that we can hope to become moral beings. Charles Darwin, however, saw things differently: he believed in continuity between animal social instincts and human morality. He wrote an entire book about The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals. Modern psychology and neuroscience support Darwin’s view about the moral emotions. Human moral decisions often stem from “gut” reactions, some of which we share with other animals. I will elaborate on the connection between morality and primate behavior. Other primates show signs of empathy, prosocial tendencies, reciprocity, and a sense of fairness that promote a mutually satisfactory modus vivendi. I will review evidence for continuity to support the view that the building blocks of morality are older than humanity.…

Thu Jan 27, 2011

Women and War


Location: Oak Room, South Dining Hall

Mike Desch Emerging Technologies of National Security and Intelligence

ROTC Women has teamed up with The Gender Relations Center, Women in International Security, Feminist Voice and Women in Politics, for a panel discussion, “Women and War: In and Out of Uniform,” on at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27 in the Oak Room of South Dining Hall. Our purpose is to explore “how the unique characteristics of women, both civilian and military, are impacting war zones and, in turn, how war affects women, emotionally, physically and mentally” and foster some dialogue of the subject on campus.…

Fri Jan 28, 2011

Three Kinds of Pluralism about Scientific Ontology


Location: 220 Malloy

Anjan Chakravartty, Institute for History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto

What ontology of the world is revealed by our best science? On even the most optimistic view of the epistemic credentials of the sciences ­- scientific realism ­- the answer is yet unclear. This paper investigates one aspect of the question of how realists should conceive of scientific ontology. I argue that between the implausible extremes of naïve realism and full-blown constructivism, the realist must come to grips with three forms of pluralism: one concerning the ways in which scientists "package" properties into entities; another concerning the precise metaphysical natures of these entities; and another concerning the context relativity of their behaviour.…

Tue Feb 1, 2011

Wed Mar 2, 2011

Medicine in the Ancient World


Location: Andrews Auditorium, Geddes Hall

Heinrich von Staden, School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

Co-sponsored by the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study, the Department of History, the Department of Philosophy, and the History and Philosophy of Science Graduate Program.…

Thu Mar 3, 2011

Fri Mar 4, 2011

Neurodegenerative mouse models and development of therapeutic strategies for genetic disorders of the endosomal-lysosomal system (Tay-Sachs, Hurler, Sanfilippo, Niemann-Pick, Batten)


Location: 123 Nieuwland Hall of Science

Steven U. Walkely, D.V.M., Ph.D.   Professor - Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience, Professor - Department of Pathology, Professor - The Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.  Director of the Sidney Weisner Laboratory of Genetic Neurological Disease at the Rose F. Kennedy Center for Research in Mental Retardation and Human Development.

Tue Mar 8, 2011

Peter Singer - Live Webcast


Location: Online

Today at 2pm eastern, Dr. Peter Warren Singer, author, senior fellow and director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution, will speak on the science fiction and science reality of war in the 21st century. The event kicks off the Office of Naval Research’s Directorate of Innovation Winter 2010-2011 Distinguished Lecture Series.

Tue Mar 22, 2011

Fri Mar 25, 2011

Blood Based Biomarkers for Niemann Pick C


Location: 123 Nieuwland Hall of Science

Forbes Dennison Porter, M.D. Ph. D. Senior Investigator, Chief: Section on Molecular Dysmorphology Program in Developmental Endocrinology and Genetics, National Institute of Child Health Development (NIHCD), National Institutes of Health.


Thu Mar 31, 2011

Fri Apr 1, 2011

Thu Apr 7, 2011

"Physical and Metaphysical Symmetry"


Location: 209 DeBartolo

David Baker, Department of Philosophy, University of Michigan

Cushing Memorial Prize Lecture

 Symmetry principles have provided a revolutionary means of simplifying physical theories at no explanatory cost. Can similar methods be extended to the domain of pure metaphysics? As a cautionary tale, I consider the "comparativist" interpretation of physical quantities as relations rather than intrinsic properties, a case where a seeming metaphysical symmetry fails even in simple examples.…

Fri Apr 15, 2011

Screening-off and Causal Completeness


Location: 220 Malloy

Elliott Sober, Department of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin-Madison

More information

Here are two principles about causation that involve the ideas of screening-off and causal completeness:

(IL)  In a causal chain from C to I to E, the intermediate
 link I will screen-off C from E if I is causally complete.

Tue Apr 19, 2011

Let Newton Be!


Location: Washington Hall

The Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values and the History of Science Society’s Executive Office are pleased to announce a performance of Let Newton Be!, by the Menagerie Theatre Company of Cambridge, England. The play, which features 3 actors portraying Isaac Newton during three stages of his life (each on the stage at the same time) will take place on Tuesday, April 19th, 7:00 pm in historic Washington Hall on the campus of the University of Notre Dame.

Thu May 5, 2011

How Can Cellular Networks Handle 1000x the Data?


Location: 258 Fitzpatrick Hall

Jeffrey Andrews Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Texas

Cellular telecommunication networks and innovative mobile devices have transformed society by allowing global communication anytime and anywhere. But these networks and devices have become victims of their own success, with demand for data traffic that is soaring more than 100 percent per year, or over 1000x in the next decade.

