Do we need a right for randomness?

The next meeting of NWC will take place on Tuesday, Oct 23rd at 20:00 at the café Tunnel.
Mark will introduce the topic “Do we need a right for randomness?”. Please find below the material for the discussion.
The Question for my NWC presentation will be: “Do we need a right for randomness?”. What do mean by that: With the ever increasing computational power more and more data about our every day life is collected and used to optimize services for us. Google uses our search history to optimize its search results, Amazon does the same for shopping or Netflix for creating and showing films etc. This is also a general trend in society to measure evermore things and use these measurements to determine what can and will happen. But what happens if my recorded past starts to determine what I will get in the future? Do we need a new human right that prevents that? Or maybe might this be good thing?
Please note that the question is not 100% clearly defined and I don’t know the answer to these questions either, so I would be interested in hearing your opinions about it. I compiled a small list of examples and texts to help you with that. Unfortunately I found it difficult to find (good) good research papers that address these topic.

The Bayesian Brain

Our next, and last meeting this semester will be on the 20th of June at 19:00, this time we will meet at Tunnel Vienna. Moritz will present us “The Bayesian Brain”, a hypotheses of the field of cognitive science.

The Bayesian Brain Hypotheses: Is knowledge stored probabilistically in our brain?


Level 0:
A superficial but broad account of where Bayesian statistics can be used and a fun read.

Level 1:
A nice introductory text on how Bayes theorem is used to update knowledge and how it could be used to explain decision-making in our brain and basic psychological experiments.

Level CogSci debate:
A good account of the debate in cognitive science about the advantages/disadvantages of the Bayesian brain hypotheses, which was started by an article from Clark and supplemented by comments of researchers in the whole field from different perspectives.

Workshop Relation Physics with Carlo Rovelli

On June 8th, 2018, Naturwissenschaftscafé, together with the association BRCP (, organized a one-day workshop on Carlo Rovelli’s relational quantum mechanics. The event consisted of a full day of structured discussion on foundation of physics between about 25 young researchers and Carlo Rovelli, as a follow-up of the series of lecture on scientific realism organized by NWC.

Scientonomy: The Theory of Scientific Change

The semester soon is coming to it’s end, which means that there would only be one session left. But, since there are so many people interested in giving a talk, there will be an extra session.
Therefore we will meet again next week on the 13th of June at 20:00 at WUK to listen to Patrick’s talk about “Scientonomy: The Theory of Scientific Change”, a construction of a historically motivated attempt to understand how and why scientific theories and methods change in time.

For additional material see:

As a starting point the following lecture on “The laws of scientific change”

The Encyclopedia of Scientonomy

The first book chapter of Hakob Barseghyan’s Book “The Laws of scientific change”,  provides a good overview. In order to obtain the book chapter, contact e.schwarzhans(at)

Could the physical world be emergent instead of fundamental, and why should we ask?

The next Naturwissenschaftscafé will take place on Wednesday the 6th of June at 20:00 in Wuk. This time Marius will give us an introduction into the paper “Could the physical world be emergent instead of fundamental, and why should we ask?”, which was published by his supervisor Markus Müller.

There are two versions of this paper, a long one and a short one. Both are on the arxiv under the following links:  (short version)  (Full version)

And additionally you can find a presentation Markus Müller gave about this topic under:


The fundamental energy cost of time measurement

The next Naturwissenschaftscafé will take place on Wednesday the 23rd at 20:00 in Wuk. This time Manu will talk about his master thesis on “The fundamental energy cost of time measurement” . Since he is not finished yet he will give you an introduction into Autonomous quantum clocks and show you what he did so far. For the non-physicist of you: He will try to keep it very basic so you can join the discussion as well.

  • If you are interested in the clock model and the figures of merit  he uses, it is quite instructive to read:
    Autonomous quantum clocks: does thermodynamics limit our ability to measure time?
  • For those of you interested in quantum thermodynamics in general he recommends:
    The role of quantum information in thermodynamics — a topical review


The physical interpretation of probability and the quantum theory

The next Naturwissenschaftscafé will take place on the 9th of May at 20:00 in Wuk. This time Flavio will talk about The physical interpretation of probability and the quantum theory. You may find following suggested literature helpful:

  • Book:
    “Philosophy and Probability” by Timothy Childers (pp. 33-36)
  • Extended conference paper:
    “The physical motivations for a propensity interpretation of probability, and the reactions of the community of quantum physicists” by Flavio

In order to get one of the above texts please contact e.schwarzhans(at) .