Wed May 18, 2011

Women and Work in Genetics


Location: B034 (Thomas Merton Room) Geddes Hall

Marsha Richmond
Associate Professor of History at Wayne State University and Secretary of the History of Science Society

A reception with the Executive Committee of the History of Science Society will follow at the Coffee House on the 1st floor of Geddes Hall.

Please RSVP for the reception to Greg Macklem ( gmacklem@nd.edu ) by Monday May 16th.…

Fri May 20, 2011

Does Basic Research Have Meaning? A Few Remarks by a Catholic Mathematician


Location: Jordan Hall of Science, Room 101

Laurent Lafforgue
Professeur permanent at the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques, in Bures-sur-Yvette, France

Sponsored by the University of Notre Dame Center for Mathematics and the John A. Lynch Lecture Series.

Professor Lafforgue will receive an honorary degree from Notre Dame at the university commencement ceremonies on May 22.…

Fri Jun 17, 2011

Tue Jul 5, 2011

Reilly Center Assistant Director of Research

Location: Reilly Center

Melinda Gormley

Notre Dame’s Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values is pleased to announce that, in August, Dr. Melinda Gormley will join the Center as our new Assistant Director for Research. With a 2007 history of science Ph.D. from Oregon State, Dr. Gormley was most recently a Visiting Assistant Professor in James Madison College at Michigan State University. At Notre Dame, Dr. Gormley will provide overall direction for the Reilly Center’s diverse and expanding research portfolio and will serve as the primary liaison to the Center’s on- and off-campus research partners. She joins a leadership team in the Reilly Center that includes Director Don Howard, Assistant Director for Education, Edward Jurkowitz, and Katherine Brading, who directs Notre Dame’s History and Philosophy of Science Graduate Program.…

Wed Jul 6, 2011

Tenth Biennial History of Astronomy Workshop

Location: McKenna Hall, Center for Continuing Education

July 6th-July 10th, 2011Generous support for the conference is provided by the Graduate Program in the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Notre Dame, the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts (ISLA) in the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Notre Dame, and the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum.…

Tue Aug 30, 2011

HPS Reading Group meetings


Location: 119 O'Shag

Background reading:

D. Lindberg, The Beginnings of Western Science, Ch. 8-9

J. Ragep, The Beginnings of Western Science (Book review)

Week 1:

J. Ragep, Tradition, Transmission and Transformation (Preface + Introduction)

A. I. Sabra, The Appropriation and Subsequent Naturalization of Greek Science in Medieval Islam: A Preliminary Statement…

Tue Sep 6, 2011

Sat Sep 24, 2011

Kant and the Exact Sciences


Location: McKenna Hall

Morning Session

9:00-9:15  Welcome and Introductions

9:15-10:00  Peter Yong (University of California,San Diego)

"God, Totality, and Possibility: A New Interpretation of Kant's Only Possible Argument"

10:00-10:45  Huaping Lu-Adler (University of California,Davis)

"A Mathematical Element in Kant's Logic"

10:45-11:30  Joel Brown (Syracuse University)…

Wed Sep 28, 2011

Lab Coats in Hollywood: Scientists' Impact on Cinema, Cinema's Influence on Science


Location: Grace Hall, Lower Level Training Room (take the stairway or elevator to the basement)

David Kirby
University of Manchester

Most people are unaware of scientists’ significant influence on the content of popular films. Yet, films ranging from A Beautiful Mind and Contact to Finding Nemo and Hulk have achieved some degree of scientific credibility because of science consultants. In this talk I elaborate on the backstage role scientific experts play in negotiating information transfer between the scientific community and the entertainment community in the production of popular films. Drawing on interviews and archival material, I will examine such science consulting tasks as fact checking, shaping visual iconography, advising actors, enhancing plausibility, creating dramatic situations, and placing science in its cultural contexts. I will also show how cinema can influence science as well by promoting research agendas, stimulating technological development, contributing to scientific controversies, and stirring citizens into political action.…

Sat Oct 22, 2011

Tue Oct 25, 2011

Ethical Dimensions of a World without Nuclear Weapons


Location: Hesburgh Center Auditorium

William Perry
Former Secretary of Defense

The dangers of global nuclear holocaust have diminished since the end of the Cold War, as nuclear weapons arsenals have declined nearly 80 percent and East-West political relations have improved. Despite this, the threat of nuclear proliferation has worsened and the risks of a nuclear weapon exploding somewhere in the world have increased, according to some experts.…

Fri Oct 28, 2011

Aristotle: A Discourse on Methods


Location: 220 Malloy

James Lennox
Why do we Breathe? Aristotle on the Hunt for Final Causes History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh

As Aristotle details in the first seven chapters of On Respiration, a number of his predecessors had presented theories about breathing—and all of them, in Aristotle’s view, had gone seriously astray.  In this talk I will not, except incidentally, focus on what he thinks they got wrong.  Rather, I will focus on what Aristotle has to say about why they went wrong, and what they ought to have done to keep their inquiries on track.  We will use this topic as a vehicle for exploring the norms Aristotle defends for inquiry into organic processes, and more generally his views about norms of scientific inquiry.  In the process I challenge a number of misconceptions about Aristotle’s philosophy of science and his scientific practice.…